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Chesbro, George C

(1940-2008) US author who began to write detective stories in the late 1960s, sometimes as by David Cross, and who is of genre interest for the intermittent – but sometimes essential – sf elements in his Mongo sequence, about a dwarf former circus performer and professor of criminology (see Superheroes), whose real name is Robert Frederickson and who as Mongo the Magnificent runs a detective agency with his brother Garth, beginning with Shadow of a Broken Man (1977) and ending with Dream of a Falling Eagle: A Mongo Mystery (1996). Mongo's constitution and skills themselves verge into the fantastic, as is usual with Superhero figures of his apparent ilk from the Pulp magazines and the Comics; the individual novels in the sequence stand out from their heritage, however, in the sustained – sometimes almost lyric – intensity of their telling, and for a sense that the perils of the planet – on several occasions Mongo saves Earth from threats of destruction – are not due to the machinations of villains but somehow inherent in the relationship of our species to the rest of reality. The first volumes flirt with themes of Devolution, most successfully perhaps in The Beasts of Valhalla (1985), in which Mongo comes across a conspiracy to use Genetic Engineering techniques to haul Homo sapiens back from the dubious pinnacle we have reached; a colleague, who is a modified gorilla (see Apes as Human), gives some muscular assistance. Later volumes flirt with occult issues; but the main story is the story, variously jigged for popular consumption, of what may be happening to us all. In 2005 a television series encompassing the entire Mongo sequence was announced; it has not yet been broadcast. The Veil Kendry sequence is pure fantasy about a psychic. [JC]

George Clark Chesbro

born Washington, District of Columbia: 4 June 1940

died Albany, New York: 18 November 2008




Veil Kendry

individual titles (selected)


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 04:55 am on 30 May 2024.