Neal Barrett, Jr.
(November 3, 1929 – January 12, 2014)
Neal Barrett, Jr., was a Texas sf and fantasy author Barrett began publishing SF with "To Tell the Truth" in Galaxy (August, 1960). He used several pseudonyms, including Victor Appleton ("Tom Swift" YA science fiction novels), Chad Calhoun, Franklin W. Dixon ("Hardy Boys" YA mysteries), Terrence Duncan, Rebecca Drury, Wesley Ellis, and J. D. Hardin.
His notable short fiction includes "Perpetuity Blues" (1987), Hugo and Nebula Award finalist "Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus" (1989), Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist "Stairs" (1989), "Cush" (1993), and "Radio Station St. Jack" (2008). His short work has been collected in Slightly Off Center: Eleven Extraordinarily Exhilarating Tales (1992), World Fantasy Award finalist Perpetuity Blues and Other Stories (2000), A Different Vintage (2001), Way Out There (2004), and Other Seasons: The Best of Neal Barrett, Jr. (2013). His literary fantasy, Interstate Dreams (1999), won the Texas Institute of Letters Award, the year he was inducted into that organization.
His first genre novel, Kelwin, appeared in 1970, followed by The Gates of Time (1970), The Leaves of Time (1971), Highwood (1972), Stress Pattern (1974), The Karma Corps (1984), The Hereafter Gang (1991), Interstate Dreams (1999), PIGGS (2001), and Prince of Christler-Coke (2004). Series work included the popular but strange "Aldair" series (four novels about the adventures on a future Earth of a genetically engineered, humanoid pig, 1976 - 1982), the "Through Darkest America" duology about a ruined future United States, and the "Finn, the Lizard Master" books. Barrett also wrote mysteries (including the "Wiley Moss" novels), comic and media tie-ins, and non-fiction.
In the early 1980s, Barrett was part of a group of SF writers living in Austin, Texas, that included Chad Oliver, Howard Waldrop, Bruce Sterling, Leigh Kennedy, Steven Utley, Lewis Shiner, and Lisa Tuttle. In a 1985 interview, Oliver called them "gifts from the gods." Michael Moorcock, a onetime member of the Austin group, described Barrett's work: "His stories were extraordinary, marked by his wry, sardonic eye, his ear for dialogue, his quirky slant on life."
Barrett was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He died at age 84.
- Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
- An appreciation by Jon D. Swartz in the March, 2014, issue of Paperback Parade.
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1983 -- Toastmaster at ArmadilloCon 5
- 1992 -- ArmadilloCon 14
- 1997 -- LoneStarCon 2
- 2000 -- Texas Institute of Letters Award
- 2010 -- SFWA Author Emeritus
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