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Faulks, Sebastian

Entry updated 4 December 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1953-    ) UK broadcaster, journalist and author, most of whose best-known fiction has been historical novels such as Birdsong (1993) and Charlotte Gray (1999), set respectively in the first and second world wars. He is of initial interest as an author of modestly gonzo Fantastika through the poems and stories assembled as Pistache (coll 2006) and Pistache Returns (coll 2016), each of them being a Parody of a famous author's treatment of a contemporary subject; among the authors included are Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, Lewis Carroll, Franz Kafka, Stephen King, George Orwell, Jonathan Swift and J R R Tolkien. Pistache may of course be pronounced as pisstake.

Faulks's eleventh novel, A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts (2012), which could be understood as a collection of linked stories, joins various characters at various times, including the Near Future, through the tenor and placement of their experiences, often of war, rather than via overt narrative links. He is perhaps of more direct sf interest for his sixteenth novel, The Seventh Son (2023), which carries on some of the speculations about the bicameral mind that shape the nonfantastic Human Traces (2005) through its explicit references to Julian Jaynes, author of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), a central plank of whose argument is that the shape of consciousness of the sort characteristic of Homo sapiens was not inevitable: that our selfhoods are in a sense the rewards of happenstance. The Near Future experiments unpacked in The Seventh Son are undertaken in an attempt to create a conscious mind capable of genuine empathy, and less absorbed in narcissism. The quasi-Neanderthal child that results seems not quite to solve the issue.

Faulks was appointed CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2002. [JC]

Sebastian Charles Faulks

born Donnington, Berkshire: 20 April 1953

works (highly selected)



  • Pistache (London: Hutchinson, 2006) [coll: Pistache: hb/George Papadakis]
  • Pistache Returns (London: Hutchinson, 2016) [coll: Pistache: hb/Giorgios Papadakis]

individual titles


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