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Searls, Hank

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of US author and screenwriter Henry Hunt Searls Jr (1922-2017), who began publishing work of genre interest with "Drop Dead Twice" for Black Mask Magazine in March 1950, though his first sf proper was "Martyr's Flight" for Imagination in December 1955. His sf has been primarily restricted to Near-Future tales set in the glory days of the early space age, like his first novel, The Big X (1959), in which a test pilot flies a plane designed to reach Mach 8. His best-known tale, The Pilgrim Project (1964) – filmed as Countdown (1967) – depicts a race between America and the USSR to get to the Moon first, with both countries launching flights almost simultaneously. The Penetrators (1965) as by Anthony Gray is a Near Future Technothriller. Melodramatically plotted, and Technologically bound to the world of the 1950s and 1960s (a cost of his methodical expertise), much of Searls's work is now an artefact of an earlier (and in some ways bolder) age, though Jaws 2: A Novel (1978) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987) are refreshingly competent Ties to the marginal films; and Sounding (1982) movingly depicts the inner thoughts of an aged sperm whale desperate to discover the secret behind the viciousness of Homo sapiens. Other later works are non-sf. [JC]

Henry Hunt Searls Jr

born San Francisco, California: 10 August 1922

died Gig Harbor, Washington: 17 February 2017

works (selected)


  • Jaws 2: A Novel (New York: Bantam Books, 1978) [tie to the film: Jaws 2 (1978): pb/]
  • Jaws: The Revenge (New York: Berkley Books, 1987) [tie to the film: Jaws: The Revenge (1987): pb/]

individual titles (selected)


previous versions of this entry

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