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Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1931-    ) US anthropologist and author whose expeditions to Africa between 1950 and 1956 resulted in her first book, the nonfiction The Harmless People (1959), about the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. Her two novels are of interest as intense examples of Prehistoric SF, where speculations about Homo sapiens that cannot be claimed to bear the warrant of professional testability serve as Thought Experiments through which to notate visions of our coming to be human. The first of these, Reindeer Moon (1987), which features a female protagonist (see Women in SF), is set in a strongly imagined Siberia 20,000 years ago, where the animate and the inanimate are magically seen as one (see Magic Realism). The second, The Animal Wife (1990), is narrated by a young man, whose discovery of women has a potentially disruptive effect on the complex kinship structure of his people. [JC]

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

born Boston, Massachusetts: 13 September 1931


nonfiction (highly selected)


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