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Wouk, Herman

Entry updated 10 October 2022. Tagged: Author, Theatre.

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(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.

Herman Wouk

born New York: 27 May 1915

died Palm Springs, California: 17 May 2019

works (highly selected)


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