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Weldon, Fay

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1931-    ) UK Television and Radio scriptwriter, and author, active from the early 1960s, born Franklin Birkinshaw, granddaughter of Edgar Jepson; she began writing work of genre interest with "Angel, All Innocence" in The Thirteenth Ghost Book (anth 1977) edited by James Hale. Almost all of her work has – with passion, anger and a highly charged creative ambiguity – dealt with issues and situations generally conceived of as Feminist. Much of her later fiction verges on the supernatural or edges into the future, or both, sometimes with a tentativeness characteristic of the Mainstream Writer of SF, but with increasing fluency. In Puffball (1980) a pregnant woman is influenced by Glastonbury Tor; the film adaptation is Puffball: The Devil's Eyeball (2007) directed by Nicolas Roeg. In The Rules of Life (1987 chap), set in 2004, a dead woman communicates her memoirs through a Computer console under the control of a new Religion. After discovering a new planet, the female astronomer who narrates Leading the Band (1988) goes walkabout, skirting the fantastic in her Sex-drenched search for meaning. In The Cloning of Joanna May (1989) a man has his wife "cloned" ("not cloning in the modern sense, but parthenogenesis plus implantation", as the text explains) so that he can enjoy four younger versions of her; the novel was dramatized as a television miniseries, The Cloning of Joanna May (1991). Several of the tales assembled in A Hard Time To Be a Father: A Collection of Short Stories (coll 1998) are sharp Satires, some set in the Near Future. In Mantrapped (2004), a woman awakens to find she has suffered Identity Transfer into a man. Chalcot Crescent (2009), set in a strongly delineated 2013, depicts – through a tangle of memories on the part of a protagonist who is almost a clone of the author herself – a UK government which has responded repressively to continuing economic crisis. Kehua!: A Ghost Story (2010) is set in New Zealand; the eponymous kehua is a Maori ghost. [JC]

see also: Clones; Women SF Writers.

Fay Weldon

born Alvechurch, Worcestershire: 22 September 1931

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