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Grimsley, Jim

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Theatre.

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(1955-    ) US playwright, academic and author some of whose plays have been assembled as Mr Universe: And Other Plays (coll 1998), which includes Math and Aftermath (first performed Seven Stages, Atlanta, Georgia, April 1988) and The Lizard of Tarsus (first performed Seven Stages, Atlanta, Georgia 31 January 1990). Other plays of sf interest include The Earthlings (first performed Seven Stages, Atlanta, Georgia, January 1984) and Man with a Gun (first performed Nexus Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia, January 1989). He began publishing novels, at least five of which are non-fantastic, with Winter Birds (1994). He began publishing work of genre interest with "Free the Asveroth" in Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction (anth 1998) edited by Nicola Griffith and Steve Pagel, and is of primary interest in the literatures of the fantastic for the three Senal/Irion novels set in the same universe, though one of these books is fantasy, one Science Fantasy, and one more like sf in its final tonality. They are Kirith Kirin (2000), a fantasy with a Young Adult bent, in which a young lad finds a magic ring and helps his exiled king; and The Ordinary (2004) and The Last Green Tree (fixup 2006), which are more closely connected. With very considerable skill, The Ordinary opposes two planets – one a high-tech world in which "nature" has been essentially eliminated, the other a flat world (first encountered in Kirith Kirin) created aeons earlier by a now-absent mage – and explores the interacting implications of these two genres or epistemes in a fashion that reminded some of Ursula K Le Guin's dualistic use of two opposing planets in The Dispossessed (1974); less joined-together, The Last Green Tree is a Space Opera that moves, in a manner typical of American versions of the "New Space Opera" since 1990, towards a somewhat Christianized rendering of Transcendence. Like some other writers who have grown up with sf, but who are not instinctive genre writers (another example being Donald Harington), Grimsley is both sophisticated and naive, fluent and edgy in his use of the engines of the fantastic. He retains a large capacity to surprise. [JC]

Jim Grimsley

born Grifton, North Carolina: 21 September 1955






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