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Strieber, Whitley

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1945-    ) US author, much better known for horror novels – like The Wolfen (1978) (see Horror in SF; Werewolves) and the Hunger sequence beginning with The Hunger (1981) (see Vampires) – than for his sf, though he has continued to produce the latter intermittently throughout his career, with an emphasis on the Near Future seen through a perspective that sometimes attempts to justify Paranoia about government conspiracies against the American people. Warday: And the Journey Onward (1984) with James W Kunetka, a very late example of the Cold War tale, describes from the retrospect of Post-Holocaust 1993 the consequences of a truncated World War Three between America and the USSR in 1988, during the course of which New York is destroyed but California preserved. The text is constructed as the joint, document-filled record of an investigative journey through balkanized America undertaken by the versions of Kunetka and Strieber alive in 1993; their observations of the surviving world are dispassionate and their analysis of the causes of the outbreak – partly obtained through interviews with executive participants – emphasizes human frailty. This dispassion is notable. The 2018 iteration of the Wikipedia entry on this novel, for instance, significantly distorts its explanatory frame to favour America and by implication to deprecate an opportunistically "neutral" Europe.

Wolf of Shadows (1985) is a Young Adult tale set in a post-holocaust Nuclear Winter. Nature's End (1986), again with Kunetka, is set in a Near-Future world devastated by Overpopulation, with a focus on Los Angeles (see California; Ecology). Communion: A True Story (1987), filmed as Communion (1989), and Transformation: The Breakthrough (1988) are represented as nonfictional accounts of Strieber's encounters with visiting Alien intelligences (see UFOs), but are listed here as fiction. Also centred on ufology is his sf novel Majestic (1989; rev 1990), whose subject is the so-called Roswell Incident of 1947 when, those who call it an "incident" claim, a UFO crashed in the New Mexico desert and the US Government created the Majestic 12 group (see Majestic), whose role was to create and maintain an extraordinary cover-up that, according to this version of reality, persists to this day. Putatively based on meticulously researched background detail, the novel incorporates – in the first edition without acknowledgement or permission – a summary derived from David Langford's spoof novel, An Account of a Meeting with Denizens of Another World, 1871 (1979) as by William Robert Loosley, edited by Langford (see Pseudoscience).

Later novels include The Grays (2006), in which Aliens control a small town, whose inhabitants they subject to experiments in Genetic Engineering; 2012: The War for Souls (2007), in which aliens threaten to bring about the End of the World on the title date; The Omega Point (2010), set slightly further into the Near Future, in a 2020 world so direly afflicted by the effects of a supernova (see Disaster) that the rich no longer safe in their Underground Keeps; and Hybrids (2011), in which Homo sapiens is threatened by aliens who have secretly interbred with us. It is not to deprecate these tales to indicate that they are sf of a very peculiar variety, consisting of sf tales whose fictionality is a mask over the truth: for the overt burden of Strieber's fiction is that it is literally true. [JC]

Louis Whitley Strieber

born San Antonio, Texas: 13 June 1945

works (selected)



Flynn Carroll

individual titles


works as editor


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