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Moffitt, Donald

(1931-2014) US author who started publishing work of genre interest with "The Devil's Due" for Fantastic in May 1960. His first outright sf novel is The Jupiter Theft (1977), a tale which established him as an author of numerate, physics-oriented, fast-moving Hard-SF adventures (see Jupiter). After some years of silence came the Genesis series – The Genesis Quest (1986) and Second Genesis (1986) – which demonstrates a competence with the mythopoeically large scales and calculations typical of Moffitt's category of Space Opera as Earth sends terminal messages through space which reach their Alien targets millions of years hence, generating an aeon-leaping response. Slightly closer to home, the Mechanical Sky sequence – Crescent in the Sky (1990) and A Gathering of Stars (1990) – posits Arab-dominated venues in space. Though some local-colour weaknesses (the first volume features a court eunuch) might reasonably irritate Muslims, the focus of the tales – especially the wide-ranging second instalment – is firmly on the wide-scale action and the Physics. The hero of Jovian (2003) has adventures in the inner planets.

Under the pseudonym Paul Kenyon, which Moffitt has acknowledged, he wrote the Baroness sequence of eight vaguely Near-Future, Invention-saturated thrillers starring international socialite/spy Baroness Penelope St John-Orsini and beginning with The Ecstasy Connection (1974). These combine Sex and futuristic anti-West conspiracies; the general effect is reminiscent of, though far from equal to, the James Bond novels of Ian Fleming or perhaps the Modesty Blaise sequence by Peter O'Donnell. Two further instalments by Moffitt, «A Black Hole to Die In» and «Death is a Copycat», were sold to Pocket Books but not published owing to the cancellation of the series. Moffitt has also written non-genre novels as by Paul King and Victor Sondheim.

This author should not be confused with the Texas-born Donald Moffitt (1931-    ), a journalist who writes books on finance. [JC/DRL]

Donald Moffitt

born Boston, Massachusetts: 20 July 1931

died Monroe, Maine: 10 December 2014

works (sf only)




Mechanical Sky

individual titles


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls and Graham Sleight.
Accessed 14:12 pm on 3 December 2021.