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Author Biography - Trevor Hoyle

Background:

Trevor Hoyle worked as an actor, an advertising copywriter and a lecturer in creative writing, before becoming a full-time writer, mainly of novels and short stories. He also wrote and presented a weekly arts programme and documentaries for Granada TV. Since the mid-seventies he has published a wide range of fiction from mainstream novels (for John Calder) to speculative fiction, including The Last Gasp, which was a Doubleday Book Club Selection in the US and is now under option in Hollywood.

More recently he has written for radio, winning the Radio Times Drama Award with his first play GIGO. The actor in the title role of his play Randle's Scandals won the Sony Award in 1993. Other prizes include the winning British entry in the "Transatlantic Review" short story competition and the Ray Mort Northern Novel Award.

In 2003 his novel Rule of Night, originally published in 1975, was reissued by Pomona to critical acclaim, named as Time Out's Book of the Week and receiving a five-star rating in The Big Issue and reviews in the Guardian and City Life. Currently he is working on a novel The Kingdom of Darkness and compiling a collection of short stories titled Hard Shoulders/Soft Verges.


Critique:

Trevor Hoyle, most noted for his works of science fiction, is author of speculative novels, such as Vail, The Last Gasp, and The Man Who Travelled on Motorways. In the late 1970s he gained recognition for his "Q" series, featuring Christian Queghan, a scientific investigator possessing the ability to journey through time as well as to hypothetical worlds. Seeking the Mythical Future depicts Queghan placed into a parallel universe where humans and dinosaurs are contemporaries and where those unwilling to conform to rigidly policed thoughts and beliefs are thrown into Psychological Concentration Camps. In Through the Eye of Time, a group of scientists attempting to duplicate the human brain have chosen that of Adolf Hitler as their prototype. Investigating the research, Queghan unveils an alternate universe in which Germany (as opposed to the United States) developed the first atomic bomb. Queghan's quest becomes to enter this other reality in an attempt to avert the threat it poses to the known reality. The third volume, The Gods Look Down, tells of Queghan working with another scientist on decoding texts from ancient history. Upon realizing that his colleague is seeking to alter history using the results of the research, Queghan draws upon his ability to pass into alternate realities in an attempt to stop him.

Vail is a black comedy set in a dreary, futuristic Britain. The work tells of how the title character loses both his wife and daughter in a highway accident and later arrives in London, where he is drawn into a sinister, scheming world. Populated by the off-beat, the bizarre, and the morally corrupt, the city defies conventional urban activity. While Vail seeks to sustain his belief in a larger order of things through much of the work, he is ultimately engulfed by the growing anarchy surrounding him. British Book News contributor Martin Seymour-Smith found Vail reminiscent of anti-utopian works such as George Orwell's novel 1984, the motion picture A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick, and, most of all, the novel We, a critique of the former Soviet Union by Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin. "The popular reflexes of blitz patriotism and cheque-book journalists' voyeurism jump off the page," commented Times Literary Supplement contributor Neville Shack, concluding that "the extremism of all this serves a comedy which is even blacker than ... diesel."

In The Last Gasp, British marine biologist Gavin Chase uncovers a potential global disaster in which the world is being drained of its oxygen supply as forests and oceanic microscopic plant life, the main suppliers of the planet's oxygen, dwindle away. When Chase and two other scientists attempt to notify the government and scientific community, they stumble upon a secret Russian-American plan to launch an "environmental war" in which three quarters of the earth's population would be exterminated in order to provide oxygen for the remaining population. Comparing Hoyle's writing to that of Aldous Huxley, Washington Post reviewer Carol Van Strum commented that "The Last Gasp reads more like a documentary thriller than science fiction." She also noted that it was a "landmark in the emerging field of eco-fiction."

In The Man Who Travelled on Motorways, the narrator, a literary anti-hero, falls victim to a series of psychoses while driving through the commonplace landscapes of Manchester, London, and South Lancashire, in England. His condition generates memory distortion and triggers vivid fantasies. The novel also incorporates sex scenes, in which the narrator exploits women to satisfy his personal needs, and elements of science fiction, such as a character described in the book as residing in "a different spacetime continuum." Terming the work "an experimental `mainstream' novel," Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review contributor Richard Mathews found it to be "strongly written, cautiously experimental, with an impressive characterization of the narrator."

Hoyle told CA: "Much of my full-length fiction has been concerned with `speculative' subjects, such as the precarious ecology of the planet and its eventual, possible demise due to mankind's greed and short-sightedness (e.g.: The Last Gasp)."

Books Authored:

  • Rule of Night [reissue] Pomona 2003
  • Mirrorman Virgin Publishing 1999
  • Blind Needle Calder Publications 1994.
  • K.I.D.S. Berkley Books 1990
  • Vail John Calder 1984.
  • The Last Gasp Crown Publishing [US] 1983
      Paperback: HarperCollins Publishing Group: 1990
  • The Stigma Sphere 1980
  • Earth Cult Granada 1979 Zebra Books [US] 1979
  • The Man Who Travelled on Motorways Calder Publications 1979
  • Rock Fix Futura Publications 1977
  • Seeking the Mythical Future Panther Books 1977
  • The Gods Look Down Panther Books 1977
  • Through the Eye of Time Panther Books 1977
  • Rule of Night Futura Publications 1975
  • The Hard Game New English Library 1973
  • The Adulterer New English Library 1972
  • The Relatively Constant Copywriter Northern Writers 1972
  • Books Authored with Pseudonym:
  • Bullet Train. Joseph Rance (Trevor Hoyle) William Morrow 1980
      Hardback: Souvenir Press: 1980.
      Paperback: Dell Publishing: 1981.

TV and Radio Scripts:

  • Blake's 7: Ultraworld. BBC TV
  • Whatever Happened to the Heroes Granada TV
  • The Birthday Party BBC Radio 4
  • Conflagration BBC Radio 4
  • GIGO BBC Radio 4 (winner Radio Times Drama Award)
  • The Dying Art of Letter Writing BBC Radio 4
  • Randle's Scandals BBC Radio 4 (winner Sony Best Actor Award)

Contact Trevor Hoyle:

www.trevorhoyle.com

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