On This Day: John Brunner Died

On this day, twenty years ago, John Brunner passed away during the 1995 Glasgow Worldcon.  Brunner was a remarkable writer, whose career seems to divide neatly into two very different streams. To quote The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:

In the end, his name depends on two strands of his output: on his significant contributions to the space-opera redoubt, which he came to look down upon; and the immensely formidable tract-novels about the state of the world published between 1968 and 1975.

But it was not just the content but the style of the books written in this second portion of his career that made his name, someof them written with a Dos Passos-like flair . . .

HIPCRIME: You committed one when you opened this book. Keep it up. It’s our only hope.
~ The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad Mulligan

COINCIDENCE: You weren’t paying attention to the other half of what was happening.
~ The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad Mulligan

If you recognise the above quotes, then chances are you’re one of the enlightened souls who’ve read Stand on Zanzibar, his brilliantly fractured 1968 novel, which won the Hugo Award and the BSFA Award. The creation of Stand on Zanzibar alone would be enough to ensure Brunner entry into the pantheon of SF greats, but he produced many other fine and worthy works (which, coincidentally, you can find via his author page on the SF Gateway) such as The Shockwave Rider, in which he predicted the computer virus.

Having read and enjoyed Stand on Zanzibar – albeit many moons ago – we can’t help but winder what John Brunner would make of this world we’ve inherited. . . ?

PATRIOTISM: A great British writer once said that if he had to choose between betraying his country and betraying a friend he hoped he would have the decency to betray his country.
(Amen, brothers and sisters! Amen!)
~ The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad Mulligan