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McCarry, Charles

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1930-2019) US government agent and author, best known for the Paul Christopher series of intermittently Near Future political thrillers beginning with The Miernik Dossier (1973). McCarry's grave acuity, and his extensive knowledge of the workings of intelligence agencies like the CIA (his employer for a decade or more), have given rise to comparisons with the work of John Le Carré (1931-2020), though he did not share the saeva indignatio that marked the latter's old age. Though most of the Christopher books are tacitly embedded in venues titivated by Technologies and Weapons just beyond the horizon of the specious present (see Technothrillers), some titles are of more specific interest. The Tears of Autumn (1974) posits a different explanation for the assassination of J F Kennedy; in The Better Angels (1979), set in 1992, terrorists hijack an aeroplane for use in a suicide mission of mass destruction, and features an American president bloviating in favour of a hostile takeover of Canada; Shelley's Heart (1995), set in 2000, describes the rigged election of a new American president; both Second Sight (1991) and Old Boys (2004) are narrated within an underlying assumption that the Roman state gamed the story of Jesus Christ to its own advantage: a pyrrhic victory.

One singleton, Ark (2011), set in a world approaching the Disaster of a predicted planetary earthquake, is Near Future sf. In order to preserve Homo sapiens, a trillionaire commissions a range of Scientists and engineers to build a Generation Starship, quickly; the plan is to populate it with Genetically Engineered selected human embryos (see Eugenics). Sadly for those left behind, huddled in decaying Keeps after the cataclysm has struck, there is little hope. [JC]

Albert Charles McCarry Jr

born Pittsfield, Massachusetts: 14 June 1930

died Fairfax County, Virginia: 26 February 2019



Paul Christopher

individual titles (selected)

  • Ark (New York: The Mysterious Press, 2011) [hb/]


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