Alec Nevala-Lee

Alec Nevala-Lee is an American novelist, biographer, and science fiction writer. He is the author of the group biography Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, which was named one of the best books of 2018 by The Economist,[1] and which the science fiction writer Barry N. Malzberg called "the most important historical and critical work my field has ever seen."[2] He is currently at work on a biography of the architect, designer, and futurist Buckminster Fuller.[3]

Alec Nevala-Lee
2018 Alec Nevala-Lee
Born1980
Castro Valley, California
OccupationWriter
NationalityAmerican
GenreScience fiction, Biography, Thriller
Website
www.nevalalee.com

Biography

Nevala-Lee was born in Castro Valley, California in 1980[4] and graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in Classics.[5] He currently lives in Oak Park, Illinois.[6] His novels include The Icon Thief, City of Exiles, and Eternal Empire, all published by Penguin Books,[7] and his short fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Lightspeed Magazine,[8] and two editions of The Year’s Best Science Fiction.[9] He has written for such publications as the New York Times,[10][11] the Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Daily Beast, Longreads, The Rumpus, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.[12] His nonfiction book Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction was released by Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, on October 23, 2018.[13] In the course of researching this project, Nevala-Lee discovered a previously unknown draft—containing a significant amount of new material—of John W. Campbell's novella "Who Goes There?", which was later adapted into the movie The Thing. The uncut version, titled Frozen Hell, will be published in 2019 by Wildside Press.[14] Nevala-Lee also uncovered an unpublished manuscript, "A Criticism of Dianetics," co-authored by L. Ron Hubbard in 1949, which the noted Scientology critic Tony Ortega has described as "a stunning document."[15]

Work

Nevala-Lee’s debut novel, The Icon Thief, is a conspiracy thriller inspired by the work of artist Marcel Duchamp.[16] A sequel, City of Exiles, is partially based on the Dyatlov Pass incident,[17], while the concluding novel in the trilogy, Eternal Empire, incorporates elements from the myth of Shambhala.[18] On the science fiction side, Locus critic Rich Horton has called Nevala-Lee “one of [Analog editor Stanley Schmidt’s] best recent discoveries...One of Nevala-Lee’s idea engines is to present a situation which suggests a fantastical or science-fictional premise, and then to turn the idea on its head, not so much by debunking the central premise, or explaining it away in mundane terms, but by giving it a different, perhaps more scientifically rigorous, science-fictional explanation.”[19] Analog has referred to him as "a master of…tale[s] set in an atypical location, with science fiction that arrives from an unexpected direction,”[20] while Locus reviews editor Jonathan Strahan has said that Nevala-Lee's fiction "has been some of the best stuff in Analog in the last ten years."[21] The Wall Street Journal has called Nevala-Lee "a talented science fiction writer,"[22] and Jim Killen of Tor has written that he has earned "a reputation as one of the smartest young SFF writers out there."[23]

The Economist named Nevala-Lee's book Astounding—a group biography of the editor John W. Campbell and the science fiction writers Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Ron Hubbard[24]—one of the best books of 2018, calling it "an indispensable book for anyone trying to understand the birth and meaning of modern science fiction in America from the 1930s to the 1950s—a genre that reshaped how people think about the future, for good and ill."[25] The author George R.R. Martin praised it as "an amazing and engrossing history...Insightful, entertaining, and compulsively readable."[26] In a starred review, Publishers Weekly described it as "a major work of popular culture scholarship,"[27] while Kirkus Reviews referred to it as "first-rate...a welcome contribution to the study of popular literature."[28] Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the scholar Michael Saler called it an "engrossing, well-researched history,"[29] while James Sallis of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction described it as a "wonderfully researched, expansive biography."[30] Gary K. Wolfe wrote in Locus: "As literary and cultural history, Astounding may well stand as the definitive account of this important era in the growth of modern SF."[31] The editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden praised it as "one of the greatest works of science fiction history ever,"[32] while Michael Dirda of the Washington Post called it "enthralling" and concluded: "In the end, Nevala-Lee’s Astounding isn’t just Arrakisian spice for science-fiction fans—it’s also a clarion call to enlarge American literary history."[33]

Bibliography

Nonfiction

  • Nevala-Lee, Alec (2018). Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. New York: Dey Street Books / HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062571946.

