(1950- ) US writer and former police officer who began writing sf with the Procurator Alternate-History trilogy – Procurator (1984), New Barbarians (1986) and Cry Republic (1989) – based on the premise that Rome did not fall and that the world of 2000 CE reflects a mixture of Roman modes and richly conceived technologies; A D Anno Domini (1985), which is nonfantastic, is a Tie to a 1985 mini-series. Mitchell's best single novel is probably Never the Twain (1987), a Time-Travel tale in which a descendant of the US writer Bret Harte goes back to Civil War Nevada with a copy of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) and attempts to persuade Harte – who in reality never set a story anywhere near the Mississippi River – to put his name to the tale, and so make his eventual heir rich. The ensuing complications are superficially comic, but an intriguingly human and detailed portrayal of the main characters, and of nineteenth-century Nevada, slowly emerges. Mitchell has also written film novelizations (none sf) as by Joel Norst. [JC]
see also: Time Paradoxes.
Kirk John Mitchell
born Los Angeles, California: 22 March 1950
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