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O'Connell, Jack

(1959-    ) US author of a noir thriller sequence set in the small, stressed New England city of Quinsigamond – comprising Box Nine (1992), Wireless (1993), The Skin Palace (1996) and Word Made Flesh (1999) – and transparently based on his hometown, Worcester, Massachusetts. The fracture line of Equipoisal anxiety, as usual in this kind of tale, can be traced through the moves of the detective himself, whose explorations of crime lead him into Alternate-World extremities where Monsters lurk. The final volume – whose apparent McGuffin is in fact a book whose intimate detailings of an event during the Holocaust of World War Two has a Basilisk-like ability to force its readers into emblematic acts of violence – perhaps overstretches noir into theology. An unconnected later novel, The Resurrectionist (2008), again aggressively Equipoisal in its forced liaising of various story types, locks a young man in a coma into an oppressive Keep, where enigmatic doctors seem to be trying to cure him, and suggests varying explanations for his condition: that he is under the fantasy sway of a lurid Comic; that he has fallen under the control of a Virtual Reality he cannot escape; that he is a metafictional victim of his own story. [JC]

Jack O'Connell

born Worcester, Massachusetts: 25 December 1959




individual titles

works as editor


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 03:40 am on 25 May 2022.