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John Brunner (novelist)

John Kilian Houston Brunner
Born (1934-09-24)24 September 1934
Wallingford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Died 25 August 1995(1995-08-25) (aged 60)
Glasgow, Scotland
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British
Genre Science fiction
Notable works Stand on Zanzibar,
The Shockwave Rider,
The Sheep Look Up,
The Jagged Orbit

John Kilian Houston Brunner (24 September 1934 – 26 August 1995) was a British author of science fiction novels and stories. His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar, about an overpopulated world, won the 1969 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel, and the BSFA award the same year. The Jagged Orbit won the BSFA award in 1970.


  • Life 1
  • Literary works 2
  • Film and TV 3
  • Bibliography 4
    • Science-fiction and fantasy novels 4.1
    • Collections 4.2
    • Poetry 4.3
    • Nongenre 4.4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Brunner was born in Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St Andrew's Prep School, Pangbourne, then to Cheltenham College. He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, and published it under the pen-name Gill Hunt, but he did not start writing full-time until 1958.[1] He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Rosamond Sauer on 12 July 1958.

Brunner's health began to decline in the 1980s and worsened with the death of his wife in 1986. He remarried, to Li Yi Tan, on 27 September 1991. He died of a heart attack in Glasgow on 25 August 1995, while attending the World Science Fiction Convention there.[2]

Literary works

At first writing conventional John Dos Passos invented for his USA trilogy, but updates it in terms of the theory of media popularised by Marshall McLuhan.

The Jagged Orbit (1969) is set in a United States dominated by weapons proliferation and interracial violence, and has 100 numbered chapters varying in length from a single syllable to several pages in length. The Sheep Look Up (1972) was a prophetic warning of ecological catastrophe. Brunner is credited with coining the term "worm" and predicting the emergence of computer viruses[2] in his 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider, in which he used the term to describe software which reproduces itself across a computer network. Together with Stand on Zanzibar, these novels have been called the "Club of Rome Quartet", named after the Club of Rome whose 1972 report The Limits to Growth warned of the dire effects of overpopulation.[3]

Brunner's pen names include K. H. Brunner, Gill Hunt, John Loxmith, Trevor Staines, Ellis Quick, Henry Crosstrees Jr., and Keith Woodcott.[1]

In addition to his fiction, Brunner wrote poetry and many unpaid articles in a variety of publications, particularly Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and wrote the words to "The H-Bomb's Thunder", which was sung on the Aldermaston Marches. He was a linguist, translator, and Guest of Honour at the first European Science Fiction Convention Eurocon-1 in Trieste in 1972.[1]

Film and TV

John Brunner wrote the screenplay for the 1967 science fiction film The Terrornauts by Amicus Productions.

Two of his short stories, "Some Lapse of Time" and "The Last Lonely Man", were adapted as TV plays in the BBC science fiction series Out of the Unknown, in series 1 (1965) and series 3 (1969) respectively.


Science-fiction and fantasy novels





  1. ^ a b c  
  2. ^ a b "Obituary of John Brunner". Daily Telegraph. 25 September 1995. p. 23. 
  3. ^ Bisson, Simon (13 July 2012). "Science fiction: Why it's a must read for IT pros". ZDnet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Physics Education (1971) volume 6 pages 389–391 "The educational relevance of science fiction" by John Brunner

External links

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