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Frankowski, Leo A

Entry updated 30 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1943-2008) US author known principally for his Alternate-History series, the Adventures of Conrad Stargard: The Cross-Time Engineer (1986), The High-Tech Knight (1989) and The Radiant Warrior (1989), all three assembled as Conrad Stargard: The Radiant Warrior (omni 2004); plus The Flying Warlord (1989), Lord Conrad's Lady (1990) and Conrad's Quest for Rubber (1998), all three assembled as Conrad's Lady (omni 2005); plus Conrad's Time Machine (2002) with Rodger Olsen, a prequel to the series as a whole; and Conrad's Last Campaign (2014), completed from Frankowski's outline and partial draft by Rodger Olsen. The series features a Polish-US engineer, Stargard, who in the first volume is transported to medieval Poland via Time Travel, where he settles down quite happily to the task of reshaping his native land into a country capable of surviving the next perilous decades; all the while he is protectively overseen by the time-travellers who have mistakenly conveyed him there. In a style first promulgated by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), he proceeds to transform the Technology of medieval Poland; in doing so, Stargard is of course changing timelines – in orthodox-enough sf-adventure fashion his irruption into Europe can itself be seen as the Jonbar Point that creates the Alternate History of the sequence – but the author's clear indifference to the plotting rigours normally expected in tales of this sort increasingly detracts from the flow of the story.

A second series – the Boy and his Tank/New Kashubia tales comprising A Boy and His Tank (1999), The War with Earth (2003) with Dave Grossman and Kren of the Mitchegai (2004) also with Dave Grossman – is Military SF which intensifies the Weapon/human interface exploited by Keith Laumer in his Bolo sequence: here the "boy", native of a metal planet, interfaces by Virtual Reality with a sentient tank, and hires out as a mercenary; eventually an uneasy alliance with Earth is created in order to defend life against an Alien civilization which sterilizes any planet in their way.

Of Frankowski's singletons, Copernick's Rebellion (1987) deals with Genetic Engineering in a Near-Future Polish setting, where Frankowski's inability to create women (though he is strong on breasts) is seriously irritating; The Fata Morgana (1999) engagingly depicts the discovery of the Western Isles by engineer buddies; The Two-Space War (2004) with Dave Grossman posits a complex universe whose incompatible parts are described in terms of the divisions between sf and fantasy (see Science and Sorcery). [JC]

Leo A Frankowski

born Detroit, Michigan: 13 February 1943

died Lake Elsinore, California: 25 December 2008



Adventures of Conrad Stargard:

A Boy and his Tank/New Kashubia

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