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Kelley, William Melvin

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1937-2017) US author whose celebrated short novel A Different Drummer (1959) is an sf fable telling of Black history in an imaginary town in an imagined southern state of the USA (see Race in SF), and ending with a mass emigration of all Blacks from this state in 1957. The isolation of this town [for Polder see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] is reminiscent of the Yoknapatawpha Country created by William Faulkner (1897-1962), as has been widely noted; but Kelley's easy use of sf and fantasy tropes is perhaps more tellingly analogous to the work of Donald Harington, whose town of Stay More serves similarly as a staging-point for expressive actions. Dem (1967) is a Fabulation in which American cultural myths are Satirized; Dunfords Travels Everywheres (coll of linked stories 1970), which won the American Book Award, homages Finnegans Wake (1939) by James Joyce (1882-1941) through a series of interlinked Fantastic Voyages couched as dreams that become real within the mind and body of Chig Dunford. [JC/PN]

William Melvin Kelley

born New York: 1 November 1937

died New York: 1 February 2017



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