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Veterans Who Write SF

(15 posts)

  1. Marian
    Member

    Very interesting though far too brief look at the veterans who then write (or wrote) SF and how their experiences influenced their writing http://io9.com/5980214/science-fiction-and-fantasy-authors-who-served-in-the-military-and-how-it-changed-their-work

    Begins with Tolkien and includes people you don't think of as veterans such as Clarke plus the obvious such as Haldeman.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  2. AKAkarlb
    Member

    A notable omission on this list: Walter Miller. The only non-horrific thing to come out of the bombing of Monte Cassino was "A Canticle for Leibowitz."

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. Marian
    Member

    Thanks Karl. I suspected the list was too short. I wonder how much research the compiler did. I just thought that what was there was interesting.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  4. Myke Cole can be added to the list. He spent three tours in Iraq, and one of the hats he's worn was in counter-terrorism. His first book came out early last year -- SHADOW OPS: Control Point, and the sequel was just published. Read the first one; it's a different kind of weird and deadly magic that manifests itself in certain people and in odd ways, set in the present with totally realistic military aspects and warfare. Was a rollicking good read for the sort of action/adventure book it was intended to be.

    And let's not forget William Tenn, who served in the European theater in WWII as a combat engineer. The one story that comes to mind immediately that was no doubt influenced by his military service is "Down Among the Dead Men."

    Posted 6 years ago #
  5. Kevin C.
    Member

    Isaac Asimov was in the US Army at one point. As an intro to one of his essays, he tells of the day they learned of elevation and azimuth, and was immediately dubbed "Isaac Azimuth."

    Tom Kratman, author of Caliphate, was also in the army.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  6. Greg
    Member

    Maybe I'll throw myself in, as a totally unknown generic example. I spent a year in Vietnam. While I've never really given the question of military influence much thought, and while I don't write what anyone would likely characterize as military science fiction, my most recent efforts include one story that's set in some non-specific battlefield environment, and another that features a partially blinded helicopter pilot. (With the latter, any personal history reference is very much general. I suppose post-war readjustment is the unintentional subtext.)

    My guess is that the significant elements of any fiction writer's personal history tend to find expression in the writing. If there's a significant military history, that's likely going to come through at some point. "Significant" might even imply an ongoing need for catharsis, consciously recognized or not, in which case the influence of some personal history element might be seen again and again.

    Tolkien was mentioned in the first post. His WWI military experiences might be the fantasy genre's prime example of that level of significance. Consider his own words, from his preface to the second edition of LORD OF THE RINGS:

    "One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead."

    Imagine the significance of something like that. It would have to be like some sort of distorting lens, persisting throughout the remainder of a person's life, that alters their view of everything.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  7. wpreston
    Member

    Jack Kirby.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  8. LukeJackson
    Member

    Don't forget the illustrious Steven Francis Murphy.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  9. Marian
    Member

    On Tolkien and WWI, he also has said somewhere that the descriptions of Mordor are based on the landscape created by the trench warfare of WWI.

    I found this thread while looking for something else and thought it worth updating. Also, since WWI is mentioned, I want to give high praise to They Shall Not Grow Old, the WWI documentary by Peter Jackson.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. JohnWThiel
    Member

    William Hope Hodgson and Edgar Rice Burroughs were in warfare.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. GusG
    Member

    Surprised to see no mention of Glen Cook.

    Posted 2 weeks ago #
  12. Greg
    Member

    The trailer for the soon-to-be-released film, Tolkien. It looks worth seeing:

    https://www.facebook.com/TheOneRingnet/videos/2350297048561138/

    Posted 1 week ago #
  13. BevanEvansMcdougie
    Member

    ...Stan Lee.

    Posted 6 days ago #
  14. JohnWThiel
    Member

    To Tolkien, yes, being born into war years isn't a nice way to come into the world.

    Posted 6 days ago #
  15. Marian
    Member

    John, Tolkien was a soldier in WWI. He later said that his war experiences shaped LOTR. The description of Mordor was based on the devastation of trench warfare.

    Posted 6 days ago #

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