Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Hasford, Gustav

(1947-1993) US writer who began publishing fantasy stories with "Heartland" for Orbit 16 (anth 1975) ed Damon Knight, but most of whose work of interest was generated by his time as a combat correspondent in Vietnam, where he observed the 1968 Tet offensive. Like Norman Mailer (1923-2007), he had gone to war in his teens with the express purpose of writing about it, and his first novel, The Short-Timers (1979), successfully deploys Horror and fantasy elements to describe a world as crazy as the one that allowed the war to happen. Ghost tanks roll across blasted landscapes, M-14s whisper instructions to their adolescent familiars, and Demon snipers pick off entire patrols. For the movie version – Full Metal Jacket (1987) dir Stanley Kubrick – GH received co-credit for the screen adaptation. In the book's sort-of sequel, The Phantom Blooper (1990), the voice of a turncoat Marine haunts a ravaged Vietnam Landscape.

GH was a maverick of enormous energy, part of it spent in stealing a reported 800 library books from around the world (for which he eventually served time in prison). His death was hastened by untreated diabetes. [SB]

Jerry Gustav Hasford


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.