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Charles Sheffield

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Charles Sheffield

Charles Sheffield
Born (1935-06-25)25 June 1935
Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England[1]
Died 2 November 2002(2002-11-02) (aged 67)
Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.[1]
Occupation Writer, scientist
Nationality British
Period 1977–2002 (fiction)
1962–? (professional)[1]
Genre Science fiction
Spouse Nancy Kress (1998–death)[1]

Charles A. Sheffield (25 June 1935 – 2 November 2002)[1] was an English-born mathematician, physicist and science fiction writer who served as a President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronautical Society.[2]

His novel The Web Between the Worlds, featuring the construction of a space elevator, was published almost simultaneously with Arthur C. Clarke's novel on the subject, The Fountains of Paradise, a coincidence that amused them both.

Sheffield served as Chief Scientist of Earth Satellite Corporation, a company that processed remote sensing satellite data. The association gave rise to many technical papers and two popular non-fiction books, Earthwatch and Man on Earth, both collections of false-colour and enhanced images of Earth from space.

He won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for his novel Brother to Dragons.

Sheffield was Toastmaster at BucConeer, the 1998 World Science Fiction Convention in Baltimore.

Before he died, he was writing a column for the Baen Books web site; his last column concerned the discovery of the brain tumour that led to his death.

Personal life

Charles Sheffield attended St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a Double First in Mathematics and Physics. During his studies he met and later married his first wife, Sarah Sanderson, whose death in 1977 became the catalyst for his writing career. They had a son, Charles Christopher ("Kit"), and a daughter, Ann Elizabeth. The family soon after moved to the United States, where Sheffield began working in the field of practical physics, a career that would lead him to a consultancy with NASA and the role of chief scientist at the Earth Satellite Corporation in Washington.

In response to the traumatic grief from the death of his wife Sarah to cancer (in 1977), Sheffield began a second career as a prominent science fiction author, winning both the prestigious Nebula and Hugo awards and serving as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (1984–1986). He maintained two successful careers, consulting for various scientific corporations while earning fame for his "Hard SF". Sheffield was known to note that "the world was really too interesting to let alone". During this period he lived in Washington, DC, and met and married Linda Zall, a fellow scientist, and had two daughters, Elizabeth Rose and Victoria Jane.

At the time of his death, he was married to writer Nancy Kress, and lived with his children in Silver Spring, MD.



Behrooz Wolf

  1. Sight of Proteus, (Ace Sep. 1978) / revised: (NEL Jan. 1989); book version of the following linked stories:
    • "Sight of Proteus," (nv) Amazing May 1978
    • "Legacy," (nv) Galaxy June 1977
    • "The Grooves of Change," (na) *; reprinted in Amazing Feb. 1979
  2. Proteus Unbound, (n) Analog Aug. 1988 (+3) / (NEL Jan. 1989) / (Ballantine Del Rey March 1989)
  3. Proteus in the Underworld, (Baen May 1995)

Volumes 1 & 2 were reprinted in omnibus version Proteus Manifest, (SFBC July 1989) and later in a revised omnibus version Proteus Combined, (Baen Nov. 1999)

The Heritage Universe

  1. Summertide, (Ballantine Del Rey Feb. 1990); loosely based on the following:
    • "Summertide," (na) Destinies Aug. 1981
  2. Divergence, (Ballantine Del Rey Feb. 1991)
  3. Transcendence, Ballantine Del Rey April 1992)
  4. Convergence, (Baen April 1997)
  5. Resurgence, (Baen Nov. 2002)

Volumes 1, 2 & 3 were reprinted in omnibus version The Heritage Universe, (SFBC Oct. 1992); Volumes 1 & 2 were reprinted in revised omnibus version Convergent Series, (Baen Oct. 1998); Volumes 3 & 4 were reprinted in revised omnibus version Transvergence, (Baen Nov. 1999)

Cold as Ice

  1. Cold as Ice, (Tor June 1992)
  2. The Ganymede Club, (Tor Dec. 1995)
  3. Dark as Day, (Tor March 2002)

Chan Dalton

  1. The Mind Pool, (Baen April 1993); revised and expanded from an earlier version:
  2. The Spheres of Heaven, (Baen Feb. 2001)

Jupiter (Young Adult Novels)

  1. Higher Education (with Jerry Pournelle), (n) Analog Feb. 1996 (+3) / (Tor June 1996); revised and expanded from the following:
  2. The Billion Dollar Boy, (Tor April 1997)
  3. Putting Up Roots, (Tor Sep. 1997)
  4. The Cyborg from Earth, (Tor March 1998)

Supernova Alpha

  1. Aftermath, (Bantam Spectra Aug. 1998)
  2. Starfire, (Bantam Spectra Oct. 1999)

Arthur Morton McAndrew

Publisher's blurb: "Presenting the space adventures of Arthur Morton McAndrew, space-time expert and scientist extraordinaire, and his long-suffering companion, spaceship skipper Jeanie Roker. Jeanie first met McAndrew on a routine run to Titan and quickly learned he was a genius of the calibre of Newton or Einstein. When McAndrew invented a space drive that let frail humans survive hundreds of gravities of acceleration, he disappeared while testing it, and Jeanie had to find him, using a trail of cryptic messages he had left behind... That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, in spite of the grey hairs that Jeanie began accumulating as a result of McAndrew's impractical nature and his talent for getting himself into trouble..."

