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Paulsen, Gary

Entry updated 18 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

(1939-2021) US author who began publishing in 1966, at first mostly for adults, but who became best known for his fiction for the Young Adult market, where he was a significant figure since around 1980; he was highly admired for his pared-down but subtle style, and for his sensitive evocations of the American wilderness, which is central to much of his work. His first sf novels, beginning with The Implosion Effect (1976), are Space Operas, and although competent do not very clearly prefigure the later author, though a tale like The White Fox Chronicles (2000) – set in a Ruined Earth America where adolescents are trapped in coercive Keeps by the tyrannical Confederation of Consolidated Republics – is propulsive with violence as well as love for the savaged wilderness. The Time Hackers (2006) less relentlessly pits its young protagonists against pranksters from the future who, via Time Travel hijinks, seem to be setting off a Changewar. The bulk of Paulsen's extensive production (more than 200 titles in all) was not, however, sf; and his use of its conventions could be arbitrary. The natural world and its current inhabitants were his patch. [JC]

Gary Melvin Paulsen

born Minneapolis, Minnesota: 17 May 1939

died Tularosa, New Mexico: 13 October 2021

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