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Besher, Alexander

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1951-2020) China-born, Japanese-raised US author, editor and journalist who published a posthumous edition of David Lindsay's tales as The Violet Apple & The Witch (1976) in his Chicago Review Press, and who began to publish sf in English (some stories had appeared in Japanese) with his Rim cycle, comprising Rim: A Novel of Virtual Reality (1994), Mir: A Novel of Virtual Reality (1998) and Chi (1999). The first of these is perhaps the most innovative – Brian Stableford used a term of his own coinage, Orphean Fantasy, to describe the tale's conflation of Virtual Reality (see also Cyberspace) and the classic Underworld, and the immersive descent of its protagonist into a realm where (as in most Posthumous Fantasies [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]) he must not only quest for a loved one but sort out his life. The protagonist, a "consciousness detective" from a Near Future California, discovers that his son is trapped in a vast Virtual Reality world, which has gone down after an enormous earthquake in Tokyo; descending into the "hell" of this disjunctive psycho-space, which Besher based partly on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, he experiences fully the raw the Technology/Biology interfaces that govern the new century. The sequels further though to a limited extent enrich this remarkably sophisticated tale: a sense of Equipoise between technological innovation and supernatural intervention continues engagingly to operate; and the Ape as Human plot of Mir underlines Besher's constant plays on transgressive Sex and other iterations of the stresses involved in being human (or not).

Hanging Butoh (2000), a Near Future thriller set in 2042, introduces the paranormally gifted Japanese-American Butoh detective Johnny Hara and was intended as book one of a projected series, The Hanging Butoh Detective. [JC]

Alexander Besher

born China: 1951

died 8 October 2020

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