  1. The Compleat McAndrew, (Baen April 2000); a collection of linked stories:
    • Introduction, (in) *; Read online
    • "Killing Vector," (ss) Galaxy March 1978; Read online
    • "Moment of Inertia," (nv) Analog Oct. 1980; Read online
    • "All the Colors of the Vacuum," (nv) Analog 2 February 1981
    • "Manna Hunt," (nv) Analog Sep. 1982
    • "The Hidden Matter of McAndrew," (nv) Analog June 1992
    • "The Invariants of Nature," (nv) Analog April 1993
    • "Rogueworld," (na) F&SF May 1983
    • "With McAndrew, Out of Focus," (ss) Science Fiction Age March 1999
    • "McAndrew and the Fifth Commandment," (nv) Analog Sep. 1999
    • Appendix: Science & Science Fiction, (ar)

The Compleat McAndrew was preceded by two earlier versions: The McAndrew Chronicles, (Tor June 1983) and One Man’s Universe, (Tor Dec. 1993); also, Sheffield later wrote an additional McAndrew story:

  • "McAndrew and THE LAW," (nv) Cosmic Tales: Adventures in Sol System, ed. T. K. F. Weisskopf, Baen June 2004; Read online

Waldo Burmeister & Henry Carver, Space Attorneys

"In the late 1970s when I was just starting to write fiction, my young children (young back then, grown-ups now) ordered me to produce stories about every funny or disgusting thing in the world. They made the list for me. It had on it items of comic low appeal to them—sewage, visits to the dentist, mushrooms, fat aunts, opera singers, flatulence (I think they used a different word), comic Germans and Italians, fad diets, pigs, morticians, and head lice. Not an easy assignment, but I did my best. Over the years I have published ten politically incorrect stories tackling one or more of the listed topics... Together they form what I think of as my "sewage" series. They feature my two favourite lawyers, Henry Carver and Waldo Burmeister, and they are depressingly easy to write." --Sheffield, from the afterword to "Fifteen-Love on the Dead Man's Chest" in Georgia on My Mind and Other Places, (Tor 1995).

  1. Space Suits, (Fox Acre Press Aug. 2001); a collection of linked stories:
    • "Marconi, Mattin, Maxwell," (ss) Galaxy May 1977; Read online
    • "Dinsdale Dissents," (ss) Galaxy July 1977
    • "The Deimos Plague," (ss) Stellar No. 4, ed. Judy-Lynn del Rey, Ballantine 1978; Read online
    • "Perfectly Safe, Nothing to Worry About," (ss) Galaxy Aug. 1977
    • "The Decline of Hyperion," (ss) Analog mid-Dec. 1992
    • "The Dalmatian of Faust," (ss) Galaxy Sep. 1978
    • "A Certain Place in History," (ss) Galaxy Oct. 1977
    • "Parasites Lost," (nv) Proteus: Voices for the 80s, ed. Richard S. McEnroe, Ace May 1981
    • "Fifteen-Love on the Dead Man’s Chest," (ss) Amazing May 1993
    • "With the Knight Male," (nv) The Chick is in the Mail, ed. Esther Friesner, Baen Oct. 2000; Read online
    • "Space Opera," (ss) Analog mid-Dec. 1988

Erasmus Darwin (Grandfather of Charles Darwin)

Publisher's blurb: "18th Century Europe: It is an age when superstition is beginning to give way to the force of human reason, and no man so fully embodies the spirit of the times as Dr. Erasmus Darwin. Thinker, healer, and explorer of the bizarre and the seemingly supernatural, no mystery can stand for long against Darwin's enlightened analysis. And there are far more mysteries than history knows. . . . For Erasmus Darwin's world is filled with oddities that most cannot believe: from unknown beings lurking just outside the boundaries of civilisation, to anomalies that even the greatest natural philosophers will be hard-pressed to explain, to mysterious deaths that give rise to fears of malevolent sorcery."

