Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Robert Sheckley (born July 16, 1928) is an American author. He first appeared in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s with stories and novels, fantasies that are often moralistic (in the sense that they have a moral), but more often absurdist and broadly comical.
Typical Sheckley stories include "Bad Medicine" (in which a man is mistakenly treated by a Martian psychotherapy machine), "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).
He is the author of a number of episodes of The Twilight Zone. One of his early works, the 1953 Galaxy short story "Seventh Victim ", was the basis for the film The 10th Victim , also known by the original Italian title, La Decima Vittima . The film starred Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress. A novelization of the film, written by Sheckley, was published in 1966. Another novel, Immortality Inc. — about a world in which the afterlife could be obtained via a scientific process — was very loosely adapted into a film, the 1992 Freejack, starring Mick Jagger, Emilio Estevez, Rene Russo, and Anthony Hopkins.
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 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Companion, Adams claimed not to have read it until after writing The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Robert Sheckley was born in Brooklyn, New York on and raised in New Jersey. He was in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1948 and served in Korea. He then attended New York University. In 1951 he began to sell stories to science-fiction magazines, producing several hundred stories.
Robert Sheckley continues to write at his home in Portland, Oregon.
His pen names included Phillips Barbee and Finn O'Donnevan
- "If the Marx Brothers had been literary rather than thespic fantasists ... they would have been Robert Sheckley." —Harlan Ellison
Science fiction novels
- Immortality Inc. (1959)
- The Status Civilization (1960)
- Journey beyond Tomorrow (1962)
- The 10th Victim (1966)
- Mindswap (1966)
- Dimension of Miracles (1968)
- Options (1975)
- The Alchemical Marriage of Alistair Crompton (1978)
- Dramocles (1983)
- Victim Prime (1987)
- Hunter / Victim (1988)
- Minotaur Maze (1990)
- Godshome (1999)
Short story collections
- Untouched by Human Hands (1954)
- Citizen in Space (1955)
- Pilgrimage to Earth (1957)
- Shards of Space (1962)
- Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? (vt The Same to You Doubled) (1972)
- The Robot Who Looked Like Me (1982)
- The Collected Short Fiction of Robert Sheckley (5 vols.) (1991)
- Uncanny Tales (2003)
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