Charles Sheffield

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Charles A. Sheffield
Born (1935-06-25)25 June 1935
Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England[1]
Died 2 November 2002(2002-11-02) (aged 67)
Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.[1]
Occupation Writer, scientist
Nationality British
Period 1977–2002 (fiction)
1962–? (professional)[1]
Genre Science fiction
Spouse Nancy Kress (1998–death)[1]

Charles A. Sheffield (25 June 1935 – 2 November 2002)[1] was an English-born mathematician, physicist and science fiction writer who served as a President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronautical Society.[2]

His novel The Web Between the Worlds, featuring the construction of a space elevator, was published almost simultaneously with Arthur C. Clarke's novel on the subject, The Fountains of Paradise, a coincidence that amused them both.

Sheffield served as Chief Scientist of Earth Satellite Corporation, a company that processed remote sensing satellite data. The association gave rise to many technical papers and two popular non-fiction books, Earthwatch and Man on Earth, both collections of false-colour and enhanced images of Earth from space.

He won the Nebula and Hugo awards for his novelette "Georgia on My Mind" and the 1992 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for his novel Brother to Dragons.

Sheffield was Toastmaster at BucConeer, the 1998 World Science Fiction Convention in Baltimore.

Before he died, he was writing a column for the Baen Books web site; his last column concerned the discovery of the brain tumour that led to his death.

Personal life[edit]

Charles Sheffield attended St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a Double First in Mathematics and Physics. During his studies he met and later married his first wife, Sarah Sanderson, whose death in 1977 became the catalyst for his writing career. They had a son, Charles Christopher ("Kit"), and a daughter, Ann Elizabeth. The family soon after moved to the United States, where Sheffield began working in the field of practical physics, a career that would lead him to a consultancy with NASA and the role of chief scientist at the Earth Satellite Corporation in Washington.

In response to the traumatic grief from the death of his wife Sarah to cancer (in 1977), Sheffield began a second career as a prominent science fiction author, winning both the prestigious Nebula and Hugo awards and serving as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (1984–1986). He maintained two successful careers, consulting for various scientific corporations while earning fame for his "Hard SF". Sheffield was known[by whom?] to note that "the world was really too interesting to let alone". During this period he lived in Washington, DC, and met and married Linda Zall, a fellow scientist, and had two daughters, Elizabeth Rose and Victoria Jane.

At the time of his death, he was married to writer Nancy Kress, and lived with his children in Silver Spring, MD.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sheffield, Charles". Revised 2 April 2015. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction ( Retrieved 2015-07-20. Entry by 'JC', John Clute.
  2. ^ American Astronautical Society "History of AAS: 1974 to Present". Retrieved 4 June 2009. Archived 18 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]