McKENNA, Richard M(ilton)
   US writer who spent most of his adult life, not very happily, in the US Navy, which he joined in 1931. After returning to civilian life in 1953, he took a BA in literature at the University of North Carolina. His first published story was "Casey Agonistes" for FSF in 1958, althoughthe first he wrote was "The Fishdollar Affair" (1958), which appeared in If. His efforts to revise the former story according to the editor'sdemands are described in his essay "Journey with a Little Man", which was reprinted in Damon KNIGHT's anthology of sf criticism, Turning Points (anth 1977). RMM was to publish only 5 more sf stories during hislifetime; another 6 appeared posthumously. 5 of the strongest were assembled in Casey Agonistes and other Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories (coll 1973). The central theme of these stories is the power of mind overenvironment - either to adapt the existing one or, ultimately, to create something new. "The Secret Place" (1966), which won a posthumous NEBULA, is about PARALLEL WORLDS which can be reached through the power of the mind, while "Fiddler's Green" (1967), perhaps RMM's most ambitious story, tells of a group of men adrift in a small boat, without food and water, who mentally create an ALTERNATE WORLD into which they may escape. RMM's major work was a successful non-sf novel drawing on his naval experiences, The Sand Pebbles (1962), filmed in 1966. He died soon after writing thebook; even had he lived it is unlikely that he would have written more sf. Nonetheless, his existing body of sf was sufficient to secure him a small,sure position in the sf pantheon.
   About the author: "Casey Agonistes" by Peter NICHOLLS in Survey of Science Fiction Literature, Volume One (1979) ed Frank N. Magill.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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