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Lucius Shepard (born August 21, 1947 in Lynchburg, Virginia[1]) is an American writer. Classified as a science fiction and fantasy writer, he often leans into other genres, such as magical realism. His work is infused with a political and historical sensibility and an awareness of literary antecedents. Shepard's first short stories appeared in 1983, and his first novel, Green Eyes, appeared in 1984. At the time, he was considered part of the cyberpunk movement. Shepard came to writing late, having first enjoyed a varied career, including a stint playing rock and roll in the Midwest and extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia.

Lucius Shepard has won several awards for his science fiction: in 1985 he won John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, followed in 1986 with a best novella Nebula Award for his story "R&R", which would later become part of his 1987 novel Life During Wartime. His novella "Barnacle Bill the Spacer" won a Hugo in 1993. His poem "White Trains" won the Rhysling Award in 1988.

Lucius Shepard currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

Themes and evolution

Shepard has embraced many different themes throughout his career. In his early work, he wrote extensively about Central America. This included clearly science-fictional stories about near future high-tech jungle war (such as "R&R" and "Salvador"), as well as stories that seemed more in line with magic realism. Many of these, such as "Black Coral" (which concerns an American living on an island off of Honduras) and "The Jaguar Hunter" (the story of a man whose wife's debt forces him to hunt a mythical black jaguar which his people consider sacred), explore cultural clashes. Shepard has traveled extensively in Central America and lived there for a time; in multiple interviews, he has stated his belief that the Bush Administration will launch an attack against that region.

Shepard stopped writing fiction for much of the 1990s. He returned near the end of that decade, producing such works as the novella Radiant Green Star, which won a Locus Award for Best Novella in 2001.[2]. Though he still writes Central American fiction, Shepard's interest seems to be moving north: he has recently published two short novels, "A Handbook of American Prayer" and "Viator", both set in North America. On that same note, he has recently published many works where culture and geography are secondary (his novella "Jailwise" is a prime example), preferring to focus on wider questions such as the role of justice in society.

Much of Shepard's recent work has been non-fiction. He researched the Freight Train Riders of America and spent time riding the rails, writing both fiction and non-fiction based on those experiences. He is also a regular movie reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and [1] His reviews are marked by general contempt for the current state of American film.

According to fellow author James Patrick Kelly, Shepard is an avid sports fan who has often used dramatic sports moments as inspiration to write [2].

Shepard is deeply dissatisfied with the current sociopolitical situation in the United States, and pessimistic about any prospects of change. In the summer of 2008, he moved to Neuchatel, Switzerland in order to work on several screenplays. He served on the jury of the Neuchatel International Festival of Fantastic Films (NIFFF) with the American director Joe Dante.


  1. ^ Despite official records, stories and articles published under his name from 1952-1955 in Collins Magazine indicate that he may be several years older than is officially claimed.
  2. ^ 2001 Locus Awards winners on Locus website



Novels & Novellas

  • Green Eyes (1984)
  • Life During Wartime (1987)
  • The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter (1988)
  • The Father of Stones (1988)
  • Kalimantan (1990)
  • The Golden (1993)
  • The Last Time (1995)
  • Valentine (2002)
  • Aztechs (2003)
  • Louisiana Breakdown (2003)
  • Colonel Rutherford’s Colt (2003)
  • Floater (2003)
  • Liar’s House (2004)
  • A Handbook of American Prayer (2004)
  • Viator (2004)
  • Trujillo (2005)
  • Softspoken (2007)
  • The Taborin Scale (2010)


  • The Jaguar Hunter (1987)
  • Nantucket Sleighrides (with Robert Frazier) (1988)
  • The Ends of the Earth (1990)
  • Sports & Music (1994)
  • Barnacle Bill the Spacer and Other Stories (1997; US title Beast of the Heartland)
  • Trujillo (2004)
  • Two Trains Running (2004)
  • Eternity and Other Stories (2005)
  • Dagger Key and Other Stories (2007)
  • The Best of Lucius Shepard (2008)
  • Skull City and Other Lost Stories (2008)
  • Vacancy & Ariel (2009)
  • Viator Plus (2010)


  • Weapons of Mass Seduction (2005)
  • With Christmas in Honduras: Men, Myths and Miscreants in Modern Central America (forthcoming)

Film reviews


  • Vermillion (1996-1997, comic book series: writer)

Work available online

External links


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