(1943-1986) US academic and author who began publishing sf with his first novel, The Makeshift God (November-December 1958 Astounding as "A Bicycle Built for Brew"; 1979), an ambitiously overwritten and overlong but notably intelligent romance of origins, set initially in a drab Arab-dominated marginally pre-Cyberpunk USA, and then on a planet which houses mysteriously significant data about the deep human past. Century's End (1981) takes another blackly satirical look at the Near Future of Earth, and at the Religions which attempt to exploit the millennium, generating comparisons between Griffin and writers like Kurt Vonnegut Jr and – more relevantly – John T Sladek. In The Blind Man and the Elephant (1982) Griffin tackled a theme dear to Sladek: the consequences of thrusting a tabula-rasa personality into a meat-grinder world. In Sladek's case it is usually a young Robot that loses its innocence; in Griffin's it is a fast-maturing and monstrous Clone, experimentally deposited into a deteriorating New England. The novel closes, after some very funny passages, in a state of utter despair. Griffin's final novel, The Timeservers (1985), returns to the relative extroversion of his first in the story of a young soldier's confrontation with Clones, far stars and telepathic Aliens.
Griffin's premature death halted a career which could have soared. [JC]
see also: End of the World; Monsters.
Russell Morgan Griffin
born Stamford, Connecticut: 29 April 1943
died Milford, Connecticut: 27 August 1986
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