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Schmidt, Stanley

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Editor.

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(1944-    ) US editor, author and academic, with a 1969 PhD in physics, which he taught until 1978. In that year he became editor of Analog, a position he held continually until his retirement in August 2012, matching John W Campbell Jr's thirty-four years in the post. He performed this daunting task – which at its simplest might be described as maintaining a home for the Hard SF Thought Experiment – in the forthright manner Campbell established, though rather more quietly. If he had an agenda, it was hard to distinguish that agenda from the general argument that sf not only conceptualizes and predicts plausible futures (see Optimism and Pessimism; Prediction), but also blueprints their implementation (see Futures Studies; Technology).In Analog he consistently followed this agenda, publishing thrusting, extroverted, problem-solving sf tales of a sort that, for many readers, continues to occupy the high road of sf.

Schmidt began publishing his own sf with "A Flash of Darkness" in Analog for September 1968; later stories have been assembled as Generation Gap and Other Stories (coll 2002). His first novel, Newton and the Quasi-Apple (September 1970 Analog as "Lost Newton"; exp 1975), is a Hard-SF exploration in Physics set on a primitive planet where Newton's principles are being independently discovered, raising questions as to what kinds of knowledge are helpful – and when. The Kyyra sequence, comprising The Sins of the Fathers (November 1973-January 1974 Analog; 1976) and Lifeboat Earth (fixup 1978), perhaps overcomplicatedly invokes an exploding Galaxy, Time Travel and more new physics in the presentation of an Alien race whose effective social engineering challenges Earth (see Sociology). Tweedlioop (1987) again submits an alien – the eponymous alien child has survived the shipwreck that killed its parents – to the human world, as represented by an engineer in the space industry, and ultimately by an American president who has not forgotten the human imperative to travel into space; the similarities to Steven Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial are clear but not in the end significant. Throughout his writing career, which has become less active since 1978, Schmidt has written work within the genre remits he adheres to as editor of Analog. He has edited several anthologies spun-off from the magazine, mostly from the 1980s or earlier; and two from Unknown, its stablemate from half a century earlier. His nonfiction work includes several works of practical advocacy of the way forward into space; Which Way to the Future?: Selected Essays from Analog (coll 2001) cogently represents his vison. [JC]

see also: Astounding Science-Fiction; Children in SF; Robert A Heinlein Award.

Stanley Albert Schmidt

born Cincinnati, Ohio: 7 March 1944




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works as editor


The Analog Anthologies



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