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Wright, Lawrence

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1947-    ) US journalist, screenwriter and author, active from the 1970s; much of his nonfiction work comprises analyses of world politics over the past several decades, a focus reflected in his filmscript for The Siege (1998) directed by Edward Zwick, whose story – martial law is declared in New York after a terrorist attack – hovers at the edge of the fantastic. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (first version 7 February 2011 The New Yorker as "The Apostate"; exp 2013) subjects Scientology and its founder L Ron Hubbard to intense critical scrutiny. The Church responded negatively.

Wright is of specific sf interest for The End of October (2020), a novel whose extraordinarily detailed and accurate narrative analysis of a Pandemic more or less identical to Covid-19, along with a scathing anatomy of the failure of American governance confronted with such a crisis, places the complex tale (which was published in April 2020) in the water margins of the very Near Future. Along with the film Contagion (2011) directed by Steven Soderbergh a decade earlier, Wright's documentary-like tale stands as one of the few relatively successful attempts to predict (see Prediction) in realistic terms a world beset by recurring anthropogenic plagues and incompetent regimes. The End of October is succeeded by a long nonfiction piece, "The Plague Year: The Mistakes and the Struggles behind America's Coronavirus Tragedy" (4-11 January 2021 The New Yorker), which continues the story. [JC]

Lawrence Wright

born Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 2 August 1947

works (selected)



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