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Lucius Shepard

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Name  Lucius Shepard

Role  Writer
Lucius Shepard wwwlocusmagcom2001Issue11shepardjpg
Born  August 21, 1943 (1943-08-21) Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
Died  March 18, 2014, Portland, Oregon, United States
Awards  John W. Campbell Award for the Best New Writer
Short stories  The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule
Nominations  Arthur C. Clarke Award
Books  The Jaguar Hunter, Life During Wartime, The Golden, The Dragon Griaule, The Ends of the Earth
Similar People  Neal Barrett - Jr, Richard Laymon, Andrew Vachss

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Lucius Shepard (August 21, 1943 – March 18, 2014) was an American writer. Classified as a science fiction and fantasy writer, he often leaned into other genres, such as magical realism. His work is infused with a political and historical sensibility and an awareness of literary antecedents.


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A native of Lynchburg, Virginia where he was born in 1943, Shepard's first short stories appeared in 1983, and his first novel, Green Eyes, appeared in 1984. At the time, he was considered part of the cyberpunk movement. Shepard came to writing late, having first enjoyed a varied career, including a stint playing rock and roll in the Midwest and extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia. Algis Budrys, reviewing Green Eyes, praised Shepard's "ease of narrative style that comes only from a profound love and respect for the language and the literatures that have graced it."

Lucius Shepard has won several awards for his science fiction: in 1985 he won John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, followed in 1986 with a best novella Nebula Award for his story "R&R", which later became part of his 1987 novel Life During Wartime. This novel won the Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis in 1990. His novella "Barnacle Bill the Spacer" won a Hugo in 1993. His poem "White Trains" won the Rhysling Award in 1988. Two early collections of short stories won the World Fantasy Award for best collection: The Jaguar Hunter in 1988 and The Ends of the Earth Collection in 1992. His novella "Vacancy" won a Shirley Jackson Award in 2008.

Lucius Shepard resided in Portland, Oregon.

Themes and evolution

Shepard embraced many different themes throughout his career. In his early work, he wrote extensively about Central America. This included clearly science-fictional stories about near future high-tech jungle war (such as "R&R" and "Salvador"), as well as stories that seemed more in line with magic realism. Many of these, such as "Black Coral" (which concerns an American living on an island off of Honduras) and "The Jaguar Hunter" (the story of a man whose wife's debt forces him to hunt a mythical black jaguar which his people consider sacred), explore cultural clashes. Shepard traveled extensively in Central America and lived there for a time.

Shepard stopped writing fiction for much of the 1990s. He returned near the end of that decade, producing such works as the novella Radiant Green Star, which won a Locus Award for Best Novella in 2001. Though he still wrote Central American fiction, Shepard's interest seemed to be moving north: he published two short novels, "A Handbook of American Prayer" and "Viator", both set in North America. On that same note, he published many works where culture and geography were secondary (his novella "Jailwise" is a prime example), preferring to focus on wider questions such as the role of justice in society.

Much of Shepard's later work was non-fiction. He researched the Freight Train Riders of America and spent time riding the rails, writing both fiction and non-fiction based on those experiences. He was also a regular movie reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and His reviews are marked by general contempt for the current state of American film.

According to fellow author James Patrick Kelly, Shepard was an avid sports fan who has often used dramatic sports moments as inspiration to write.

In the summer of 2008, he moved to Neuchatel, Switzerland in order to work on several screenplays. He served on the jury of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) with the American director Joe Dante.

He died in March 2014 at the age of 70.

Work available online

  • Abimagique at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • AZTECHS at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • Emerald Street Expansions at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • The Emperor at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • The Jaguar Hunter
  • Jailwise at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • Liar's House at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • The Night of White Bhairab
  • Over Yonder at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • Senor Volto at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • A Walk in the Garden at the Wayback Machine (archived February 10, 2008)
  • References

    Lucius Shepard Wikipedia

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