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Gotschalk, Felix C

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1929-2002) US author and psychologist who began publishing sf with "Outer Concentric" and "The Examination" for New Dimensions 4 (anth 1974) edited by Robert Silverberg. In a relatively short time he established a reputation as an author of high linguistic energy whose many stories emote a ruthless savvy about the future. Many of his tales are narrated through stunning linguistic displays of the emotional and physiological ways of being that humans display in isolation and in their relations to the social world; these ways of being are constantly articulated by the protagonists in a flow of brilliant jargon, with the result that existence and the Linguistic perception of existence become identical. The effect is exhilarating and also rather terrifying.

Gotschalk's only novel, Growing Up in Tier 3000 (1975), is set in a world very similar to that of many of the tales, and deploys a similarly searching sense of the surface of events and of identities, though its plot moves with some difficulty: in an energy-quarantined, savagely competitive, complexly automated Dystopian future society, young children – in a reductio ad absurdum of the hypothesis, first promulgated by Benjamin Whorf (1897-1941), that language structure shapes our conceptualization of the world – show their readiness to take over from their elders because they understand the languages that in effect embody hyperkinetic new realities. At least two further novels were written and await publication; but the aggressive ingenuity of his style, and the oddly high-strung gallantry of his attitude to the futures in store for the human race – that they are to be endured with grace, but never "won" – seem to have assured that his work was unlikely to reach a wide market. [JC]

see also: Cities; Fabulation; Taboos.

Felix Charles Gotschalk Jr

born Richmond, Virginia: 7 September 1929

died Winston Salem, North Carolina: 20 April 2002



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