2001-11-11: The Dechronization of Sam Magruder

The Dechronization of Sam Magruder (1996)

by George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984)

This “scientification” novella is interesting enough that I have just read it for the second time, so I’m writing a report for a fiction book.

The work was written sometime between 1970 and 1984, found in his papers by his daughter, and published in 1996. She arranged for Arthur C. Clarke to write an introduction and Stephen Jay Gould to write an Afterword; she wrote a memoir herself.

The work is interesting on a variety of levels: it’s a good story; it refers to science fiction tradition; it’s about dinosaurs, and a Robinson Crusoe-type situation; it raises philosophical questions about what humans are for, and how they ought to act; it’s amusing; it reveals how an author’s life affects his writing; it tells a lot about the author and his non-writing work.

I recommend it.


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