Richard Calder (writer)

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This article is about Richard Calder, the science fiction writer. For the CIA official, see Richard Calder.
Richard Calder
Born 1956
Occupation Writer
Nationality British
Genre Postcyberpunk Science Fiction

Richard Calder (born 1956, London) is a notable British science fiction writer who lives and works in the East End of London, but who spent over a decade in Thailand (1990–1997) and the Philippines (1999–2002).

Writing career[edit]

Calder began publishing stories in 1989, and first came to wider notice with the postcyberpunk novel Dead Girls (1992). Dead Girls expanded into an acclaimed trilogy of books, for which he was compared to William Gibson, J.G. Ballard and Alfred Bester.

Since 1992, he has produced a further nine novels, and about twenty short stories. A notable theme running through his work (most notably the 'Dead' trilogy) is agalmatophiliac male lust for young female gynoids, as well as the darker undercurrents of British national culture. His novels and stories have links and plot overlaps between one another, and together form a mythos. His "epic masterpiece" ("Reading Richard Calder", Claude Lalumière) is said to be Malignos (2000).

He cites as inspirations Angela Carter and Georges Bataille, among others.

He was interviewed in the magazine Interzone in August 2001 about the theme of escape and his own attempts to break away from, "the physical and psychological constraints of the cloying suburbia of his childhood." He said: The quest for metaphysical, or psychological homeland you mention, a place of fulfilment seems to end, for my heroes and heroines, in a debacle often involving some apocalyptic rendering of the world. But they do seem to discover something more important than the prospect of mind-blowing, Wagnerian transformation. And that something is tenderness.[1]

In 2004 Dead Girls was under option to an Australian film production company. Richard Calder was commissioned to draft a screenplay. When however the film did not materialise he got the idea to re-imagine the book as a graphic novel. This was published in 2014.It is illustrated by Filipino artist Leonardo M Giron who was introduced to Richard Calder by Terry Martin the editor of the quarterly magazine Murky Depths.[2] The graphic novel was originally serialised in the Murky Depths.



Short stories[edit]

La Traviata

Calder's short stories have been published almost exclusively by the magazine Interzone since 1989

  • Mosquito Interzone #32, Nov/Dec 1989, reprinted in Omni July 1990 and Interzone the 5th Anthology, 1991
  • The Lilim Interzone #34, Mar/Apr 1990
  • The Allure Interzone #40, Oct 1990, reprinted in The Best of Interzone, 1997
  • The Embarkation for Cythera Interzone #106, Apr 1996
  • Lost in Cathay Leviathan #2, The Ministry of Whimsy, 1998
  • Malignos Interzone #144, Jun 1999, nominated for BSFA Award
  • Impakto Interzone #150, Dec 1999, nominated for International Horror Guild Award
  • Lord Soho Interzone #154, Apr 2000
  • Incunabula Interzone #159, Sep 2000
  • The Lady of the Carnelias Interzone #161, Nov 2000
  • The Nephilim Interzone #164, Feb 2001
  • Roach Motel Interzone #166, Apr 2001
  • Espiritu Santo Interzone #170, Aug 2001
  • Zarzuela Interzone #178, Apr 2002
  • The Dark Interzone #181, Aug 2002
  • The Catgirl Manifesto: An Introduction Album Zutique #1, May 2003 (as 'Christina Flook') 2003 James Tiptree, Jr. Award Short List, reprinted in The James Tiptree Award Anthology 1, Tachyon Publications, 2005 Stabat Mater Lost Pages, 2003
  • Female Hyper-Orgasmic Epilepsy ('Black Orgasm') and The Ophidian Manifesto, or How I Met Dr Thackery T Lambshead Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases, The Ministry of Whimsy, 2003
  • After the Party Interzone #201, Dec 2005, #202, Feb 2006, #203, April 2006

Critical reactions[edit]

The Edge[3] said: "Richard Calder's 'Dead' trilogy was perhaps the most extraordinary of the many postcyberpunk science fictions."

Calder is a fine stylist, however, and the complex history and nano-biology he has created for his Dead novels is fascinating. The trilogy holds many rewards, cerebral and aesthetic, for those willing to persevere.Review of Dead Things in Publishers Weekly[4]

His Dead trilogy is analysed in the third section of the book Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought by Patricia Melzer (University of Texas Press, 2006). ISBN 978-0292713079

Calder refuses to romanticize or glorify his characters' unpleasantness, or even to be judgemental towards them. He invents repulsive characters and presents them with neither love nor contempt. Readers must deal with their reactions to his creations on their own...Where Calder is passionate is with the baroque and perverse qualities he invests into his fantastical settings. Calder's bizarre imagination and idiosyncratic prose style provide the momentum, perversely seducing with their fetishistic overindulgences. Review of Lord Soho by Claude Lalumière[5]

Impakto's trick is take the creakiest of plot structures and the crassest of clichés, and make something fabulously knowing about them...A kind of incitement, Calder's witty end to this stunning riot of retooled clichés suggests that imaginative ideas leak off the page and into readers' lives, just as religious beliefs had earlier leaked into the novel's multiverse. - Review by Matt Hills of Impakto in Interzone (magazine).[6]

For all Richard Calder's works share one thing in common - they could not have been written by anybody else. The universes contained within them are his alone. Interview by Charles Rudkin in Interzone (magazine).[7]

His work is also discussed in the books Consuming Youth: Vampires, Cyborgs and the Culture of Consumption by Robert Latham (University of Chicago Press, 2002),[8] and The Body's Perilous Pleasures: Dangerous Desires and Contemporary Culture edited by Michele Aaron (Edinburgh University Press, 1999) ISBN 978-0748609611


  1. ^ His Own Aesthetic Richard Calder interviewed by Charles Rudkin Interzone #170 August 2001, page 25
  2. ^ SFX Interview
  3. ^
  4. ^ Publishers Weekly
  5. ^ Claude Lalumière's Fantastic Fiction Originally published in the Montreal Gazette 21 September 2002
  6. ^ Interzone 185 January 2003 page 57
  7. ^ His Own Aesthetic Richard Calder interviewed by Charles Rudkin Interzone #170 August 2001, page 25
  8. ^ ISBN 978-0226468921

External links[edit]