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SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Robert Sheckley

Robert Sheckley (1928-2005) was a US writer, born and educated in New York, where he set some of his fiction, publishing his first story, "Final Examination", for Imagination in May 1952. Sheckley's career falls into three periods: the 1950s, the 1960s, and afterwards. In the first period he produced short fiction prolifically for several years in various magazines, though his supple, witty, talkative, well crafted work was especially suited to Galaxy Science Fiction, where much of it appeared. This work remains, almost certainly, his best known. A number of these stories are known to have first appeared under pseudonyms: "The Leech" (December 1952 Galaxy) as by Phillips Barbee, "Forever" (February 1959 Galaxy) as by Ned Lang, and nine further Galaxy stories plus "Feeding Time" (March 1953 Fantasy Magazine) as by Finn O'Donnevan. In the 1960s he wrote several novels which combined "zany" plots, metaphysical speculation and comic Satire. In the 1970s and 1980s, he only sporadically wrote original works, but some of them are strong. The stories assembled as The Collected Short Stories of Robert Sheckley, beginning with The Collected Short Fiction of Robert Sheckley: Book One (coll 1991), though incomplete, gives a good view of his entire career to that point. But that career continued . . .

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