LONGYEAR, Barry B(rookes)


LONGYEAR, Barry B(rookes)
(1942-)
   US writer and editor who ran a printing company with his wife before beginning to write in 1977. He soon published his first sf story, "The Tryouts" for IASFM in 1978. Before his 1981 hospitalization foralcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs - an experience which forms the basis of the non-sf novel Saint Mary Blue (1988) - he had already published prolifically, sometimes as by Frederick Longbeard. Most of the short fiction for which he remains best known was soon released, most notably the stories assembled in Manifest Destiny (coll 1980), which explore their shared universe - dominated by a ruthlessly expanding Earth - with considerable intensity. Enemy Mine (1979 IASFM; 1989 chap dos),which appeared in that volume, won both HUGO and NEBULA and was filmed as ENEMY MINE (1985); with the collaboration of David GERROLD, BBL novelizedthe film version as Enemy Mine * (1985). In both versions, a human and an ALIEN, caught in the bitter conflict occasioned by human expansion, areisolated together on a primitive planet and must cooperate or die. The Tomorrow Testament (1983) is a loose sequel to the tale, reiterating incompetently extended form its lessons.At the same time, BBL began to publish his Circus sequence - comprising, in order of internal chronology, City of Baraboo (coll of linked stories 1980), Elephant Song (1982) andCircus World (coll of linked stories 1981) - about the escape of a circus troop from Earth, its misadventures, its colonizing of the planet Momus, and the final triumph of its representatives as an interstellar act. Most of the contents of It Came from Schenectady (coll 1984) had first appeared by 1981. In 1980 BBL won the JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD for Best New Writer.After the gap caused by his hospital experience, BBL returned toactive work with a sharp DYSTOPIA about OVERPOPULATION, Sea of Glass (1987), told from the viewpoint of a child whose birth was illegal butpromulgated by the COMPUTER which struggles coldly to deal with the huge excess of humans on the planet. Later novels like Naked Came the Robot (1988), The God Box (1989), Infinity Hold (1989) and The Homecoming (1989)are variously of interest, but exhibit some intermittent sense of fatigue. At the same time, the alert clarity and genre cunning of BBL's best workseem potentially available to him, and may surface at any point in the 1990s.
   JC
   Other works: Science Fiction Writer's Workshop - I: An Introduction to Fiction Mechanics (1980); two Alien Nation tv ties: The Change *(1994), which novelizes an unproduced script, and Slag Like Me*(1994), which novelizes material from a cancelled season.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.


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