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Thurston, Robert

Entry updated 10 November 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1936-2021) US author and academic who attended the first Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop in 1968 and began to publish work of genre interest with "Stop Me before I Tell More", in Orbit 9 (anth 1971) edited by Damon Knight, and who was for some years known only for his short work. This is notable more for its examination of individual humans caught in social or sexual extremis than for any specific extrapolative bent, so that moments of genuine insight or threat tend to be lost in weak plotting. His first novel, Alicia II (1978), exemplifies this problem, introducing an interesting existential problem involving Identity Transfer – the brain of an old man is implanted into the body of a young "retread" and the new amalgam must come to terms with the kind of society which legitimizes this obscene method of attaining longevity for a few – but foundering in the telling, which confusedly leads the protagonist into improbable Pulp-magazine adventures. Thurston's second independent novel, Set of Wheels (as "Wheels" in Clarion, anth 1971, ed Robin Scott Wilson; exp 1983), shows the same difficulty, but his third, Q Colony (as "The Oonaa Woman" in The Berkley Showcase: New Writings in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol. 4, anth 1981, ed Schochet and John Silbersack; exp 1985), set in a research station on an Alien planet whose inhabitants can interbreed with humans, explores his usual material – Sex and Identity – with greater aplomb. Trial of Heroes (2004) is a Space Opera.

It may be, however, that Thurston will remain best known for a series of Ties, the most significant being his contributions to the Battlestar Galactica sequence linked to the first series of Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979), all with Glen A Larson:, beginning with Battlestar Galactica (1978) and ending with Battlestar Galactica #14: Surrender the Galactica! (1987). His sequence of BattleTech game Ties (see BattleTech) begins with Legend of the Jade Phoenix #1: Way of the Clans (1991) and ends with Legend of the Jade Phoenix #3: Falcon Guard (1991). Singleton Ties include Robot Jox (1989), based on a screenplay by Joe Haldeman (see Robot Jox) and Dennis Paoli, and Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens #3: Intruder (1990). [JC]

see also: Games and Sports; Reincarnation.

Robert Donald Thurston

born Lockport, New York: 28 October 1936

died Ridgefield Park, New Jersey: 20 October 2021

works

series

Battlestar Galactica

BattleTech: Legend of the Jade Phoenix

BattleTech

BattleTech: Twilight of the Clans

individual titles

  • Alicia II (New York: Berkley Publishing Corporation: G P Putnam, 1978) [hb/Norm Walker]
  • Set of Wheels (New York: Berkley Books, 1983) [first version appeared Clarion (anth 1971) edited by Robin Scott Wilson, as "Wheels": pb/Alan Daniels]
  • Q Colony (New York: Ace Books, 1985) [first version appeared in The Berkley Showcase: New Writings in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol. 4 (anth 1981) edited by Victoria Schochet and John Silbersack, as "The Oonaa Woman": pb/John Harris]
  • Robot Jox (New York: Avon Books, 1989) [tie to the film Robot Jox: based on a screenplay by Joe Haldeman and Dennis Paoli: pb/]
  • Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens #3: Intruder (New York: Ace Books, 1990) [tie to the Shared World: Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens: pb/Paul Rivoche]
  • Trial of Heroes (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Xlibris Corporation, 2004) [pb/]

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