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Karl, Jean E

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1927-2000) US editor and author, important in the former capacity for her founding of Atheneum Children's Books, where she edited Ursula K Le Guin's Earthsea sequence and Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence, and many other titles. Her nonfiction titles – such as From Childhood to Childhood: Children's Books and Their Creators (John Day Co, 1970) – were usually based on her experiences as an editor. As an author, her most important sf work consists of the Future Past sequence, in which a group of children experience – and convey to us – a series of contrasting futures; the sequence comprises The Turning Place: Stories of a Future Past (coll of linked stories 1976; vt World's End and After 1978), But We Are Not of Earth (1981) and Strange Tomorrow (1985). In the first, set in a Near Future threatened by an Alien civilization from the stars which has expressed dissatisfaction with Homo sapiens as a species, the children are conveyed through a time portal (see Time Travel) and begin, through an array of tales, to experience exemplary moments in the world's future; meanwhile, the aliens cause a Holocaust to afflict the world, and Strange Tomorrow (1985) is set in a Ruined Earth experiencing gradual transformation into a benign Utopia at the hands of a chastened humanity. In Beloved Benjamin Is Waiting (1978), a singleton, an isolated teenager makes First Contact with beings from another galaxy. [JC]

Jean Edna Karl

born Chicago, Illinois: 29 July 1927

died Lancaster, Pennsylvania: 30 March 2000



Future Past

individual titles



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