Alexei Panshin (born August 14, 1940) is an American writer and science fiction (SF) critic. He has written several critical works and several novels, including the 1968 Nebula Award-winning novel Rite of Passage and the 1990 Hugo Award-winning study of science fiction The World Beyond the Hill (written with his wife, Cory Panshin).
Panshin is also noted for the cult favorite Anthony Villiers series, which consists of three books: Star Well, The Thurb Revolution, and Masque World. The fourth volume of the series, The Universal Pantograph, never appeared, reputedly because of conflicts between the writer and his publisher. Of the Villiers series, noted SF writer Samuel R. Delany writes in the foreword of Star Well:
It ... examines the proposition that the world is composed of small communities of mutual interest ... [Star Well] is a gallery of gamblers, duels and double-crosses, a minuet of manners and manners mangled; the machinery of the universe is speculated upon; inspector generals arrive to inspect it. And Anthony Villiers, gentleman par excellence, dashes through it all, buckling a swash or two, bungling a couple of others."— Samuel R. Delany, from the foreword to Star Well
Panshin published a study of SF legend Robert A. Heinlein, Heinlein In Dimension. He also co-wrote Earth Magic with wife Cory Panshin. His general critical work SF in Dimension (1976) was also co-written with Cory Panshin, as was the lengthy theoretical-critical book, The World Beyond The Hill (1989). His works also include a short story collection, Farewell To Yesterday's Tomorrow.
Heinlein In Dimension first brought Panshin to wide public notice. Robert A. Heinlein objected strongly to it, and attempted to stop its publication, which Heinlein had legal standing to do, because Panshin had used personal letters without permission. He wrote the prospective publisher and reserved his right to seek legal redress if appropriate. As a result, sections were published in fanzines in 1966, for which Panshin won the Best Fan Writer Hugo award in 1967. This in turn helped the book achieve professional publication. Opinions are divided on the propriety of Panshin's research techniques and of Heinlein's response. Spider Robinson and Sam Moskowitz have strongly criticized both. Panshin's own views on the matter, along with some views by others, can be found on his website The Abyss of Wonder.
A number of Alexei Panshin's books (including The World Beyond the Hill) are presently being republished by Phoenix Pick, an imprint of Arc Manor Publishers.
- Alexei Panshin (1968). Rite of Passage. New York: Ace Publishing Corporation. Ace 72781.
- Alexei Panshin (1968). Star Well. New York: Ace Publishing Corporation. p. 157. ISBN 0-441-78405-4. Ace G-756.
- Alexei Panshin (1968). The Thurb Revolution. New York: Ace Publishing Corporation. ISBN 0-441-80855-7. Ace G-762.
- Alexei Panshin (1969). Masque World. New York: Ace Publishing Corporation. p. 156. ISBN 0-441-52105-3. Ace 2320 - ISBN applies to 1978 paperback reprint.
- Alexei Panshin; Cory Panshin (1978). Earth Magic. New York: Ace Publishing Corporation. p. 275. ISBN 0-441-18120-1.
- Alexei Panshin (1975). Farewell to Yesterdays Tomorrow. New York: Berkley Publishing Corporation. p. 212. ISBN 0-425-03211-6.
- Alexei Panshin; Cory Panshin (1982). Transmutations: A Book of Personal Alchemy. Dublin, PA: Elephant Books. p. 214.
- Alexei Panshin (1968). Heinlein in Dimension: A Critical Analysis. Chicago: Advent Publishers. p. 214. ISBN 0-911682-12-0.
- Alexei Panshin; Cory Panshin (1976). SF in Dimension: A Book of Explorations. Chicago: Advent Publishers. p. 342. ISBN 0-911682-21-X.
- Alexei Panshin; Cory Panshin (1989). The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. p. 685. ISBN 0-87477-554-X.
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- Complete text of Heinlein In Dimension
- Official website
- Alexei Panshin at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Bibliography at Fantastic fiction
- Review of Rite of Passage and comments on Panshin's writings generally
- Review of Rite of Passage
- Review of the Villiers books, by Jed Hartman
- Alexei Panshin at Library of Congress Authorities, with 12 catalog records