Robert Sheckley

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Robert Sheckley (July 16, 1928 – December 9, 2005) was a Hugo and Nebula nominated American author. First published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s, his numerous quick-witted stories and novels were famously unpredictable, absurdist  and broadly comical.

Sheckley was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2001.


Robert Sheckley was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York. In 1931 the family moved to Maplewood, New Jersey. Sheckley attended Columbia High School, where he discovered science fiction. He graduated in 1946[1] and hitchhiked to California the same year, where he tried numerous jobs: landscape gardener, pretzel salesman, barman, milkman, warehouseman, and general labourer in a hand-painted necktie studio. Finally, still in 1946, he joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Korea. During his time in the army he served as a guard, an army newspaper editor, a payroll clerk and guitarist in an army band. He left the service in 1948.

Sheckley then attended New York University, where he received an undergraduate degree in 1951. The same year he married for the first time, to Barbara Scadron. The couple had one son, Jason. Sheckley worked in an aircraft factory and as an assistant metallurgist for a short time, but his breakthrough came quickly: in late 1951 he sold his first story, Final Examination, to Imagination magazine. He quickly gained prominence as a writer, publishing stories in Imagination, Galaxy, and other science fiction magazines. The 1950s saw the publication of Sheckley's first four books: short story collections Untouched by Human Hands (Ballantine, 1954), Citizen in Space (1955), and Pilgrimage to Earth (Bantam, 1957), and a novel, Immortality, Inc. (first published as a serial in Galaxy, 1958).

Sheckley and Scadron divorced in 1956. The writer then married journalist Ziva Kwitney in 1957. The newly married couple lived in Greenwich Village. Their daughter, Alisa Kwitney, born in 1964, would herself become a successful writer. Applauded by critic Kingsley Amis, Sheckley was now selling many of his deft, satiric stories to mainstream magazines such as Playboy. In addition to his science fiction stories, in 1960s Sheckley started writing suspense fiction. More short story collections and novels appeared in the 1960s, and a film adaptation of an early story by Sheckley, The 10th Victim, was released in 1965.

Sheckley spent the bigger part of 1970s living on Ibiza. He divorced Kwitney in 1972 and the same year married Abby Schulman, whom he had met in Ibiza. The couple had two children, Anya and Jed. In 1980, the writer returned to the United States and became fiction editor of the newly established OMNI magazine. Sheckley left OMNI in 1981 with his fourth wife, Jay Rothbell, and they subsequently travelled widely in Europe, finally ending up in Portland, Oregon, where they separated. He married Gail Dana of Portland in 1990, but was separated from her at the time of his death. Sheckley continued publishing further science fiction and espionage/mystery stories, and collaborated with other writers such as Roger Zelazny and Harry Harrison.

During a 2005 visit to Ukraine for the Ukrainian Sci-Fi Computer Week, an international event for science fiction writers, Sheckley fell ill and had to be hospitalized in Kiev on April 27. His condition was very serious for one week, but he appeared to be slowly recovering. Sheckley's official website ran a fundraising campaign to help cover Sheckley's treatment and his return to the United States. Sheckley settled in northern Dutchess County, New York, to be near his daughters Anya and Alisa. On November 20 he had surgery for a brain aneurysm. Sheckley died in a Poughkeepsie hospital on December 9, 2005.


Sheckley was a prolific and versatile writer. His works include not only original short stories and novels, but also TV series episodes (Captain Video and His Video Rangers), novelizations of works by others (Babylon 5: A Call to Arms, after the film), shared universe stories, and collaborations with other writers. He was best known for his numerous (several hundreds) short stories,[2] which he published in book form as well as individually. Typical Sheckley stories include "Bad Medicine" (in which a man is mistakenly treated by a psychotherapy machine intended for Martians), "Protection" (whose protagonist is warned of deadly danger unless he avoids an act that is never explained to him), and "The Accountant" (in which a family of wizards learns that their son has been taken from them by a more sinister trade). In many stories Sheckley speculates about alternative (and usually sinister) social orders, of which a good example is the story "A Ticket to Tranai" (that tells of a sort of Utopia adapted for the human nature as it is, rather than the human nature as some idealists believe it should be).

One of the most famous of Sheckley's stories was the AAA Ace Series involving a series of stories involving two partners in the far future encountering various unusual problems.

In the 1990s, Sheckley wrote a series of three mystery novels featuring detective Hob Draconian, as well as novels set in the worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Alien. Before his death, Sheckley had been commissioned to write an original novel based upon the TV series The Prisoner for Powys Media but died before completing the manuscript.

His novel Dimension of Miracles is often cited as an influence on Douglas Adams, although in an interview for Neil Gaiman's book Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion, Adams claimed not to have read it until after writing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy[7].


Science fiction and fantasy


    * Immortality, Inc. (1958)
    * The Status Civilization, also known as Omega (1960)
    * Journey Beyond Tomorrow, also known as Journey of Joenes(1963)
    * The 10th Victim (1966)
    * Mindswap (1966)
    * Dimension of Miracles (1968)
    * Options (1975)
    * The Alchemical Marriage of Alistair Crompton, also known as Crompton Divided (1978)
    * Dramocles (1983)
    * Pop Death (1986)
    * Victim Prime (1987)
    * Hunter / Victim (1988)
    * On The Planet of Bottled Brains (with Harry Harrison, 1990)
    * Minotaur Maze (short novel, 1990)
    * Watchbird (short, 1990)
    * Xolotl (short, 1991)
    * Alien Starswarm (short, 1991)
    * Millennial Contest series (with Roger Zelazny):
          o Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming (1991)
          o If at Faust You Don't Succeed (1993)
          o A Farce to Be Reckoned With (1995)
    * Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Laertian Gamble (1995)
    * Aliens: Alien Harvest (1995)
    * Godshome (1997)
    * Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (1999)
    * The Grand-Guignol of the Surrealists (2000; not published in English)
    * Dimension of Miracles Revisited (2000; self-published[14])

Short story collections

    See also: List of short stories by Robert Sheckley

    * Untouched by Human Hands (1954)
    * Citizen in Space (1955)
    * Pilgrimage to Earth (1957)
    * Notions: Unlimited (1960)
    * Store of Infinity (1960)
    * Shards of Space (1962)
    * The People Trap (1968)
    * Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? (also known as The Same to You Doubled) (1972)
    * The Robot Who Looked Like Me (1978)
    * Uncanny Tales (2003)

Short story compilations

    * The Wonderful World of Robert Sheckley (1979)
    * The Sheckley Omnibus (1979)
    * Is THAT What People Do? (1984; 23 previously published stories and 16 new)
    * The Collected Short Stories of Robert Sheckley (1991; 5 volumes, vol. 5 includes new material)
    * The Masque of Mañana (2005)

Mystery and espionage

    * The Game of X (1965) was loosely adapted as the 1981 Disney film, Condorman: Sheckley also wrote the novelization of this film.
    * Stephen Dain series:
          o Calibre .50 (1961)
          o Dead Run (1961)
          o Live Gold (1962)
          o White Death (1963)
          o Time Limit (1967)
    * Hob Draconian series:
          o The Alternative Detective (1993)
          o Draconian New York (1996)
          o Soma Blues (1997)

Other works

    * The Man in the Water (1962)

Books as editor

    * After the Fall (1980)
    * Thrillers (1994)

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