Novels

  • Nevala-Lee, Alec (2012). The Icon Thief. New York: Signet / New American Library.
  • Nevala-Lee, Alec (2012). City of Exiles. New York: Signet / New American Library.
  • Nevala-Lee, Alec (2013). Eternal Empire. New York: Signet / New American Library.

Short fiction

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
Inversus 2004 "Inversus". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 124 (1, 2): 200–227. January 2004.
The Last Resort 2009 "The Last Resort". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 129 (9): 54–71. September 2009. Finalist for the Analytical Laboratory Award
Kawataro 2011 "Kawataro". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 131 (6): 90–103. June 2011.
The Boneless One 2011 "The Boneless One". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 131 (11): 86–103. November 2011. The Year’s Best Science Fiction, 29th Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois. Locus Recommended Reading List[34]
Ernesto 2012 "Ernesto". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 132 (3): 42–49. March 2012. "Ernesto". Lightspeed Magazine (76). September 2016.
The Voices 2012 "The Voices". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 132 (9): 56–67. September 2012.
The Whale God 2013 "The Whale God". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 133 (9): 8–22. September 2013. Cover story; Locus Recommended Reading List[35]
Cryptids 2014 "Cryptids". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 134 (5): 8–21. May 2014. Cover story; finalist for the Analytical Laboratory Award
Stonebrood 2015 "Stonebrood". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 135 (10): 8–25. October 2015. Lead story
The Proving Ground 2017 "The Proving Ground". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 137 (1, 2): 8–30. January 2017. "The Proving Ground". Lightspeed Magazine (94). March 2018. The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois. Cover story; Locus Recommended Reading List;[36] finalist for the Analytical Laboratory Award
The Spires 2018 "The Spires". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 138 (3, 4): 8–24. March 2018. Lead story; Locus Recommended Reading List[37]

Selected articles

  • "Marcel Duchamp’s Turning Point." Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2012.
  • "Karl Rove’s Labyrinth." The Daily Beast, November 20, 2012.
  • "Lessons from The X-Files." Salon, September 17, 2013.
  • "Xenu’s Paradox: The Fiction of L. Ron Hubbard and the Making of Scientology." Longreads, February 1, 2017.
  • "The Campbell Machine." Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July/August 2018.
  • "Dawn of Dianetics: L. Ron Hubbard, John W. Campbell, and the Origins of Scientology." Longreads, October 23, 2018.
  • "What Isaac Asimov Taught Us About Predicting the Future." New York Times, October 31, 2018. Appeared in the print edition on November 3, 2018, under the headline "Back to the Future."
  • "How Astounding Saw the Future." New York Times, January 10, 2019. Appeared in the print edition on January 13, 2019, under the headline "Simply Astounding."

Other media

  • “Retention.” Episode of the audio science fiction series The Outer Reach. Released on December 21, 2016. Featuring the voices of Aparna Nancherla and Echo Kellum.

