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Edmondson, G C

Entry updated 9 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of Mexican-born US translator and author José Mario Garry Ordoñez Edmondson y Cotton (1922-1995) for all his writing except his Westerns, which are as by Kelly P Gast, J B Masterson and Jake Logan. He published his first sf, "Blessed are the Meek" with Astounding in 1955, and was active in the magazines for the next decade, particularly in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, where his Mad Friend stories appeared. Assembled as Stranger than You Think (coll of linked stories 1965 chap dos), they describe the effects their narrator's mad friend manages to elicit from the world about him, and his explanations thereof. Edmondson's first novel, The Ship that Sailed the Time Stream (1965 dos; rev 1978) and its sequel, To Sail the Century Sea (1981), are amusingly and graphically told Fantastic-Voyage tales involving a US ship and its inadvertent Time Travels. They remain his most successful books.

Chapayeca (1971; vt Blue Face 1972), set in Mexico, and T.H.E.M. (1974) – the acronym refers to Alien invaders known as the Theriomorphic Hellbent Enemy Mission, who subject Earth civilization to tough-love Uplift – are both fluently written but less exhilarating to read. More impressively, The Aluminum Man (1975) confronts some Native Americans – depicted with great sympathy, as always in Edmondson's work – with a crash-landed Alien looking for fuel. The Man Who Corrupted Earth (1980) fails to carry over the complex cynicism of Mark Twain's "The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg" (December 1899 Harper's Monthly) but is in its own right an amusing presentation of the notion that free enterprise can conquer space when governments falter at the task (see Economics; Libertarianism). After a paranoid singleton, The Takeover (1984) with C M Kotlan, in which Russians briefly conquer the USA through nuclear blackmail, Edmondson and Kotlan produced a complex sf sequence – The Cunningham Equations (1986), The Black Magician (1986) and Maximum Effort (1987), all with C M Kotlan. The entangled thriller conventions dominant in this trilogy feverishly pit genetic transformations of the human species against the dubious intercession of AIs in the long process of growth, amid constant references to Yaqui Indian culture. The mix is perhaps too rich for coherence. In the end, it is his constant engagement with the region and the people of his early years that lifts Edmondson's work above routine entertainment. [JC]

see also: Politics; Space Flight.

José Mario Garry Ordoñez Edmondson y Cotton

born Rachauchitian, Mexico: 11 October 1922 [other birth places have been given, including the state of Washington]

died Chula Vista, California: 14 December 1995



Ship That Sailed the Time Stream


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