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Gardner, James Alan

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1955-    ) Canadian author who began publishing work of genre interest with "The Phantom of the Operator" for The University of Waterloo Courier in 1984, and who has spent much of his subsequent career expanding the League of Peoples/Festina Ramos sequence, which begins with his first novel, Expendable (1997), and continues with Vigilant (1999), Hunted (2000), Ascending (2001), Trapped (2002) and Radiant (2004). It is a sequence of some ambition, and its central dilemma – how should the human race respond to an offer of Uplift from an Alien civilization which can only be granted if violence is abjured – promises an outcome of some complexity. The novels themselves, however, feature members of the para-military Explorers Corps, comprised of operatives whose various disabilities stigmatize them, so that their high-risk missions can be accomplished without causing any guilt back home if they perish in the course of duty. This not very plausible sociodynamic may have been somewhat damaging in earlier volumes, but Gardner's increasing sophistication and attention to character development has given weight to the sequence.

Gardner's singletons are competent but of less interest. Commitment Hour (1998) poses some Gender issues in a venue where adolescents must choose their sex on reaching adulthood. Gravity Wells: Speculative Fiction Stories (coll 2005) assembles most of his short fiction to that date. [JC]

see also: Seiun Award.

James Alan Gardner

born Simcoe, Ontario: 10 January 1955



League of Peoples/Festina Ramos

  • Expendable (New York: AvoNova, 1997) [League of Peoples/Festina Ramos: pb/Gregory Bridges]
  • Vigilant (New York: AvoNova, 1999) [League of Peoples/Festina Ramos: pb/Eric Peterson]
  • Hunted (New York: HarperCollins/Eos, 2000) [League of Peoples/Festina Ramos: pb/Gregory Bridges]
  • Ascending (New York: HarperCollins/Eos, 2001) [League of Peoples/Festina Ramos: pb/Luis Royo]
  • Trapped (New York: HarperCollins/Eos, 2002) [League of Peoples/Festina Ramos: pb/Alan Pollack]
  • Radiant (New York: HarperCollins/Eos, 2004) [League of Peoples/Festina Ramos: hb/Fred Gambino]

The Dark and the Spark

individual titles

works as editor


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