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Lucius Shepard (1943–2014)

Author of Life During Wartime

145+ Works 3,686 Members 81 Reviews 24 Favorited

About the Author

Lucius Shepard was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1947. He wrote in many different genres including science fiction and fantasy, cyberpunk, magical realism, poetry, and non-fiction. He published his first short stories in 1983 and his first novel, Green Eyes, in 1984. His other works include Life show more During Wartime, The Jaguar Hunter, and Two Trains Running. He won several awards including the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1985, the Nebula Award for the novella R&R, the Hugo Award for the novella Barnacle Bill the Spacer, and the Shirley Jackson Award for the novella Vacancy. He died on March 18, 2014 at the age of 66. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Lucius Shepard
Photo: Harmonia Amanda

Series

Works by Lucius Shepard

Life During Wartime (1987) 550 copies
The Golden (1993) 340 copies
Green Eyes (1984) 319 copies
The Jaguar Hunter (1987) 311 copies
The Dragon Griaule (2012) 180 copies
Barnacle Bill the Spacer and Other Stories (1997) — Author — 172 copies
The Ends of the Earth (1990) 150 copies
Kalimantan (1990) 146 copies
Louisiana Breakdown (2003) 74 copies
Viator (2004) 73 copies
Softspoken (2007) 73 copies
Eternity and Other Stories (2005) 59 copies
Two Trains Running (2004) 57 copies
Aztechs (2002) 49 copies
Trujillo (2004) 47 copies
Valentine (2002) 46 copies
Floater (2003) — Author — 39 copies
The Taborin Scale (2010) 39 copies
Beautiful Blood (2013) 39 copies
Vacancy & Ariel (2009) 30 copies
Colonel Rutherford's Colt (2003) 28 copies
Liar's House (2004) 20 copies
Viator Plus (2009) 19 copies
Salvador 18 copies
The Father of Stones (1989) 17 copies
Solitaire station: romanzo (2006) 12 copies
Nantucket Slayrides (1989) 12 copies
R & R [novella] 10 copies
Crocodile Rock (2012) 9 copies
Rose Street Attractors (2011) 9 copies
Thanatopolis (1993) 7 copies
Sous des cieux étrangers (2010) 7 copies
Abimagique (2007) 6 copies
Fire Zone Emerald (1988) 6 copies
Black Coral 6 copies
Piękna krew (2018) 6 copies
Only Partly Here (2009) 6 copies
Surrender [short fiction] (1989) 6 copies
Dead Money 5 copies
Dorada (2007) 5 copies
Sylgarmo's Proclamation (2009) 5 copies
Halloween Town 5 copies
Weapons of Mass Seduction (2005) 5 copies
El Cazador De Jaguares (1985) 5 copies
Vacancy (2013) 4 copies
The Last Time 4 copies
Hobo Nation (2008) 3 copies
Le stelle senzienti (2009) 3 copies
Piste di guerra (2007) 3 copies
Jailwise 3 copies
Mengele 3 copies
Over Yonder 3 copies
Ariel (2013) 3 copies
Petite musique de nuit (2000) 2 copies
Bound for Glory 2 copies
Nomans Land 2 copies
A Wooden Tiger 2 copies
On the border 2 copies
Jailbait (short story) (2004) 2 copies
Human History 2 copies
Señor Volto 2 copies
Larissa Miusov 2 copies
Jack's Decline 2 copies
Visitor 1 copy
The Skull (2011) 1 copy
Anti-Trek 1 copy
The Emperor 1 copy
After Ildiko 1 copy
Chinandega 1 copy
Multiplexity 1 copy

