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Frayn, Michael

Entry updated 14 August 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1933-    ) UK journalist, playwright and author, best known for such work outside the sf field as the novel Towards the End of the Morning (1967; vt Against Entropy 1967), which despite its vt is not sf, and for Copenhagen (performed 1998; 2001), which examines the historical meeting during World War Two between Niels Bohr (1885-1962) and Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976). The Tin Men (1965) is a very funny Satire on the Computer simulation of human consciousness and thought, including a simple Wordmill program that produces tabloid newspaper stories. A Very Private Life (1968) describes a sanitized Earth with mankind divided into those who live inside germ-free Keeps and those who live outdoors; some ambivalence is expressed throughout as to whether what is being described is a Dystopia or simply a mise en scène. And Sweet Dreams (1973) is an afterlife fantasy (see entries on Afterlife and on Frayn in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy); the megalopolitan Heaven at which its protagonist arrives is as much a skewed Utopia as it is a dream of Urban Fantasy. A Landing on the Sun (1991), which won the Sunday Express Book of the Year award, verges on Fantastika as it relates the unearthing of a forgotten UK Civil Service project to investigate the nature of happiness (whose two principals made the mistake of finding it). Frayn has always lacked the ready animus so often found in Mainstream Writers when they appropriate sf tropes – almost always imprudently – for satirical purposes. [JC]

see also: Automation; Linguistics; Underground.

Michael Frayn

born London: 8 September 1933

works (highly selected)

works as editor


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