Entry updated 21 April 2021. Tagged: Author.
Pseudonym of US musician and author John Henderson (1971- ) whose first novels are nonfantastic history-obsessed confabulations of the Western experience, conspiracy-laced assertions of the meaningfulness of the past two centuries, in the manner brought to maturity by Thomas Pynchon. The Right Hand of Sleep (2001) is set in 1938 Austria; Canaan's Tongue (2006), based partly on the real-life John Murrell (1806-1844), focuses on the slave trade in pre-Civil-War America. Lowboy (2009), set partly Underground in contemporary Manhattan (see New York), tracks the apparently psychotic protagonist's conviction that global warming (see Climate Change) is isomorphically connected with the overheating of his own body due to lack of Sex with a willing female partner.
Of more direct sf interest is The Lost Time Accidents (2016), whose abiding Pynchonesque extravagance is mediated through later authors like Nick Harkaway or Reif Larsen, sharing with them an Equipoisal balance – visible at the level of individual sentences and in the structuring of entire volumes – between self-ironizing farce and explosions of gravitas, also self-ironizing. The protagonist of the tale, caught in a kind of time stasis (see Time Distortion) at exactly 8:46 Eastern Standard Time, where he begins to inscribe the history of his family, a procedure vulnerable to Time Loops, subjective or real, and other twists in the nature of Time. In the kaleidoscopic unfolding of events and plots typical of much contemporary Fantastika, a Pariah Elite attempts to manipulate the world in its search for Secret Master lore. Various sf writers, including Algis Budrys, Orson Scott Card and Kurt Vonnegut, are homaged en passant. In the end a crazed world unpacks. [JC]
born Washington, District of Columbia: 1971
- The Right Hand of Sleep (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2001) [hb/]
- Canaan's Tongue (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2005) [hb/]
- Lowboy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009) [hb/]
- The Lost Time Accidents (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016) [hb/]
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