Associated Works

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories (2011) — Contributor — 811 copies
Naked City (2011) — Contributor — 633 copies
Songs of the Dying Earth (2009) — Contributor — 625 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eighth Annual Collection (1991) — Contributor — 376 copies
Teeth: Vampire Tales (2011) — Contributor — 300 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventh Annual Collection (1990) — Contributor — 280 copies
The 1987 Annual World's Best SF (1987) — Contributor — 238 copies
The 1985 Annual World's Best SF (1985) — Contributor — 236 copies
The 1988 Annual World's Best SF (1988) — Contributor — 235 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Third Annual Collection (1986) — Contributor — 225 copies
The 1986 Annual World's Best SF (1986) — Contributor — 215 copies
Tails of Wonder and Imagination: Cat Stories (2010) — Contributor — 215 copies
Modern Classic Short Novels of Science Fiction (1994) — Contributor — 201 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection (1987) — Contributor — 201 copies
The 1990 Annual World's Best SF (1990) — Contributor — 201 copies
Modern Classics of Science Fiction (1991) — Contributor — 201 copies
The End of the World: Stories of the Apocalypse (2010) — Contributor — 197 copies
The Secret History of Science Fiction (2009) — Contributor — 196 copies
The Fantasy Hall of Fame (1998) — Contributor — 192 copies
The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People (2010) — Contributor — 190 copies
The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories (1994) — Contributor — 188 copies
Future on Fire (1991) — Contributor — 187 copies
Strange Dreams (1993) — Contributor — 186 copies
Other Earths (2009) — Contributor — 181 copies
Wings of Fire (2010) — Contributor — 176 copies
The Dark (2003) — Contributor — 175 copies
Eclipse 1: New Science Fiction and Fantasy (2007) — Contributor — 148 copies
The Mammoth Book of Fantasy (2001) — Contributor — 144 copies
Inferno (2007) — Contributor — 141 copies
The Mammoth Book of Short Horror Novels (1988) — Contributor — 135 copies
Supernatural Noir (2011) — Contributor — 134 copies
Salon Fantastique: Fifteen Original Tales of Fantasy (2006) — Contributor — 130 copies
Little Deaths (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 130 copies
The Playboy Book of Science Fiction (1998) — Contributor — 130 copies
Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror (2010) — Contributor — 129 copies
Killing Me Softly: Erotic Tales of Unearthly Love (1995) — Contributor — 129 copies
Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe (2009) — Contributor — 123 copies
Bestiary! (1985) — Contributor — 122 copies
Science Fiction: The Best of 2003 (2004) — Contributor — 120 copies
The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2010 Edition (2010) — Contributor — 113 copies
The New Hugo Winners, Volume IV (1997) — Contributor — 113 copies
Hauntings (2013) — Contributor — 111 copies
Year's Best Fantasy 4 (2004) — Contributor — 111 copies
The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New SF (2008) — Contributor — 105 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Second Annual Collection (1985) — Contributor — 100 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2010 Edition (2010) — Contributor — 94 copies
Nebula Awards Showcase 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 92 copies
The Solaris Book of New Fantasy (2007) — Contributor — 92 copies
Visions of Wonder (1996) — Contributor — 89 copies
Nebula Awards Showcase 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 82 copies
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #15 (1986) — Contributor — 76 copies
Magicats II! (1991) — Contributor — 76 copies
Demons! (1941) — Contributor — 71 copies
The Best of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (1988) — Contributor — 70 copies
Nebula Awards 23 (1989) — Contributor — 67 copies
In the Field of Fire (1987) — Contributor — 67 copies
Universe 14 (1984) — Contributor — 62 copies
Year's Best Fantasy 7 (2007) — Contributor — 59 copies
Best Short Novels 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 57 copies
Isaac Asimov's Solar System (1999) — Contributor — 57 copies
The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook: No. 2 (1989) — Introduction — 57 copies
Dragons! (1993) — Contributor — 55 copies
Future War (1999) — Contributor — 54 copies
The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons (2013) — Contributor — 52 copies
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #16 (1987) — Contributor — 50 copies
Universe 15 (1985) — Contributor — 49 copies
The Year's Best Fantasy Stories: 14 (1988) — Contributor — 49 copies
Ripper (1988) — Contributor — 49 copies
Time Travelers (1989) — Contributor — 47 copies
The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook: No. 1 (1988) — Contributor — 47 copies
Fantasy: The Best of 2001 (2002) — Contributor — 42 copies
Postscripts Magazine, Issue 10 (2007) — Contributor — 42 copies
The Book of Dreams (2010) — Contributor — 42 copies
The Silver Gryphon (2003) — Author — 41 copies
Crucified Dreams (2011) — Contributor — 39 copies
Rock On: The Greatest Hits of Science Fiction & Fantasy (2012) — Contributor — 39 copies
Universe 13 (1983) — Contributor — 37 copies
Isaac Asimov's Fantasy! (1985) — Contributor — 37 copies
Edited By (2020) — Contributor — 36 copies
Under South American Skies (1993) — Contributor — 35 copies
Polyphony 3 (2003) — Author — 32 copies
Polyphony 1 (2002) — Contributor — 32 copies
The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook: No. 3 (1990) — Contributor — 32 copies
Sense of Wonder: A Century of Science Fiction (2011) — Contributor — 30 copies
Bibliomancy (2003) — Introduction — 29 copies
The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase (2005) — Contributor — 28 copies
Polyphony 2 (2003) — Contributor — 26 copies
Polyphony 4 (2004) — Contributor — 26 copies
Great Tales of Madness and the Macabre (1990) — Contributor — 24 copies
Isaac Asimov's War (1993) — Contributor — 23 copies
Omni Best Science Fiction Two (1992) — Contributor — 22 copies
Polyphony 5 (2005) — Contributor — 20 copies
Cinema Futura (2010) — Contributor — 19 copies
A Mosque Among the Stars (2008) — Contributor — 17 copies
Night Visions 11 (Night Visions) (2004) — Contributor — 15 copies
Omni Visions Two (1994) — Contributor — 14 copies
Asimov's Science Fiction: Vol. 20, No. 4 [April 1996] (1996) — Contributor — 14 copies
Asimov's Science Fiction: Vol. 24, No. 8 [August 2000] (2000) — Contributor — 12 copies
Postscripts Magazine, Issue 22/23: The Company He Keeps (2010) — Contributor — 11 copies
Universe 16 (1986) — Contributor — 11 copies
Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 21 • February 2012 (2012) — Contributor — 10 copies
Heyne Jahresband Science Fiction 1989. (1989) — Contributor — 7 copies
Ikarus 2001. Best of Science Fiction. (2001) — Contributor — 7 copies
The Best of Whispers (1994) — Contributor — 6 copies
Wassermans Roboter (1988) — Contributor — 6 copies
Subterranean Magazine Spring 2009 — Contributor — 5 copies
New Dimensions No. 13 (1982) — Contributor — 4 copies
Bifrost n°40 (2005) — Contributor — 4 copies
Bifrost n°51 (2008) — Contributor — 4 copies
Infinity plus two (2002) — Contributor — 2 copies
Subterranean Magazine Summer 2010 — Contributor — 2 copies
Supernovæ (1993) — Contributor — 2 copies
Nuove avventure nell'ignoto — Contributor — 2 copies
Mondaugen — Contributor — 1 copy
80年代SF傑作選〈上〉 (ハヤカワ文庫SF) (1992) — Contributor — 1 copy
Science Fiction Eye #07, August 1990 — Contributor — 1 copy
Ten Tales (1994) — Contributor — 1 copy
Das Blei der Zeit (1993) — Contributor — 1 copy

