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Brussolo, Serge

(1951-    ) French author active since the early 1980s; he has also published as by Zeb Chillicothe, Doom Kitty, D Morlok and Akira Suzuko. He has been prolific in several genres throughout his career, though for a decade or so from about 1981 he concentrated almost exclusively on sf, much of this output adventurously Equipoisal, with mythopoeic topoi conversing, at times joltingly, with plot lines derived from American Genre SF, many of his tales being exorbitant Space Operas. An sf tale like Portrait du diable en chapeau melon ["Portrait of the Devil in a Derby Hat"] (1982), on the other hand, depicts with surreal intensity a Ruined Earth world whose human protagonists – trapped in a coercive Keep by Robot nursemaids whose instructions are now fatally belated – must attempt to free themselves from these mechanized prison while simultaneously interpreting their nurses' mangled understanding of the human story.

Although the various twenty-first century Peggy Sue series for Young Adult readers have been exceedingly popular, the loose David Sarella sequence beginning with Le puzzle de chair ["The Puzzle of Flesh"] (1983) comprises a much more penetrative transaction between Fantastika in general and the innumerable permutations of the cauldron of story that subtends modern literatures (with the partial exception of the genres of realism). Sarella himself, very approximately, seems to manifest himself as a kind of Doppelganger of Brussolo himself: a writer, footloose and freelance, who seems to make his living – through an internally inconsistent array of storylines – plunging into the dream of the world. A strong example of this is Le syndrome du scaphandrier (1992; trans Edward Gauvin as The Deep Sea Diver's Syndrome 2016), where Sarella is a professional spelunker of Virtual-Reality-dense but constantly mutable dream worlds, where he scavenges artefacts of value on the "surface".

It is reasonable to expect that further translations into English of Brussolo's exceedingly large oeuvre will expose an author of very considerable significance. [JC]

Serge Brussolo

born Paris: 31 May 1951

works (highly selected)


David Sarella

La Planète des ouragans ["The Planet of Storms"]

Peggy Sue et les fantômes ["Peggy Sue and the Phantoms"] (selected)

Les Mondes Fantastiques de Peggy Sue ["The Fantastic Worlds of Peggy Sue"]

individual titles (very highly selected)


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 20:00 pm on 26 January 2022.