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James, Donald

Entry updated 13 September 2021. Tagged: Author.

Working name of UK scriptwriter and author Donald James Wheal (1931-2008), who also wrote as James Barwick and Thomas Dresden. His work as a scriptwriter for Television series began about 1964; of sf interest were scripts for programmes like Space: 1999, and for individual films like Gerry Anderson's Doppelganger (1999). His first novel of sf interest, The Fall of the Russian Empire (1982), is a Near Future thriller about the end of the USSR; the Inspector Vadim sequence, comprising Monstrum (1997), The Fortune Teller (1999) and Vadim (2001), is less riskily set as regards the actual course of history to come – rather further into the future (circa 2015) and focuses on criminal investigations with a newly totalitarian Russia. Inspector Constantin Vadim is a complex and intriguing figure, evocative for some of the kind of explorer of the interstices between crime and power found in authors like John Le Carré (1931-2020) and Martin Cruz Smith. [JC]

Donald James Wheal

born London: 22 August 1931

died London: 28 April 2008



Inspector Vadim

  • Monstrum (London: Century, 1997) [Inspector Vadim: hb/Greg Clark]
  • The Fortune Teller (London: Century, 1999) [Inspector Vadim: hb/]
  • Vadim (London: Random House/Century, 2001) [Inspector Vadim: hb/]

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