Michael F. Flynn

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Michael F. Flynn
Born Michael Francis Flynn
1947 (age 67–68)
Easton, Pennsylvania, USA

Michael Francis Flynn (born 1947) is an American statistician and science fiction author.

Nearly all of Flynn's work falls under the category of hard science fiction, although his treatment of it can be unusual since he has applied the rigor of hard science fiction to "softer" sciences such as sociology in works such as In the Country of the Blind. Much of his short fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact.[1]


Flynn was born in Easton, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics from La Salle University and an M.S. in topology from Marquette University.[1]

He has been employed as an industrial quality engineer and statistician.[1]


The Forest of Time[edit]

"The Forest of Time" charts, within the narrow confines of a 70-page novella, a whole world which could have been with its history and geography, culture and language — a world where the Thirteen Colonies threw off the British rule but failed to unite, and developed into separate nation states. A world where Pennsylvania in the Twentieth Century is a nation speaking a German dialect, which often goes to war with its neighbors New York, Virginia and the Iroquois Confederation...

Firestar series[edit]

In 1996 he published the first of four near-future novels recording humanity's return to outer space. Firestar focuses on industrialist Mariesa van Huyten's obsession with funding a private space program, but follows a large cast of characters affected by her plans, including pilots, schoolchildren, and her teacher husband. This was one of several books that were published that year which found hope for the future not in government programs, but in private initiative. (Victor Koman's Kings of the High Frontier was another.)

Firestar also revealed Flynn as a serious history-builder: in one brief scene, the protagonist of In the Country of the Blind appears, tying the two stories together without fanfare.

The first two-thirds of Firestar conflict with our own recorded history (taking place in the "future" of the late 1990s), but should be considered future, rather than alternate, history.


The Wreck of the River of Stars[edit]

The Wreck of The River of Stars (2003) takes the story further into the future: by the late decades of the twenty-first century, the fusion drive has displaced the Magnetic sail, but on board the River of Stars - once a sailing luxury liner, now an obsolete, run down tramp freighter converted to fusion — the "old sailors" hope for one more chance to show what they can do.


Main article: Eifelheim (novel)

Spiral Arm series[edit]

The January Dancer[edit]

This is a far future science fiction novel set in a universe populated with only humans and "pre-human" artifacts. It is told as a narrative presented with variations on English, Chinese, Indian, and Celtic words. The literary style has been described as extremely difficult to read due to the inclusion of non-English terms and historical accounts that are not common knowledge to most SF readers [1][2]. The characters in the story belong to 2 major factions of humanity: The United League of the Periphery, and the Confederacy of Central Worlds. The Confederacy is the remnant of Earth and its original colonies while the League is composed of the planets far out on the spiral arm of the galaxy. These two factions are in a galactic "cold war" and both have secretive pseudo-military agencies that feature prominently in the book. The story centers around the Confederacy and League agents seeking the answer to a mystery of the disappearance of ships in the rift between the spiral arm and the central worlds. The story's title comes from a "pre-human" artifact called the Dancer which is discovered early in the book. It exerts a subtle but very profound effect on various characters throughout the story. It is eventually revealed to be part of an ancient race of silicon based lifeforms called "The Folk of Sand and Iron" that have played a very significant but almost unknown role in human history. The story has three sequels [3]. The January Dancer was a finalist for the 2009 Prometheus Award.

Up Jim River[edit]

This 2010 novel is a sequel to The January Dancer. As some readers of Flynn had suspected, both The January Dancer and Up Jim River are set in the Firestar universe, many thousands of years in the future. This story continues the conflict between the Confederacy and the League of the Periphery but focuses more on the personal quest of one of the League agents. She disappears and her daughter and friends try to discover where she went and what she was seeking when she vanished. During their search the story reveals more of the politics between the League and Confederacy as well as personal history of all the main characters. The story concludes with a revelation of the history behind the Confederacy and its predecessor, the Commonwealth.[2][citation needed]

In the Lion's Mouth[edit]

Released in 2012. A sequel to both The January Dancer and Up Jim River. The third book in the Spiral Arm saga chronicles a story by one of the series main protagonists, a one time Confederacy agent. He is abducted and drawn into a civil war taking place within the Confederacy. His friends learn of his abduction and adventures from his abductor who comes to them seeking their help in a rescue mission. Throughout the story many details are revealed of the inner workings of the Confederacy, which is not discussed in any great detail in the first two novels. The story ends with a plan to rescue the protagonist and sets the stage for the fourth novel in the series.[3]

On the Razor's Edge[edit]

Released in 2013. Originally the second part of In The Lion's Mouth, it continues the story began in the previous books of the Spiral Arm series.


Flynn has been nominated for Hugo Awards seven times:

  • 1987 novella "Eifelheim"
  • 1988 novella "The Forest of Time"
  • 1995 novella "Melodies of the Heart"
  • 2005 novelette "The Clapping Hands of God"
  • 2007 novelette "Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth"
  • 2007 novel Eifelheim (Based on the 1987 novella)
  • 2015 novelette "The Journeyman: In the Stone House"

Flynn has twice won the Prometheus Award, first for his novel In the Country of the Blind, and then for the novel Fallen Angels, co-written with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, which also won the Seiun Award.

The story "House of Dreams" won a Theodore Sturgeon Award in 1998.

Michael Flynn was the first author winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Medal, a lifetime achievement award given by the Heinlein Society on the advice of its Awards Committee (Dr. Yoji Kondo, Chairman). Other Heinlein Medal winners include Greg Bear, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle.


Non fiction (chronological order)[edit]

  • "De revolutione scientarium in 'media tempestas'" Analog 127/7&8 (Jul/Aug 2007)

Short fiction (chronological order)[edit]



  • The Nanotech Chronicles (1991)
  • The Forest of Time and other stories (1997)


  1. ^ a b c Dozois, Gardner (1996). The Year's Best Science Fiction. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 109. 
  2. ^ Flynn, Michael (2010). Up Jim River. Tor. 
  3. ^ Flynn, Michael (2012). In the Lion's Mouth. Tor. 
  4. ^ "Compton Crook Award Winners". Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Writing Family Affair For Local Natives". The Morning Call (Allentown, PA). June 6, 1991. p. B03. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  • Flynn, Michael. The January Dancer; Macmillan, (2008).

External links[edit]