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Reviews

Good but dark

The title pretty much says it all. A lot of good tales in here, but he does tend to dark themes
 
Flagged
acb13adm | Sep 13, 2023 |
This book has sat, unread, on my shelf for probably twenty years, on the strength of Shepard's novel Life during Wartime. I finally worked my way around to it, and I'm sad to say that I was not overwhelmed. All the stories dated from the late 1980s or early- to mid-90s, and most show their age.

The (Nebula-winning) title story starts out with something of an Expanse-like vibe but was spoilt for me by the pov character and others purporting to be British but talking in appalling Mockney accents, and Shepard thinking that Manchester is in the Midlands. I also quickly began to stumble over Shepard's stream-of-consciousness 100-word sentences. As an occasional device, this could be excused; but not as a habit, especially when they appear in the internal narrative of a character who otherwise presents as an "ordinary bloke". There were also a lot of elements in this story which seemed to have been lifted wholesale from Peter Hyams' 1981 film Outland.

Two of the stories weren't remotely science fiction; one, Beast of the Heartland, a boxing story, might qualify as borderline fantasy, or fantastic realism. Interestingly, both of these stories first appeared in Playboy. Of the others, one (All the perfumes of Araby) is set in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, and although it refers to an early 21st century that never quite happened, it does reflect the current real-world political concerns of the Middle East in a recognisable way, including war in Syria (although Shepard's knowledge of the practice of Islam is a bit lacking). For me, this story and Human History were the stand-out stories of the collection. Human History relates a story of a marginal settlement in Arizona in the aftermath of a (historical) socio-environmental catastrophe. Shepard leaves the backstory open to speculation, which was probably the right thing to do even if I found it mildly unsatisfactory.

The Sun Spider seems to be about a pop philosopher/physicist who discovers life on the surface of the Sun, but is also about interpersonal relationships and revenge. Set on a space station in a close solar orbit, the story has a creepy and villainous administrator who runs the station as a personal fiefdom without anyone turning a hair; in any case, the station seems more like a posh hotel and the whole thing does not convince. And there is a nasty tale, A Little Night Music, which uses a science-fictional idea (a resurrection process for the recently-dead which has the side effect of making the resurrectees into strange jazz musicians) as a framing device for an urban tale of infidelity which turns into misogynistic violence.

Indeed, much of the writing seems to be predominantly masculine, and some modern readers will have difficulty with this. For me, two good stories out of seven doesn't make for a ringing endorsement.
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½
 
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RobertDay | 5 other reviews | Aug 5, 2023 |
If one can imagine Coppola's Apocalypse Now, dressed up in a sci-fi garb and with the level of insanity cranked up, that's the best way I can think of describing Life During Wartime. It is a(n almost) plotless, unpredictable, ethereal nightmare that nonetheless paces itself well (at least during its beginnings) and sucks you deep into the allure of its horror.

