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Gee, Maggie

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1948-    ) UK author whose first published novel, Dying in Other Words (1981), is a morbid experimental work which could be interpreted as having ghostly elements along Posthumous-Fantasy lines [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. In The Burning Book (1983) an ordinary contemporary family's problems are overshadowed by auctorial asides reminding the reader of the fragility of human life, as demonstrated by Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Holocaust that everyone expects will soon occur, and which is graphically depicted in the last chapter of the novel. Where are the Snows? (1991) takes her protagonists from the early 1980s into a pessimistically drawn twenty-first century. The Ice People (1998) is narrated by an old man who has been kept alive because of the stories he tells about life on Earth before global warming (see Climate Change) led convulsively to a new ice age at the end of the twenty-first century; as usual with Gee, and sometimes very effectively, the protagonist's long life resonates tellingly – though at times in a manner dangerously close to metaphor, as in Grace (1989) – with the long trauma of the planet. The Flood (2004), which carries over several characters from the non-fantastic The White Family (2002), is set in a kind of Parallel World version of the Near Future, where an unnamed City closely resembling London – so inundated by endless rain and rising seas that it might almost be Venice – squats at the heart of a Dystopian regime shaped by President Bliss (i.e. Tony Blair) into an eternal war with what is obviously Iraq, under another name. The novel ends in a malign revel. In Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (2014) a contemporary librarian in New York conjures a Reincarnation of Virginia Woolf, where a confrontation at the Statue of Liberty conveys a sense of cultural degradation between the 1930s and now. Perhaps because she deals so often with the Near Future, Gee's books are far more pessimistic than most contemporary genre sf, which tends to avoid that region. She received the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to literature in 2012. [JC/PHe]

Maggie Mary Gee

born Poole, Dorset: 2 November 1948



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