  1. The Amazing Dr. Darwin, (Baen June 2002); a collection of linked stories:
    • Introduction, (in) *; Read online
    • "The Devil of Malkirk," (na) F&SF June 1982; Read online
    • "The Heart of Ahura Mazda," (nv) AHMM Nov. 1988
    • "The Phantom of Dunwell Cove," (nv) Asimov's Aug. 1995
    • "The Lambeth Immortal," (nv) AHMM June 1979
    • "The Solborne Vampire," (nv) AHMM Jan. 1998
    • "The Treasure of Odirex," (na) Fantastic July 1978
    • Appendix- Erasmus Magister: Fact and Fiction, (ar) Erasmus Magister, Ace 1982

The Amazing Dr. Darwin was preceded by an earlier version: Erasmus Magister, (Ace June 1982); also, Sheffield later wrote an additional Erasmus Darwin story:

  • "The Demon of E Staircase," (ss) AHMM Jan. 2003

Other novels

  • The Web Between the Worlds, (Ace Aug. 1979) / revised (Baen Feb. 2001)
  • The Selkie (with David Bischoff), (Macmillan March 1982) / (Signet May 1983)
  • My Brother's Keeper, (Ace Aug. 1982)
  • Between the Strokes of Night, (n) Analog March 1985 (+3) / (Baen July 1985) / significantly revised & expanded: (Baen Nov. 2002)
  • Trader’s World, (Ballantine Del Rey Nov. 1988); book version of the following linked stories:
    • "Trader’s Blood," (na) Analog April 1986
    • "Trader’s Partner," (nv) Analog July 1987
    • "Trader’s Cross," (nv) Analog March 1987
    • "Trader’s Secret," (nv) Analog Aug. 1985
  • Brother to Dragons, (Baen Nov. 1992)
  • Godspeed, (Tor Nov. 1993)
  • The Judas Cross (with David Bischoff), (Warner Aspect Dec. 1994)
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow, (Bantam Spectra Jan. 1997); revised and expanded from the following:
    • "At the Eschaton," (na) Far Futures, ed. Gregory Benford, Tor Dec. 1995

