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Mullen, Thomas

(1974-    ) US author whose first novel, The Last Town on Earth (2006), clearly references but does not directly employ sf topoi in its depiction of the fate of a small town on the Pacific Rim which, faced with a dread Pandemic (in this case the "Spanish" flu), totally isolates itself from the rest of the world (see Horror in SF; Keep). An intruding soldier, unconsciously taking on a Mysterious Stranger role, infects the entire community; social chaos ensues. The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers (2010), which is set in a slightly fantasticated 1930s Depression-afflicted America, follows the periodic Reincarnation of the eponymous bank-robbers, who on re-awakening full of healed bullet holes reinhabit their only very partially self-conscious attempts to register as culture heroes (see Billy the Kid; Magic Realism) [for Myth of Origin see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below].

Of more direct sf interest is The Revisionists (2011), a Time Police tale whose protagonist is sent back from a future Earth to the twenty-first century world where the action takes place. His mission is not to save our world from a Great Conflagration due to ignite in the very Near Future, but to ensure that the terminal Disaster is not averted, as the Perfect Present he has been sent from was built on the ruins of our civilization. As it turns out, the Present whose coming-into-being has required an act of planetary genocide is in fact a Dystopia whose rulers obsessively apply savage strictures to keep its subjects in a state of enforced Amnesia about the past; the Satire is more muted than in Terry Bisson's The Pickup Artist (2001), but to similarly despairing effect. The influence of Stephen King is detectable throughout Mullen's work, though his refusal to resolve his stories comfortably distinguishes them from more user-friendly procedures. [JC]

Thomas Mullen

born Rhode Island: 1974

works (selected)


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 19:36 pm on 7 July 2022.