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Hutchinson, Shaun David

Entry updated 20 September 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1978-    ) US author of Young Adult novels, several of them sf, most of them directly or indirectly focused on issues of adolescent Sex; some of his protagonists, some of them gay, come close to suicide as they pass through the gauntlet of coming of age. The protagonist of his first novel, The Deathday Letter (2010), set in an indistinctly Near Future Dystopia faces something similar, having received an official letter informing him that he will die in twenty-four hours; in his journey through the five stage of grief, the protagonist of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley (2015) meets something like Death while falling in love with a young man. The short Ants sequence beginning with We Are the Ants (2016) is sf: an adolescent boy, tormented by sex and other issues of growing up is abducted several times by Aliens, who give him a red button, telling him that all he need do to prevent the End of the World is to push it. At the Edge of the Universe (2017) also treats adolescent traumas in terms of sf topoi, in this case a conviction that the universe is shrinking: a premise which the story takes literally. Similarly, the protagonist of The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (2018) is given a healing Psi Power in a modern America facing the existential threat posed by the election of President Cheeto.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (2019) is an exercise along the same lines, though with some input from Zombies. The Republican mother of the protagonist of The State of Us (2020), a Satirical take on the modern world, is running for the presidency of America (see Politics), but he falls in love with the son of her Democratic opponent. The sf complications of A Complicated Love Story Set in Space (2021) befit its title: a cast of teenagers is trapped on a Spaceship itself seemingly caught in something like a Pocket Universe, with days and times playing themselves back and forth as though the tale were a Godgame, evocative in this of the inner narrative of Groundhog Day (1993): but here there is at least one real death. Set during the 1909 Seattle Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Before We Disappear (2021) confronts a stage magician and his assistant with what seems to be a genuine purveyor of Magic, though it is the latter's young assistant who has supernatural powers. In a reversion to Hutchinson's earlier mode, the protagonist of Howl (2022) finds that being mauled by a Monster and surviving high school are similar experiences. There may be an inherent tedium that attends descriptions of the traumas of adolescents, but Hutchinson has to this point managed to ring a surprising number of effective changes on his chosen subject matter. [JC]

Shaun David Hutchinson

born West Palm Beach, Florida: 1 May 1978

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