(1915-1985) US author who worked in Detroit for the auto industry as a technical writer. His production of fiction was small, and First Person, Peculiar (coll 1972) contains all the stories for which he is remembered, most significantly "E for Effort" (May 1947 Astounding), his first published story. It describes, semi-humorously but with a fundamental pessimism, the consequences of a Time Viewer device that permits its users to view past and present events. Its inventor and his associate are successful at first, but are soon defeated by government forces; ultimately the existence of the "camera" in the hands of the US military causes a final Future War, as the victim-narrator has predicted. (It is understood that the story was accepted for Astounding in John W Campbell Jr's absence.) The other tales are Cue for Quiet (May-July 1953 Space Science Fiction; 2010 ebook), "Eye for Iniquity" (July 1953 Beyond Fantasy Fiction) and "Cure, Guaranteed" (August 1954 Future); they are clear-cut, forceful and black. The note accompanying "Bounty" in Again, Dangerous Visions (anth 1972) edited by Harlan Ellison revealed that Sherred had suffered a mild stroke before 1971 and was unlikely to write further.
Sherred had, however, already published the first volume of his Alien Island sequence, Alien Island (1970), his only solo novel; its sequel, Alien Main (1985) with Lloyd Biggle Jr, was completed by his collaborator. Alien Island is a sometimes comic but fundamentally melancholy tale about Aliens secretly on Earth and the eventual Disaster that results; the sequel – set two centuries later, with an Earth-descended alien defending the beleaguered planet whose natives live in tribes awaiting the return of their Goddess – broadens and softens the implications of the first book, but returned Sherred, at the close of his life, to the sf main. [JC]
see also: Machines; Money; Time Travel.
Thomas L Sherred
born Grand Rapids, Michigan: 27 August 1915
died Detroit, Michigan: 16 April 1985
- Alien Island (New York: Ballantine Books, 1970) [Alien Island: pb/Carol Inouye]
- Alien Main (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1985) with Lloyd Biggle jr [Alien Island: hb/Michael Pilla]
Previous versions of this entry