Happy birthday Norman Spinrad!

Norman Spinrad in 2006
Norman Spinrad in 2006

Norman Richard Spinrad (photo ©gruntzooki) was born on September 15, 1940 in New York, USA.

Norman Spinrad earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the City College of New York in 1961. Subsequently, he did various jobs living in various cities, also in Europe. He accumulated experience in the media field working for radio programs and, after starting writing, occasionally as a screenwriter writing for example an episode of the original “Star Trek” series.

In the literary field, Norman Spinrad made his debut in 1963, but until 1966 he was only a part-time writer. Even when he went full-time, he wasn’t particularly prolific. Since his first novel, “The Solarians” (1966), one can see his tendency not to go for half measures in the development of themes that can be difficult such as sexuality.

The biggest controversies began when he wrote “Bug Jack Barron” (1969), to the point that it was initially published by Michael Moorcock after a series of rejections. “The Iron Dream” (1972) was even banned in the then West Germany.

Despite the problems he had in developing the themes of his novels in extreme ways, Norman Spinrad continued with his style, obtaining successes but also more criticisms with his subsequent novels such as “A World Between” (1979) and “The Void Captain’s Tale” (1983). Even when the protagonists are teenagers, like in “Child of Fortune” (1985), strong themes such as drugs are included.

In this early 21st century, Norman Spinrad has significantly reduced his activity as a writer and screenwriter, still writes articles of literary criticism. His latest novels are “The Druid King” from 2003, “Mexica” from 2005 and “Osama the Gun”, published in English many years after it was written.

In the course of his career, Norman Spinrad has never won the greatest awards in the field of science fiction, probably also due to the controversies that accompanied his works. He’s undoubtedly an author who develops difficult themes in an extreme way. It’s the reason why he’s at the center of controversy but it’s also his main merit.

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