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  • John Varley


Short fiction.

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We Bought a Tesla!

Here’s what happened. Lee came across what looked like a tiny, yellowing IOU at the bottom of some ancient records. It was from the Tooth Fairy, and she said she was a little short of cash and would pay me a dime the next night. It was dated May 8, 1954. I was seven! She’s still in business, you know, the Tooth Fairy, so Lee tracked her down and demanded payment. The old biddy was not ...

Looking Back

Route 66 Reversed

Route 66 Reversed

Researching it, I found that the original terminus of the highway was downtown Los Angeles, but many changes were made to the route as the years went by, and the final version, just before the number 66 was retired, ended at the ocean, at the end of Santa Monica Boulevard. So that’s where we’ll begin our retro journey …

Titan by John Varley

Titan is first in Varley’s epic Gaean Trilogy. It was finalist for both Hugo and Nebula awards.

Gaea is a world within a world – impossible, bizarre, an endless landscape inhabited by creatures out of legend. Gaea is a goddess, sometimes whimsical, sometimes malign and always terrifying. But she is also three million years old and her powers are ...

How I Won the War

Oh, my, how long I have waited to see this film again. It has never been available in NTSC video, but I stumbled on this at Movie Madness (“The Biggest Video Store in the World!”) in a PAL version that the clerk said would play on my Blu-Ray. And it did.

I’m not saying it’s a masterpiece. It isn’t. But I am a huge fan of Richard Lester, and this was the only film of his I hadn’t ...

The Persistence of Vision by John Varley

The Persistence of Vision

This is Varley’s first story collection — a multiple award winner. It won the Locus Award and the Prix Apollo for Best Single Author Collection. The title story also won a Locus Award and a Hugo and a Nebula. Five other stories were near awards.

PBS turned “ Overdrawn at the Memory Bank ” into a 3-(out of ...

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

There are many lessons to learn, and many ways to learn them.

PBS turned “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank” into a 3-(out of 10)-Star, made-for-TV movie starring Raul Julia .

Titan: An Overview

A short overview of Titan

A Short Overview of Titan

Here's a very short but quite impressive video made by Jean-Paul Verne, a fly-through of Gaea from my trilogy. M. Verne wants to be involved if a movie ever gets made. Over the years many, many people have written to me wishing these books would be made into a movie. Naturally, I'd like that, too. Let's hope this is not as close as we'll ever get.

Accidental Hippies

'Gothic Dreams' by Chris Kingsley

Sometime not long after my high school graduation I was studying at Michigan State University when my long-time girlfriend dumped me. I entered such a state of depression that I could not continue in college. So I dropped out and decided to hit the road with Chris Kingsley, my best friend in the world. Chris had much more experience of life on the road than I did, had actually hitched to ...

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Background image 'Gaea 001' by Marcus Trahan Copyright © 2013 by Powerhouse VFX.

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John Varley Books

john varley books

John Varley (1947) is an American science fiction writer. He is best known for his 1978 short story collection The Persistence of Vision the title story of which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. His 1992 novel Steel Beach part of his Eight Worlds Series was also nominated for both the Hugo and Locus awards.



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Title: Mammoth, Author: John Varley

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Title: The John Varley Reader: Thirty Years of Short Fiction, Author: John Varley

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Title: When Worlds Collide, Author: Philip Wylie

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John Varley Books In Order

Publication order of eight worlds books, publication order of gaea trilogy books, publication order of metal books, publication order of thunder and lightning books, publication order of standalone novels, publication order of short story collections, publication order of chapbooks, publication order of mondo books, publication order of isaac asimov's anthology books, publication order of anthologies.

John Varley is a bestselling science fiction author best known for his novels on Big Ideas, compelling characters, and plausible science. He wrote his first piece of fiction “Picnic on Nearside,” a short story in 1974 before he published his world-beating debut novel “The Ophiuchi Hotline” in 1977. His “Eight World” series that would become his most popular is about the future in a densely populated solar system, sentient black holes, gigantic themes, fluid genders, mind uploading and more. Varley was brought up in Austin Texas, and spent much of his childhood on a farm where he used to run behind DDT spraying trucks getting bitten by mosquitoes. Varley got out of the hellish humidity of his hometown when he won the National Merit Scholar and went to study Physics at Michigan State University. He soon dropped out of college and spent a year on the road with a friend before ending up in San Francisco. After a failed attempt at becoming a hippie, he went back to crisscrossing the country until he decided to become a science fiction author in 1973.

