(1914-1981) UK-born poet, writer and professor of English, in New Zealand from 1924; his first novels were not sf. The Hole in the Zero (1967) begins as an apparently typical Space-Opera adventure into further dimensions at the edge of the Universe, but quickly reveals itself as a linguistically brilliant, complex exploration of the nature of the four personalities involved as they begin out of their own resources to shape the low-probability regions into which they have tumbled. Ultimately the novel takes on allegorical overtones. As an examination of the metaphorical potentials of sf language and subject matter, it is a significant contribution to the field. In The Time of Achamoth (1977) a team of cash-strapped boffins in New Zealand sends the protagonist – via a technologized form of Timeslip – into the bodies of characters in various periods, including England in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, and a horrific World War One; a complex Godgame is slowly uncovered, its purpose to enable the protagonist to kill the quasi-Immortal Achamoth – a Gnostic figure mercilessly bent on directing human history towards terminal Disaster, so as to release true reality from bondage – whom he discovers beneath Highbury Cemetery in London; the cover image of Karl Marx is a McGuffin. Among the manuscripts left unpublished at his death was a Hitler Wins tale set in an occupied Britain. In 1969 Joseph also produced a scholarly edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818). [JC]
see also: Fantastic Voyages; New Zealand.
Michael Kennedy Joseph
born Chingford, Essex: 9 July 1914
died New Zealand: 4 October 1981
works as editor
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