Other collections

  1. Vectors, (Ace Dec. 1979)
    • Introduction, (in) *; Read online
    • "What Song the Sirens Sang," (ss) Galaxy April 1977; Read online
    • "Fixed Price War," (ss) Analog May 1978; Read online
    • "Marconi, Mattin, Maxwell," (ss) Galaxy May 1977; Read online
    • "Power Failure," (nv) Fantastic April 1978
    • "Killing Vector," (ss) Galaxy March 1978; Read online
    • "Dinsdale Dissents," (ss) Galaxy July 1977
    • "We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident," (nv) Fantastic Dec. 1977
    • "Skystalk," (nv) Destinies Aug. 1979
    • How to Build a Beanstalk, (article) Destinies Aug. 1979
    • "Transition Team," (nv) Destinies Nov. 1978
    • "Bounded in a Nutshell," (ss) Analog July 1978
    • "The Long Chance," (nv) Galaxy Nov. 1977
    • "The Treasure of Odirex," (na) Fantastic July 1978
    • "The Dalmatian of Faust," (ss) Galaxy Sep. 1978
  2. Hidden Variables, (Ace July 1981)
    • Introduction, (in) *; Read online
    • "The Man Who Stole the Moon," (nv) Destinies Summer 1980; Read online
    • "The Deimos Plague," (ss) Stellar No. 4, ed. Judy-Lynn del Rey, Ballantine 1978; Read online
    • "Forefather Figure," (nv) A Spadeful of Spacetime, ed. Fred Saberhagen, Ace 1981; Read online
    • "Moment of Inertia," (nv) Analog Oct. 1980; Read online
    • "The New Physics: The Speed of Lightness, Curved Space, and Other Heresies," (ss) Analog Sep. 1980
    • "From Natural Causes," (ss) Amazing Aug. 1978
    • "Legacy," (nv) Galaxy June 1977
    • "The Softest Hammer," (ss) F&SF Feb. 1981
    • "Hidden Variable," (nv) Destinies Fall 1980
    • "A Certain Place in History," (ss) Galaxy Oct. 1977
    • "All the Colors of the Vacuum," (nv) Analog 2 February 1981
    • "Perfectly Safe, Nothing to Worry About," (ss) Galaxy Aug. 1977
    • "Summertide," (na) Destinies v3 #2 1981
    • "The Marriage of True Minds," (nv) F&SF Nov. 1980
  3. Dancing with Myself, (Baen Sep. 1993)
    • Introduction, (in) *
    • "Out of Copyright," (ss) F&SF May 1989
    • "Tunicate, Tunicate, Wilt Thou Be Mine?" (nv) Asimov’s June 1985
    • Counting Up, (ar) New Destinies, Vol. VI, ed. Jim Baen, Baen 1988
    • "A Braver Thing," (nv) Asimov’s Feb. 1990
    • "The Grand Tour," (ss) Analog May 1987
    • Classical Nightmares and Quantum Paradoxes, (ar) New Destinies, Vol. VII, ed. Jim Baen, Baen 1989
    • "Nightmares of the Classical Mind," (nv) Asimov’s Aug. 1989
    • "The Double Spiral Staircase," (ss) Analog Jan. 1990
    • The Unlicked Bear-Whelp, (ar) New Destinies, Vol. IX, ed. Jim Baen, Baen 1990
    • "The Seventeen-Year Locusts," (vi) Asimov’s Jan. 1983
    • "The Courts of Xanadu," (nv) Asimov’s April 1988
    • "C-change," (vi) Analog Nov. 1992
    • Unclear Winter, (ar) New Destinies, Vol. IV, ed. Jim Baen, Baen 1988
    • "Godspeed," (ss) Analog July 1990
    • "Dancing with Myself," (ss) Analog Aug. 1989
    • Something for Nothing: A Biography of the Universe, (ar) *
  4. Georgia on My Mind and Other Places, (Tor Feb. 1995)
    • Introduction, (in) *; Read online
    • "The Feynman Saltation," (ss) The Ultimate Dinosaur, ed. Byron Preiss & Robert Silverberg, Bantam Spectra 1992; Read online
    • "The Bee's Kiss," (nv) Asimov's Nov. 1994; Read online
    • "Millennium," (vi) *
    • "Fifteen-Love on the Dead Man's Chest," (ss) Amazing May 1993
    • "Deep Safari," (nv) Asimov's March 1992
    • "Beyond the Golden Road," (nv) Arabesques 2, ed. Susan Shwartz, Avon 1989
    • "Health Care System," (nv) Asimov's Sep. 1990
    • "Humanity Test," (nv) Analog March 1989
    • "That Strain Again," (vi) Microcosmic Tales, ed. Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg & Joseph D. Olander, Taplinger 1980
    • "Destroyer of Worlds," (na) Asimov's Feb. 1989
    • "The Fifteenth Station of the Cross," (nv) Science Fiction Age July 1993
    • "Trapalanda," (nv) Asimov's June 1987
    • "Obsolete Skill," (ss) F&SF Dec. 1987
    • "Analog Jan. 1993
  5. The Lady Vanishes and Other Oddities of Nature, (Gale Group/Five Star June 2002)
    • Introduction, (in) *
    • "The Lady Vanishes," (ss) Science Fiction Age Nov. 1996
    • "The Peacock Throne," (nv) Asimov's Feb. 1996
    • "Brooks Too Broad for Leaping," (ss) Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction, ed. Nicola Griffith & Steven Pagel, White Wolf 1998
    • "The Art of Fugue," (ss) Asimov’s June 2000
    • "The Whole Three Yards," (ss) *
    • "Cloud Cuckoo," (nv) Asimov’s July 1996
    • "Packing Fraction," (ss) Packing Fraction & Other Tales of Science & Imagination, ed. Julie E. Czerneda, Trifolium Books 1998
    • "Nuremberg Joys," (nv) Asimov’s March 2000
    • "What Would You Like to Know?" (ss) Science Fiction Age March 1997
    • "Waiting for the Riddlers," (ss) Analog March 1997
    • "Phallicide," (nv) Science Fiction Age Sep. 1999


  1. How to Save the World, ed. Charles Sheffield, (Tor Sep. 1995)

Short stories


  • Earthwatch, A Survey of the World from Space, (Macmillan 1981)
  • Man on Earth: How Civilization and Technology Changed the Face of the World – A Survey from Space, (Macmillan 1983) / (Sidgwick & Jackson 1983)
  • Space Careers (with Carol Rosin), (William Morrow Sep. 1984)
  • Borderlands of Science: How to Think like a Scientist and Write Science Fiction, (Baen Nov. 1999)
  • Interstellar Travel and Multi-Generational Space Ships (with Yoji Kondo, Frederick Bruhweiler & John H. Moore), (Apogee Books July 2003)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sheffield, Charles". Revised 2 April 2015. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction ( Retrieved 2015-07-20. Entry by 'JC', John Clute.
  2. ^ American Astronautical Society "History of AAS: 1974 to Present". Retrieved 4 June 2009. Archived 18 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine

External links

  • Charles Sheffield yahoogroup ("study and appreciation", est. 2005)
  • Charles Sheffield at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • List of Sheffield stories in the Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections, Galactic Central (
  • Charles Sheffield Papers at the University of South Florida
  • Charles Sheffield at Library of Congress Authorities, with 49 catalog records
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