Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Reamy, Tom

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Working name of US writer and graphic designer Thomas Earl Reamy (1935-1977), whose first published story was "Twilla" in the September 1974 issue of F&SF and who won the 1976 Nebula Award for "San Diego Lightfoot Sue" (1975). Reamy's comparatively early death, within three years of his first publication, robbed US sf/fantasy of a significant talent – he also won the 1976 John Campbell Award. His only novel, Blind Voices (1978), published posthumously in a complete but not final draft, deals with the arrival and stay, in a small town in 1930s Kansas, of a travelling Circus whose personnel include freaks; their position in relationship to the show's proprietor is one of Bondage from which the novel's slightly tentative and elegiac ending provides a measure of liberation. The sf pretext for their existence – genetic engineering – has little to do with the feel or plot of the novel, which can accordingly be regarded as Rationalized Fantasy. It won the 1979 Balrog Award.

TR's short stories, collected as San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories (coll 1979), eclectically combine sf, Horror and fantasy materials, often in the same story. "Insects in Amber", for example, has a disparate group of travellers, two of them telepaths meeting for the first time, trapped in a house by a Malign Sleeper and helped by a Ghost. TR had a clear gift, only imperfectly realized at the time of his death, for taking the reader through several emotional extremes in the same tale to a culmination of cathartic Healing. TR worked on the parodic Flesh Gordon (1974). [RK]

Thomas Earl Reamy


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.