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Judson, Theodore

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1951-    ) US history teacher and author whose first novel, Tom Wedderburn's Life (2002), contains no fantastic element. His second novel, Fitzpatrick's War (2004), is constructed as the memoir of an older person intimate with the corridors of power, in this case an ostensibly democratic government ruled by a self-aggrandizing mass-murderer. The setting is a Ruined Earth America where any relics of high Technology are controlled by a secret elite; the world depicted is estranged from traditional Post-Holocaust tales set in a pastoral America about to rediscovery technology, and the memoir form of the text adds to a sense that this world is not on the verge of transformation. Very similar structural decisions and thematic concerns govern Judson's third novel, The Martian General's Daughter (2008): the venue in this case is a Future History version of Earth similarly estranged from the dynamisms of change typical of sf in this context; the memoirist is a woman close to a succession of rulers (their history echoes that of first and second century Rome), at least one of whom is insanely cruel; and the ultimate stasis is, if anything, even more icy. Hell Can Wait (2010) portrays a Roman soldier trapped by bureaucracy in Hell until his reincarnation in the twenty-first century. Judson's work so far is superficially orthodox; where it is radical lies in its retrospective gaze on the worlds of sf. [JC]

Theodore Ruben Judson

born 19 December 1951



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