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Purdom, Tom

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of US author Thomas Edward Purdom (1936-    ) for all his sf, which he started publishing with "Grieve for a Man" for Fantastic Universe, August 1957. His sf novels, beginning with I Want the Stars (1964 dos), have been unpretentious but competent adventures, generally set on challenging Alien worlds. The Tree Lord of Imeten (1966 dos) vividly puts two human colonists into a crisis situation in the jungle while two native races fight one another. The Barons of Behavior (1972) mixes Politics and social conditioning in a Dystopian future Earth.

After a period of relative inactivity, Purdom began in 1990 to publish frequently in shorter forms, with at least thirty-five tales to date in Asimov's; a selection has been assembled as Lovers & Fighters, Starships & Dragons: Twelve Science Fiction Stories (coll 2014). The best of them manifest a fierce adherence to issues and narrative procedures which have governed Hard SF for many decades, so that Thought Experiments tend to dominate, and Conceptual Breakthroughs are assiduously achieved. At the same time, however, an innovative coldness, a sense that unexpected perspectives are constantly unfolding, give to his work an estranged clarity. Though Purdom is far stricter in his application of scientific method, his work sometimes evokes the outsider surrealism of a writer like Barrington J Bayley. [JC]

see also: Psychology.

Thomas Edward Purdom

born New Haven, Connecticut: 19 April 1936


collections and stories


works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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