There's some really nice writing, and I think it was originally published under the label of "literary fiction"; which is interesting because I think the genre elements really swallow it as the book goes on, and in a way that even made me cringe a bit. I did like quite a lot about Life During Wartime - initially I was drawn to its trippy, war-time atmosphere - but I was less keen when more plot entered the scene and it almost began to feel like a sophisticated, adult X-Men. The more it drifted into its themes of psychological warfare the more disinterested I became, because I just didn't find the whole "war within a war" element compelling at all. I also thought the development of the romance was poor, especially as the main character just seems like a moody git who wants to screw anything that walks (the forced eroticism gets tedious). Funnily enough, by the end it almost seemed like a core theme of the book was "love" and that it was perhaps intended as some kind of romance novel in part. That didn't really work for me either.

Not a bad book, and possibly worth reading, but ultimately it felt a bit messy and unsatisfying. Joe Haldeman does much better with "military sci-fi meets romance" with his novel, The Forever War.
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TheScribblingMan | 10 other reviews | Jul 29, 2023 |
In 2007, Lucius Shepard (1943-2014) was guest of honor at Readercon, the science fiction convention that Lois and I have long attended and worked for. PS Publishing produced this signed "Special Readercon 2007 Edition" of his then-upcoming collection - same as the regular version except for the labelling and signature page.

To me, most Shepard stories follow the same pattern, closely following a man's point of view. The man is usually marginal in some way, and moves through a dark, uncertain landscape; weird events happen, often bringing a glimpse into the world's secret, terrible heart. Women are only present as companions or foils. I don't see misogyny here, just a recognition that he can't write women's interior experience. But in these nine stories, published 2002-2007, women seem to have more presence, and are more central to events, than in his earlier stories, or that's my impression. But the men still narrate.

In "Emerald Street Expansions", a man receives a sort of personality implant, and finds himself becoming the reincarnation of Francois Villon. The people around him have plans for him - especially the woman therapist who gave him the implant. Like many Shepard stories, this one doesn't really end. At the conclusion the protagonist is deep in his Villon role, perhaps doomed to reenact the poet's life and work.

"Limbo" gives us a petty criminal on the run from his former mob buddies. He's smarter than most killers, but not smart enough to avoid getting involved with the ghost of a woman, eventually joining her in a hell in which they perpetually must flee demonic tormentors. He thinks he may see a way out...

"Liar's House" is one of Shepard's Dragon Griaule stores, to be reviewed as part of his [The Dragon Griaule] collection someday.

"Dead Money" is a sequel to Shepard's excellent first novel Green Eyes, about a treatment that can turn the recently dead into zombies, sort of, with green-glowing eyes and extraordinary abilities. Those abilities can include reading the "tells" of poker players with amazing clarity. A small-time criminal, working for an erratic crime lord, is tasked with minding such a zombie, plus the zombie's beautiful nurse. He begins to suspect that the three of them will be eliminated after a big poker game.

In "Dinner at Baldassaro's" we gradually realize that the protagonist and his fellow diners are unaging vampires, controlling the mere humans around them and plotting how to continue their secret rule of Earth.

In "Abimagique", our man meets a woman of that name. She foresees the end of the world, and is performing weird magical rituals aimed at forestalling that end. Most of her recent lovers may have been put in wheelchairs by her lovemaking, so he'd be well advised to stay away. Of course he doesn't.

An old man in a bar recounts his long-ago meeting with "The Lepidopterist", who worked with some peculiar butterflies, and the far more peculiar products of the cocoons they spun (yes, butterflies spinning cocoons - very peculiar butterflies).

"Dagger Key" is original to this volume, appearing only here and in The Best of Lucius Shepard, Vol. 2 as i write. Fredo Galvez lives in poverty on a Caribean island. He is descended from the pirate Ann Bonny, and haunted by her ghost. Outsiders come, seeking Bonny's treasure. Is this an opportunity for him and his family? Pirate Annie was violent in life, and is still so in death.

The story that might be most congenial to a newcomer to Shepard is "Stars Seen Through Stone". Years ago, a car breakdown left Vernon and Andrea in the dying town of Black William, Pennsylvania. They made a life there, together and, later, apart. Now, eerie lights are occasionally visible, seen somehow through the stone of the town courthouse, lights that seem to be far away and approaching with great speed. Meanwhile, an epidemic of creativity breaks out among the townspeople; new solutions to issues in business and art. Vernon, a small-time music producer, finds himself coaching the most talented young musician he's ever managed - if also the most sleazy and personally repellent. This story supplies one of Shepard's rare endings that are other than tragic or fearful.

Shepard's darkness is not something I want all the time, but I enjoyed this visit to his late-career writing.
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1 vote
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dukedom_enough | Jan 11, 2023 |

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Works
145
Also by
170
Members
3,686
Popularity
#6,874
Rating
½ 3.7
Reviews
81
ISBNs
175
Languages
9
Favorited
24

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