Over the years, Varley has written several novels and a ton of short stories though his first attempt titled “Gas Giant” was pretty terrible. After four years struggling to become an author, he had a breakthrough when he got “The Ophiuchi Hotline” published in 1977. However, his short story “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank” had been a major success in 1974 and it went on to be adapted for television in 1983. It was this success that gave him the motivation to publish his debut that would become the foundation for his most successful “Eight Worlds” series of novels. His works have often been compared to those of Robert Heinlein, given the similarities in aspects of free love, free societies, and descriptive writing styles. In the “Thunder and Lightning” series, he derives many of his characters such as Polly, Jubal Cassie, Manuel Garcia, and Podkayne from Heinlein. His novels also include routine sex changes and prominent female characters. While he achieved much success with his novels, John Varley took a decade long hiatus and worked in Hollywood for a time. He made good money writing scripts but his most significant work during this time was the screenplay Millennium that he adapted from his bestselling short story Air Raid. It is for his novels and short stories that he is best known as he is the winner of several Nebula, Hugo and Locus awards among many others over the years.

For a time, John Varley lived in Portland Oregon where he met his first editor Lee Emmett who he asserts is one of the best editors he has ever had. The lived in a nice apartment in the suburbs together with Cirocco their nineteen-year-old dog. They then spent several years going from a motorhome on California’s Central Coast to Little Armenia or Thai Town in Hollywood before finally settling down in Vancouver, Washington.

“The Ophiuchi Hotline” by John Varley is a boisterous science fiction story set in a future where humanity has colonized all eight planets of the solar system. But humanity does not have access to Earth, the most comfortable of the planets ever since it was conquered by aliens with superior technologies. They had not bothered to kill anyone but the destruction of Earth’s infrastructure had made starvation of the billions that were left behind inevitable. The human race had been traumatized but had picked up the pieces and had managed to become stronger by spreading across the solar system. They had also made a home on a region near the furthest planet Pluto, where they learned how to pick up transmissions that laid out advanced techniques and knowledge. This knowledge would help them skip a few hundred years of arduous technological development. Their government believes they no longer need Earth given how much they have advanced away from the devastated planet. But some still dream of reconquering their pleasant home. In the meantime, the party that has been supplying the transmissions that had enabled them to develop in leaps and bounds is demanding payment for centuries of information provided. It is in these circumstances that a geneticist named Lilo Alexandr Calypso who has been using information from the Opiuchi hotline is introduced.

“Steel Beach” by John Varley is a novel set in the “Eight Series” world, where humanity was evicted from their homeland on planet Earth by alien invaders. The lead in the novel is a newspaper reporter named Hildy Johnson who lives on Luna. Luna had become the most important and most populous civilization since the invasion. Hildy calls it the Bulwark of the Race, the Front Line of the Planet and Refuge of Humanity. It is also the frontline if the alien invaders decide to come back and try to wipe out the human race from the Galaxy. While it is on Earth’s doorstep, the people on Luna hardly think of the aliens who are now living on Earth since they have never stepped foot on the planet in two centuries. Most of them have grown complacent and lazy since their world is run by a central benevolent supercomputer that ensures all their needs are met. As such, Earth is a distant memory, particularly when they read about how they had to work and fend for themselves on the planet they once called home. However, all is not well as Hildy who attempts several suicides learns that the leading cause of death in her society is suicide. Even worse is the acknowledgment of depression by the central computer that should be immune to any emotion.

John Varley’s “The Golden Globe” is a novel with one of the most intriguing characters in science fiction. Kenneth Valentine, otherwise known as Sparky is a washed-out television star who now wanders the solar system as a thief, conman, itinerant thespian and miscreant. At the start of the novel, he is performing on a planet just beyond Pluto, where a production of Romeo and Juliet has been organized. Since the thespian that is supposed to play Juliet is not feeling well, he offers to play both Mercutio and Juliet. But he is forced to leave for Pluto, where he is soon back to his old ways as he engaged in conmanship and acting alongside other illegal activities to make some money. But then he learns that a production of King Lear had contacted one of the most famous directors who is also his friend to work with them. The only problem is that the production is happening on the moon and there is not enough time to get there. It also becomes apparent that there are several other parties apart from the detective looking for him. He is forced to leave Pluto as he travels the solar system hoping to get to the Moon and stay one step ahead of his detractors. Similar to the second novel in the series it has a sardonic and cartoony aspect that is evocative of Terry Pratchett.

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Books by John Varley and Complete Book Reviews

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Book List in Order: 25 titles

The Ophiuchi Hotline

The invaders came in 2050…They did not kill anyone outright. they said they came on behalf of the intelligent species of Earth -- dolphins and whales. The Invaders quietly destroyed...

The Persistence of Vision

THE PERSISTENCE OF VISION presents the most striking of Varley's work--the stories that created what critic Spider Robinson called "the most thorough blitzkrieg since the Beatles' first U.S. tour, and a similarly pleasant one." Whether exploring ...


Here is TITAN: the alien that is, itself, a world. Here is TITAN: the heralded new novel by SF's most spectacular new talent, the Hugo and Nebula Award winner who has been compared by Isaac Asimov with the early Heinlein. Here is TITAN: the story o...


