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Shaara, Michael

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1928-1988) US author who began publishing sf with "All the Way Back" for Astounding in July 1952, the first of twenty-one stories he released in the 1950s, followed by a gap of more than two decades before he returned briefly to the form. Soldier Boy (coll 1982) assembles tales from both periods of his sf work, in which a slightly distanced diction is at times absorbingly applied to straightforward genre plots involving strange planets and Aliens, a seemingly standard mixture of ingredients subtly enriched with quick revelatory ironies about the human condition. For a few years Shaara seemed to be one of the heirs apparent to the sf pantheon, but his energies were directed elsewhere; his Civil War novel, The Killer Angels (1974), won a Pulitzer Prize, though none of his work gained commercial success until after his death. Bad health for the last fifteen years of his life hampered his ability to write, but in the early 1980s he returned to sf for a short while with The Herald (1981; rev vt The Noah Conspiracy 1994), a novel set in a Near-Future America, where a Scientist has developed a plague as the first part of a master plan to kill off most of humanity in preparation for his creation (see Mad Scientist; Pandemic) of a race of Supermen. [JC]

Michael Joseph Shaara Jr

born Jersey City, New Jersey: 23 June 1928

died Tallahassee, Florida: 5 May 1988


collections and stories


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