SHIRLEY, John (Patrick)
(1954-)
   US writer who began publishing sf with "The Word 'Random,' Deliberately Repeated" for Clarion (anth 1973) ed Robin Scott WILSON, and who has performed as lead singer in rock bands, including the punk band Sado Nation. This background heavily influenced his first novel, theDYSTOPIAN Transmaniacon (1979), in which the typical JS protagonist appears: punk, anarchic, exorbitant, his mind evacuated of normal constraints, death-loving. Similar characters appear in Three-Ring Psychus (1980), which describes mass levitation (PSI POWERS) with anarchistrapture, and City Come A-Walkin' (1980), set in a surrealistically harsh inner city. After writing some horror novels - to which genre his inclinations have constantly urged him, for JS is not at heart an sf writer - and most titles in the Traveler sequence as by D.B. DRUMM (Ed NAHA), he created his finest sf work in the CYBERPUNK-coloured Song CalledYouth trilogy - Eclipse (1985), Eclipse Penumbra (1988) and Eclipse Corona (1990) - set after a realistically conceived WWIII and describing a technologically deft resistance movement which fights a neofascist regime to a standstill, ultimately defeating it. In another late novel, A Splendid Chaos (1988), JS returns to a more surreal background, this timea hazardous planet where a small group of humans must compete for survival against unpredictable ALIENS. But the main challenge to "normal" humans comes from some of their own species, who have been remoulded in the image of their darkest fantasies - a horror device typical of the author, whose best effects have always come from sparking the gap between normality and horrific madness.Though his short work sometimes suffers burnout from excessive intensity, the stories assembled in Heatseeker (coll 1988) effectively demonstrate JS's solitudinous strengths, the flare of his anger.
   JC/CW
   Other works: Dracula in Love (1979); The Brigade (1982); Cellars (1982); Kamus of Kadizhar: The Black Hole of Carcosa: A Tale of the Darkworld Detective * (1988), tied to J. Michael REAVES's Darkworld Detective (coll of linked stories 1982); In Darkness Waiting (1988);Wetbones (1992); New Noir (coll 1993).
   See also: CITIES; MUSIC; POLITICS.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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