References

  1. ^ "The Economist's books of the year". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  2. ^ "Astounding - Alec Nevala-Lee - Hardcover". HarperCollins Publishers: World-Leading Book Publisher. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  3. ^ "Publishers Marketplace". www.publishersmarketplace.com. Retrieved 2018-11-26."Alec Nevala-Lee's BUCKMINSTER FULLER, a biography of architectural designer and creator of the geodesic dome, futurist Buckminster Fuller, thought to be the precursor to some of today's most iconic innovators and thinkers—including Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, again to Carrie Thornton at Dey Street Books."
  4. ^ "Authors : Nevala-Lee, Alec : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia". www.sf-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  5. ^ Levin, Trevor J. (April 26, 2016). "The Springboard: Alumni in the Arts Recall Studies at Harvard". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  6. ^ Borrelli, Christopher. "What happened to all the women in science fiction?". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  7. ^ "Alec Nevala-Lee | Penguin Random House". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  8. ^ "Summary Bibliography: Alec Nevala-Lee". www.isfdb.org. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  9. ^ "sfadb : Alec Nevala-Lee Titles". www.sfadb.com. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  10. ^ "What Isaac Asimov Taught Us About Predicting the Future". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  11. ^ Nevala-Lee, Alec (2019-01-10). "How Astounding Saw the Future". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  12. ^ "Alec Nevala-Lee". HarperCollins Publishers: World-Leading Book Publisher. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  13. ^ "Astounding—Alec Nevala-Lee". HarperCollins.
  14. ^ "A new Kickstarter project will publish an undiscovered novel that inspired The Thing". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  15. ^ "In 1949, psychiatrists wouldn't touch Dianetics — so L. Ron Hubbard invented one who would « The Underground Bunker". tonyortega.org. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  16. ^ Lausch, Monica. (2016). "The Library as a Laboratory in the Search for New Perspectives: The Artist-Librarian Marcel Duchamp." Art and Book: Illustration and Innovation. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 33. "Duchamp's artworks have become intertextual signifiers....As icons they have extended themselves in book culture in recent fiction novels, including a thriller entitled The Icon Thief by Alec Nevala-Lee and the futuristic 2666 by Robert Bolaño."
  17. ^ "City of Exiles". Publishers Weekly.
  18. ^ Steinbock, Steve (March 2014). "The Jury Box". Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
  19. ^ Horton, Rich. (August 2013). "Locus Looks at Short Fiction." Locus Magazine.
  20. ^ Quachri, Trevor (August 2013). "In Times to Come." Analog Science Fiction and Fact,
  21. ^ Strahan, Jonathan. "Episode 330: Books, reading and wolves..." The Coode Street Podcast. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  22. ^ Saler, Michael (2018-10-19). "It Came From the Future". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  23. ^ "Meet Hackers, Gunslingers, and Witches in Barnes & Noble Booksellers Picks for October". Tor.com. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  24. ^ "Authors : Nevala-Lee, Alec : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia". www.sf-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  25. ^ "The Economist's books of the year". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  26. ^ "Hugo Eligibility – Fire & Blood | Not a Blog". Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  27. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee. Dey Street, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-257194-6". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  28. ^ "Astounding". Kirkus Reviews. May 15, 2018.
  29. ^ Saler, Michael (2018-10-19). "It Came From the Future". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  30. ^ Sallis, James (November 2018). "Books: Review of Astounding". The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction: 66–67.
  31. ^ Wolfe, Gary K. (November 2018). "Locus Looks at Books". Locus: 16–17.
  32. ^ "P Nielsen Hayden on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  33. ^ "Review | Let us praise the giants of science fiction: Campbell, Asimov and, yes, L. Ron Hubbard". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  34. ^ "2011 Recommended Reading List". Locus Online. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  35. ^ "2013 Locus Recommended Reading List". Locus Online. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  36. ^ "2017 Locus Recommended Reading List". Locus Online. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  37. ^ "2018 Locus Recommended Reading List". Locus Online. Retrieved 2019-02-03.

External links

Castro Valley, California

Castro Valley is a census-designated place (CDP) in Alameda County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, it is the fifth most populous unincorporated area in California and the twenty-third most populous in the United States. The population was 61,388 at the 2010 census.

Castro Valley is named after Don Guillermo Castro, who was a soldier in the Mexican army and a rancher.

First known for chicken ranches, Castro Valley eventually became a bedroom community.

Dyatlov Pass incident

The Dyatlov Pass incident (Russian: Гибель тургруппы Дятлова) is the death of nine ski hikers in the northern Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union between 1 and 2 February 1959 under unclear circumstances. The experienced trekking group, who were all from the Ural Polytechnical Institute, had established a camp on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl in an area now named in honor of the group's leader, Igor Dyatlov. During the night, something caused them to tear their way out of their tents and flee the campsite while inadequately dressed for heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.

After the group's bodies were discovered, an investigation by Soviet Union authorities determined that six had died from hypothermia while the other three showed signs of physical trauma. One victim had a fractured skull; two others had major chest fractures. Additionally, the body of another team member was missing its tongue and eyes. The investigation concluded that an "unknown compelling force" had caused the deaths. Numerous theories have been put forward to account for the unexplained deaths, including animal attacks, hypothermia, avalanche, infrasound-induced panic, military involvement, or some combination of these.

F. Orlin Tremaine

Frederick Orlin Tremaine (January 7, 1899 – October 22, 1956) was an American science fiction magazine editor, most notably of the influential Astounding Stories. He edited a number of other magazines, headed several publishing companies, and sporadically wrote fiction.

John W. Campbell

John Wood Campbell Jr. (June 8, 1910 – July 11, 1971) was an American science fiction writer and editor. He was editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact) from late 1937 until his death and was part of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Campbell wrote super-science space opera under his own name and stories under his primary pseudonym, Don A. Stuart. Campbell also used the pen names Karl Van Kampen and Arthur McCann. His novella Who Goes There? was adapted as the films The Thing from Another World (1951), The Thing (1982), and The Thing (2011).

