Entry updated 10 October 2022. Tagged: Author, Theatre.
(1915-2019) US playwright and author who began his career around 1935 writing Radio dramas. His first published book, The Man in the Trench Coat (coll 1941), contains plays: the first of them, The Man in the Trench Coat (first performed Fall 1940 Barbion Plaza Hotel, New York) is a fantasy whose Jewish protagonist is haunted by a ghost at the beginning of World War Two. A second play of interest, The Traitor: A Play in Two Acts (first performed 1949; 1949), depicts the Near Future Invention of a Power Source capable of providing nuclear fuel almost for free; but Cold War politics stifle the initiative. Wouk was much better known, however, for meaty, well-researched bestselling novels such as The Caine Mutiny (1951) – a Pulitzer Prize winner – and The Winds of War (1971). The Lawgiver (2012) is a nonfantastic satire on the making of a film about Moses; the publication of Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year Old Author (2015) extended his publishing career to around eighty years (see Longevity in Writers).
Wouk's only novel of direct sf interest is a Cold War Satire, The "Lomokome" Papers (17 February 1956 Collier's Weekly; 1968), which somewhat clumsily puts allegorically opposing Utopian societies on the Moon and sets them at each other's throats. A Hole in Texas (2004) is a borderline sf Satire exploring the possibility that in the wake of the 1993 cancellation of the US Superconducting Super Collider project, the sought-for Higgs Boson might be first discovered by the Chinese, with military and national-security implications. [JC]
see also: History of SF.
born New York: 27 May 1915
died Palm Springs, California: 17 May 2019
works (highly selected)
- The Man in the Trench Coat (New York: Jewish Welfare Board Publications, 1941) [plays: coll: title play first performed Fall 1940 Barbion Plaza Hotel, New York: binding unknown/]
- The Traitor: A Play in Two Acts (New York: Samuel French, 1949) [play: first performed 31 March 1949 Forty-Eighth Street Theatre, New York: pb/]
- The "Lomokome" Papers (New York: Pocket Books, 1968) [first appeared 17 February 1956 Collier's Weekly: pb/Harry Bennett]
- A Hole in Texas (New York: Little, Brown, 2004) [hb/]
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