Alec Nevala-Lee


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Alec Nevala-Lee (born May 31, 1980) is an American biographer, novelist, and science fiction writer. He was a Hugo and Locus Award finalist for the group biography Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. His most recent book is Inventor of the Future, a biography of the architectural designer and futurist Buckminster Fuller. Esquire was selected as one of the fifty best biographies of all time.

Nevala-Lee's debut novel, The Icon Thief, a conspiracy thriller inspired by the work of artist Marcel Duchamp, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. A sequel, City of Exiles, is partially based on the Dyatlov Pass incident, while the concluding novel in the trilogy, Eternal Empire, incorporates elements from the myth of Shambhala. 

On the science fiction side, Locus critic Rich Horton has identified a tendency in Nevala-Lee's work "to present a situation which suggests a fantastical or science-fictional premise, and then to turn the idea on its head, not so much by debunking the central premise or explaining it away in mundane terms, but by giving it a different, perhaps more scientifically rigorous, science-fictional explanation.” 

Analog has characterized him as an author of "tale[s] set in an atypical location, with science fiction that arrives from an unexpected direction,” while Locus reviews editor Jonathan Strahan has said that Nevala-Lee's fiction "has been some of the best stuff in Analog in the last ten years."The Wall Street Journal has called Nevala-Lee "a talented science fiction writer," and Jim Killen of Tor has written that he has earned "a reputation as one of the smartest young SFF writers out there."

Nevala-Lee's book Astounding—a group biography of the editor John W. Campbell and the science fiction writers Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Ron Hubbard—was a 2019 Hugo Award finalist for Best Related Work and Locus Award finalist for Non-Fiction. Its Chinese translation by Sun Yanan received a Silver Xingyun Award for Best Translated Work.

 The Economist named it one of the best books of 2018, calling it "an indispensable book for anyone trying to understand the birth and meaning of modern science fiction in America from the 1930s to the 1950s—a genre that reshaped how people think about the future, for good and ill." The science fiction writer Barry N. Malzberg described it as "the most important historical and critical work my field has ever seen," while the editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden praised it as "one of the greatest works of science fiction history ever." 

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