Campbell began writing science fiction at age 18 while attending MIT. He published six short stories, one novel, and six letters in the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories from 1930 to 1931. This work established Campbell's reputation as a writer of space adventure. When in 1934 he began to write stories with a different tone, he wrote as Don A. Stuart. From 1930 until the later part of that decade, Campbell was prolific and successful under both names, though he stopped writing fiction shortly after he became editor of Astounding in 1937.

It is as editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact) from late 1937 until his death for which Campbell is primarily remembered today. As well, in 1939, Campbell started the fantasy magazine Unknown, although it was canceled after only four years. Referring to his time spent as an editor, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction wrote: "More than any other individual, he helped to shape modern sf." Isaac Asimov called Campbell "the most powerful force in science fiction ever" and said the "first ten years of his editorship he dominated the field completely." In his capacity as an editor, Campbell published some of the very earliest work, and helped shape the careers, of virtually every important sf author to debut between 1938 and 1946, including Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke.

An increasingly strong interest in pseudoscience later alienated Campbell from many of the writers whose careers he had nurtured; Heinlein, Sturgeon, Asimov, and Clarke rarely worked with him after about 1950. As well, beginning in the 1960s, Campbell's controversial essays supporting segregation, and other remarks and writings surrounding slavery and race, served to distance him from many in the science fiction community. Nevertheless, Campbell remained an important figure in science fiction publishing up until his death. Campbell and Astounding shared one of the inaugural Hugo Awards with H. L. Gold and Galaxy at the 1953 World Science Fiction Convention. Subsequently, Campbell and Astounding (later renamed Analog) won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Magazine seven times.

Shortly after his death in 1971, the University of Kansas science fiction program established the annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and also renamed after him its annual Campbell Conference. The World Science Fiction Society established the annual John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted Campbell in 1996, in its inaugural class of two deceased and two living persons.

Nevala

Nevala is a Finnish surname.

Richard A. Lovett

Richard A. Lovett (born October 28, 1953) is an American science fiction author and science writer from Portland, Oregon. He has written numerous short stories and factual articles that have appeared in multiple literary and scientific magazines and websites, including Analog Science Fiction and Fact, National Geographic News, Nature, New Scientist, Science, Scientific American, Cosmos, and Psychology Today.Lovett is one of the most prolific and decorated writers in Analog's 80-plus-year history. His first formal appearance in the magazine other than a 1993 letter to the editor was "Tricorders, Yactograms and the Future of Analytical Chemistry: When 'Nano-' Isn't Small Enough" (April 1999), a science article. His first fiction appearance was the novelette "Equalization" (March 2003).

Lovett first won the magazine's reader's choice award, the Analytical Laboratory (AnLab), in 2002 for a 2001 fact article, "Up in Smoke: How Mt. St. Helens Blasted Conventional Scientific Wisdom" (April 2001). Since then he has won the award a record eleven times, three times for novelettes, three times for novellas, and five times for science articles. Including the 2015 awards, he has also placed in the top five 33 additional times, more than any other Analog contributor. As of the July/Aug 2015 issue, his work had appeared in the magazine 134 times, placing him second place on the magazine's all-time contributor list. In addition to writing fiction and science articles for the magazine, he has also written profiles (called Biologs) since 2006, and a series of how-to articles about writing short stories. These special features comprise about a quarter of his total contributions to the magazine.

His science fiction stories have also appeared in Nature, Cosmos, Abyss and Apex, Esli (Russian translation), Running Times, and Marathon & Beyond.

Self-cannibalism

Self-cannibalism is the practice of eating oneself, also called autocannibalism, or autosarcophagy. A similar term which is applied differently is autophagy, which specifically denotes the normal process of self-degradation by cells. While almost an exclusive term for this process, autophagy nonetheless has occasionally made its way into more common usage.

Who Goes There?

Who Goes There? is a science fiction novella by John W. Campbell, Jr., written under the pen name Don A. Stuart. It was first published in the August 1938 Astounding Science Fiction.

The novella has been adapted three times as a film: the first in 1951 as The Thing from Another World; the second in 1982 as The Thing, directed by John Carpenter; and most recently as a prequel to the Carpenter version, also titled The Thing, released in 2011.

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