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Scholz, Carter

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1953-    ) US author and composer who began publishing sf with "The Eve of the Last Apollo" for Orbit 18 (anth 1976) edited by Damon Knight, and whose short fiction, which appeared with some frequency for the next decade, constitutes a series of dark and fluid visions of the inhabitants of the world to come. None of these stories were included in a Scholz collection for many years: Cuts (coll 1985 chap) restricts itself to previously unpublished material; only with The Amount to Carry (coll 2003), which excludes the striking "Closed Circuit" (in Clarion SF, anth 1977, ed Kate Wilhelm), are these early years properly represented. The ironies are persuasive throughout; no good Technology goes unpunished, and the intertextual games (see Postmodernism and SF) lack the opportunistic thrust characteristic of Equipoisal works in the next century. "The Nine Billion Names of God" (in Light Years and Dark, anth 1984, ed Michael Bishop), does amusingly and cleverly conflate Arthur C Clarke and Jorge Luis Borges, whose "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" (May 1939 Sur) is itself re-created. Scholz fell relatively silent for half a decade after 1985, but in the 1990s began to publish short stories regularly again; Kafka Americana (coll 1999) with Jonathan Lethem contains a set of visions of modern America couched as a series of homages to the work of Franz Kafka.

Scholz remain best-known, however, for his one novel, Palimpsests (1984) with Glenn Harcourt; its dense, refractive, ruminative, palimpsest-laden style more than amply surrounds the story of an archaeologist yanked from brooding internal and external exile by the discovery of a dizzyingly anachronistic object from the future at a Neanderthal dig. Time Paradoxes are alluded to, but with something like Absurdist torpor, and the novel ends in dark irresolution, in an epiphany of flow – "of landho that would never quite achieve landfall" – which simultaneously moves and irritates the reader. Radiance (2003) is nonfantastic; the title novel featured in Gypsy (coll 2015) is Hard SF set in a Starship whose interstellar voyage is not shortened by Faster Than Light travel or any other gifts bestowed through Imaginary Science. [JC]

see also: Modernism in SF.

Carter Scholz

born New York: 22 September 1953


  • Palimpsests (New York: Ace Books, 1984) with Glenn Harcourt [in the publisher's third Science Fiction Special series: pb/Attila Hejja]


  • Cuts (Polk City, Iowa: Chris Drumm Books, 1985) [coll: chap: pb/]
  • Kafka Americana (Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 1999) with Jonathan Lethem [coll: hb/Perry Hoberman]
  • Radiance (New York: Picador USA, 2003) [coll: hb/David Baldeosingh Rotstein]
  • The Amount to Carry (New York: Picador USA, 2003) [coll: hb/uncredited]
  • Gypsy Plus ... (Oakland, California: PM Press, 2015) [coll: in the publisher's Outspoken Writers series: pb/John Yates]


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