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Dalmas, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym for all his fiction of US author John Robert Jones (1926-2017), whose first career was as a research ecologist for the US Forest Service, in which connection he published at least 20 pieces on ecology and high elevation forests. He began publishing work of genre interest with The Yngling (October-November 1969 Analog; fixup 1971; rev 1984), which, with its prequel, Homecoming (1984) – both assembled as The Orc Wars (omni 1992) – depicts a barbarian future whose history echoes that of the eponymous Norse kings of legend; eventually the hero of the saga leads his neo-Vikings south from the encroaching ice, though their ideal community is soon under threat; The Yngling and the Circle of Power (1992), a prequel, and The Yngling in Yamato (1994), conclude the project. In the Fanglith series – Fanglith (1985) and Return to Fanglith (1987) – the planet to which criminals are exiled turns out to be Earth; much of Dalmas's work similarly transforms Space-Opera venues into arenas where ironies (or the gods) have free play. In both The Reality Matrix (1986) and, with Rod Martin (1928-    ), The Playmasters (1986) this drift of implication becomes explicit. Touch the Stars: Emergence (1983) with Carl Martin [whom see for details; apparently Rod Martin's son] has a sequel by Martin alone published in 2014.

The Regiment sequence – whose central volumes are The Regiment (1987), The White Regiment (1990) and The Regiment's War (1993), all three being assembled as The Regiment (omni 2004) – focuses on a group of mercenaries from a military planet sent off to fight until they all die: as often in his work, they are players in others' games. The General's President (1988) interestingly assumes that a US civilian puppet-leader might convincingly fox his military backers. Much of Dalmas's later work – such as The Lizard War sequence, comprising The Lizard War (1989) and The Helverti Invasion (2003), about an Alien invasion – could be described as Military SF, featuring protagonists who are more often grunts than unconventional officers. On the other hand, The Second Coming (2004), one of his thematically varied singletons, portrays the Second Coming of God, who is incarnated this time round as a Black Canadian Cybernetics engineer. Though his work tended to veer teasingly close to the routine, Dalmas remained too various and lively to dismiss. [JC]

John Robert Jones

born Chicago, Illinois: 3 December 1926

died Ohio: 15 June 2017



Yngling/Nils Järnhand


The Regiment

The Lizard War

Lion of Farside

individual titles



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