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Harris, Robert

Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1957-    ) UK journalist and author whose first novel, Fatherland (1992), a late Hitler Wins detective tale set in an Alternate History 1964 where Hitler is alive and Joseph Kennedy (1888-1969) is the American president, tended to be acclaimed by the general press as being original. The greyish noir atmosphere of the tale, and the lifelessness of the Berlin depicted, are in fact strongly conveyed; and it may be that some reviewers sufficiently competent to identify his sources reacted too negatively to the ignorant praise it had received. His third novel, Archangel (1998), comes close to sf in its portrayal Stalin's (entirely fictional) secret son and the near triumph that attends his attempt to take over the USSR. The Fear Index (2011) is a Technothriller in which a corporation-owned AI-driven programme, capable of deep-tracking human emotions, creates a planetary financial crisis. Conclave (2016) sets the intrigues surrounding the election of a new Pope into the Near Future. The Second Sleep (2019) depicts the mediaeval world that succeeds a Near Future Disaster; much of the tale is told as though it were set in our consensual past, but Harris cues the reader early on to see this impoverished church-dominated venue as an arguable posthistorical payback for the hubris of Homo sapiens. [JC]

see also: Holocaust Fiction.

Robert Dennis Harris

born Nottingham, Nottinghamshire: 7 March 1957

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