McMahon, Thomas

Tagged: Author

(1943-1999) US scientist specializing in biomechanics, and author, three of whose novels teasingly gain fuel and impetus from the fantastic, broadly conceived. Principles of American Nuclear Chemistry: A Novel (1970), a Young Adult tale set at the time of the Manhattan Project during World War Two, skirts Fantastika through its depiction of the Invention of an "odor amplifier" is not in fact technologically feasible. Set relaxedly in a 1922 America so lubricated with possibilities it almost seems an Alternate History, Loving Little Egypt (1987) follows the hi-jink consequences of its legally-blind protagonist's discovery – based on a potted version of the 1960s Phone Phreaks' spoofish claim to Secret Master control over telephonic Communications across America – of a method secretly to mould his native land (and get free calls). Figures who become involved in the heated proto-Steampunk tale include Thomas Alva Edison and Nicola Tesla. Ira Foxglove (2004), whose protagonist is ill with a broken heart, hopes to perfect a prosthetic organ, in the course of a death-haunted but scatty Fantastic Voyage across America by Balloon. [JC]

Thomas Arthur McMahon

born Dayton, Ohio: 21 April 1943

died Wellesley, Massachusetts: 14 February 1999

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