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Stephen Leigh Collection
- 1968-2021 (Creation)
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Stephen Leigh (who writes as Leigh and under the names S.L. Farrell and Matthew Farrell) was born in Cincinnati, OH, on February 27, 1951. With a B.A. in Fine Arts and an M.A. in Creative Writing, Leigh taught creative writing at Northern Kentucky University from 2001 until his retirement in 2020.
Leigh's literary debut was the short story "And Speak of Soft Defiance", published in Eternity SF in 1975; this was the first of some 40 pieces of short fiction Leigh has written. Some of Leigh's short fiction include his December 1976 story "Answer in Cold Stone" (Leigh's first Analog publication), "When We Come Down" (Asimov's, 1978), "Shaping Memory" (Asimov's, 1985), "Evening Shadow" (Asimov's, 1988), "The Bright Seas of Venus (Galaxy's Edge*, 2013), and "Bones of Air, Bones of Stone" (2015).
In addition, Leigh has written numerous stories as an original member of George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards mosaic universe collective of writers. Leigh is responsible for the creation of several notable Wild Cards characters, including Gregg Hartmann/Puppetman, Bloat, Oddity, Gimli, and Steam Wilbur. To date, Leigh (sometimes writing as S.L. Farrell) has written content for eighteen of the Wild Cards books.
Leigh has also enjoyed a successful career as a science fiction and fantasy novelist. His debut novel was 1981's Slow Fall To Dawn, which was nominated for the 1982 Locus Award for Best First Novel. Slow Fall was the first of Leigh's Neweden/Hoorka trilogy, followed by Dance of the Hag (1983) and A Quiet of Stone (1984). He wrote The Secret of the Lona in 1988, the first in the Dr. Bones series (a fantasy series written by various authors, including Leigh's Wild Cards colleague William Wu). Leigh has written 6 novels in AvoNova's Ray Bradbury Presents series (1992-1995): Dinosaur World, Dinosaur Planet, Dinosaur Samurai, Dinosaur Warriors, Dinosaur Empire, and Dinosaur Conquest. His 1998-1999 Mictlan duology includes the novels Dark Water's Embrace and Speaking Stories,
Leigh has also written several popular fantasy series. most of them under the name S.L. Farrell. These include the Cloudmages series (2003-2005), which include Holder of Lightning, Mage of Clouds, and Heir of Stone; the Nessantico Cycle (2008-2010), which includes the novels A Magic of Twilight, A Magic of Nightfall, and A Magic of Dawn; the paranormal fantasy series Sunpath Cycle (2017-2018), which includes A Fading Sun and A Rising Moon. Leigh's standalone SF&F novels include The Bones of God (1981), The Crystal Memory (1987), The Abraxas Marvel Circus (1990), Thunder Rift (2001, as Matthew Farrell, republished in 2010 as The Shape of Silence), and several others. His most recent published novel is 2021's science fiction work Amid the Crown of Stars.
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This collection consists of materials relating to the life and career of science fiction and fantasy author Stephen Leigh. Materials include typescripts...
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Wild Cards is the general title given to the shared superhuman universe of novels created and primarily edited by George R.R. Martin. The first book, Wild Cards, was released in 1987, set mostly in the early days of the wild card epidemic, and continues to run (as of this writing) through 29 subsequent books (the latest being 2022's Full House), having been brought up to the present day. The series is governed by the Wild Cards Trust, a collective of authors that share the universe not only through their own stories but with their own created recurring characters that can be used by other authors. Besides Martin, authors include or have included, among others: Melinda M. Snodgrass, Howard Waldrop, Lewis Shiner, Stephen Leigh, Walter Jon Williams, Walton Simons, John J. Miller, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Victor Milan, Carrie Vaughn, William Wu, and Caroline Spector.
Wild Cards begins in 1946, when a humanoid alien species called the Takisians releases an experimental virus upon Earth, as a test. (The entire Wild Cards series is an exploration of the subsequent wide-reaching social, political, and historical effects of this virus on humanity.) The "wild card" virus (called so by humans because its effects are unpredictable and never affect two people in the same way) rapidly disseminates across the entire planet.
People who contract the virus suffer one of three possible fates. The vast majority of victims die in horrible ways (called "drawing the Black Queen). Of those that survive, most become "jokers", developing serious, often crippling and often dramatic deformities - in many parts of the world, including the United States, jokers suffer discrimination, prejudice, and marginalization. A tiny percentage of virus victims (c. 1%) become "aces", developing powers that often rise to the level of superhuman. In the traditional comic book manner, some aces become superheroes, and others become villains.
Although stories in the series occur in various parts of the world, the primary setting, especially in the earlier books, is New York City, including its joker ghetto 'Jokertown'. The series is notable not only for its colorful fights between aces and aces (and aces and jokers), but its less dramatic but emotionally fraught explorations of how the presence of superheroes, supervillains, and a dramatically different underclass would affect the development of the "real world".
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Processed by Jeremy Brett, 2021.
Finding Aid created by Jeremy Brett, 2021.