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Forstchen, William R

Entry updated 30 October 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1950-    ) US history professor author who has generally concentrated on series, beginning with the Ice Prophet sequence – Ice Prophet (1983), The Flame upon the Ice (1984) and A Darkness upon the Ice (1985) – set in a Ruined Earth venue at some point in the future after an ecological Disaster has caused the planet to become icebound. In this world technology has, according to the orthodox sf assumptions, been foolishly banned, and the eponymous prophet heralds a revival of science; but the intricacies of the realpolitik which doom him personally, and the beauties of the ice world itself, go some way to keep the sequence from being unduly familiar. The Gamester War novels – The Alexandrian Ring (1987), The Assassin Gambit (1988) and The Napoleon Wager (1993), all assembled as The Gamester Wars (omni 1995) – show a similar competence and a whole-hearted involvement in the most far-reaching dictates that Space Opera can demand on those who treat its premises seriously, featuring a race of intergalactic overlords who permit the citizens of Earth and many other planets to engage in vast Game-World-like conflicts and to import, through Time Travel, figures like Alexander the Great to fight wagered wars on the enormous ringworld that serves as arena. The Crystal series, written with Greg Morrison – The Crystal Warriors (1988) and The Crystal Sorcerers (1991) – is fantasy. The Lost Regiment sequence – beginning with Rally Cry! (1990), and ending with Down to the Sea: A Novel of the Lost Regiment (2000) – reworks the basic structure of the Gamester War books, this time from the perspective of a Civil War Union troop transported through time to a medieval planet secretly dominated by remote aliens. The Star Voyager Academy sequence, comprising Star Voyager Academy (1994), Article 23 (1998) and Prometheus (1999), Into the Sea of Stars (1986) is a singleton; the Wing Commander titles, beginning with Wing Commander: Heart of the Tiger (1993) with Christopher Stasheff, are tied to the combat-based Videogame (see also Space Sim).

Forstchen's collaborations with the US Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich (whom see) begin with 1945 (1995), a Hitler Wins tale in which Germany confronts America after its 1945 victory in Europe; and continue with the Gettysburg trilogy comprising Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War (2003), Grant Comes East (2004) and Never Call Retreat (2005), presenting an Alternate History of the Civil War extrapolating – as is Ward Moore's seminal Bring the Jubilee (November 1952 F&SF; exp 1953) – from General Robert E Lee's victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. Forstchen alone is a genre writer of shining efficiency, and is technically capable of the most ambitious work. [JC]

see also: Games and Sports.

William R Forstchen

born Millburn, New Jersey: October 1950



Ice Prophet

Gamester Wars

Crystal Warriors

Lost Regiment

Wing Commander

Star Voyager Academy


Pacific War

One Second After

  • One Second After (New York: Tor/Forge, 2009) [One Second After: hb/]
  • One Year After (New York: Tor/Forge, 2015) [One Second After: hb/]
  • The Final Day (New York: Tor/Forge, 2017) [One Second After: hb/Trevillion/Thinkstock]

individual titles


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