WIZARD returns us to the awesome interior of Gaea, the world-sized alien first encountered in Varley's monumental bestseller, TITAN. Gaea's discoverer, Cirocco "Rocky" Jones, is now herself an inhabitant, plotting wizardry in the remote highlands be...

The Barbie Murders

Blue Champagne

Berkley mass paperback, 1st printing Nov. 1986, ISBN 0425093360, 290 pages, cover art by Todd Cameron Hamilton. 8vo (6.75" x 4.25") 1987 Locus Poll Award, Best Collection (Place: 1). 8 stories, 2 original; 4 of them (incl. 2 longest novellas) belong ...


The epic conclusion to Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author John Varley's Gaean Trilogy...Gaea, the world and goddess, has gone insane. She has trapped humans in her mind. She has transformed her love of old movies into monstrous realities. She is Ma...

Press Enter

The Science Fiction Book Club Collection Press Enter by John Varley and Illustrated by Bob Eggleton is a small bu powerful little book. Press Enter won both the Hugo and the Nebula Award in 1984. In a sense it is the direct descendant of Roger Zelazn...

Picnic On Nearside

A collection of short stories from the Hugo and Nebula award-winning author who "has the imagination of six ordinary science fiction writers" (George R.R. Martin) -- John Varley. Picnic on Nearside includes nine astonishing stories from an au...


To Louise Baltimore and her fellow citizens of Earth in the 99th century, life offers bleak prospects. The world is on its deathbed, dying from the accumulated poisons of one too many wars. Suicide is common, since convincing reasons for hanging arou...

The Star Pit

Fleeing Earth after an alien invasion, the human race stands on the threshold of evolution, like a fish cast on artificial shores. Their new home is Luna, a moon colony blessed with creature comforts, prolonged lifespans, digital memories, and instan...


A science fiction superhero anthology features Alan Dean Foster's "Earth Spirit," Roger Zelazny's "Hugh Glass," Lawrence Watt-Evans's "Captain Cosmos," Michael A. Stackpole's "Revenant," and John Varley's "Bolshoiman." Reprint....

The Golden Globe

All the universe is a stage...and Sparky Valentine is its itinerant thespian. He makes his way from planet to planet as part of a motley theater troupe, bringing Shakespeare--a version of it anyway--to the outer reaches of Earth's solar system. Spark...

Red Thunder

The loss of the Mars-bound Ares Seven ship was the final blow to the U.S. space program. Everyone's accepted that the Chinese will be the first to reach the Red Planet. Well, almost everyone. In a deserted Daytona warehouse, seven suburban misf...

The John Varley Reader

From the moment John Varley burst onto the scene in 1974, his short fiction was like nothing anyone else was writing. His stories won every award the science fiction field had to offer, many times over. His first collection, The Persistence of Vision...


Stumbling upon a perfectly frozen wooly mammoth in the northern wilds of Canada, a mammoth hunter is stunned when he finds the mummified body of a Stone Age man, dating from around 12,000 years ago, next to the mammoth, a corpse wearing a modern-day ...

Red Lightning

The son of one of the first men to fly to Mars and back, Ray Garcia-Strickland is now a disgruntled Martian, tired of the Red Planet's overdevelopment and the gravity-dependent tourist Earthies. But that doesn't stop him from fearing the worst when E...

Rolling Thunder

Lieutenant Patricia Kelly Elizabeth Podkayne Strickland-Garcia-Redmond -- otherwise known as Podkayne -- is the third generation of her family to set foot on Mars, and she has a planet-sized chip on her shoulder. Her grandfather Manny was one of the ...

Slow Apocalypse

Despite wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 9/11, the United States’ dependence on foreign oil has kept the nation tied to the Middle East. A scientist has developed a cure for America’s addiction -- a slow-acting virus that feeds on petro...

Good-Bye Robinson Crusoe and Other Stories

This stellar collection by John Varley contains eleven provocative, utterly distinctive stories and novellas. None of them are currently available in any other book. Some have been unavailable in any form for twenty-five years or more. The result is ...

Dark Lightning

John Varley returns to his Thunder and Lightning series with a novel of how one man’s volatile genius could alter a starship’s epic plunge into a future where human survival is just a theory… On a voyage to New Earth, the starship Rolling Th...

Irontown Blues

From a master of science fiction comes a brand-new noir novel set in the Eight Worlds universe, where a detective hunts for the biohackers who have created a dangerous new disease. Christopher Bach was a policeman in one of the largest Lunar citie...

The Thunder and Lightning Series

Red Thunder, Red Lightning, and Rolling Thunder -- “action-packed, science-packed homages to Heinlein’s best work” -- now in one volume (Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing).   Enjoy all three novels in Hugo and Nebula Award"winning author John V...

Award-Winning Books by John Varley

Frequently asked questions (faq), how many books has john varley written, when will the next book by john varley be released, what was the first book written by john varley, does john varley write books in series, author series, top authors in action adventure.

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  1. John Varley

    John Varley ; VarleyLog. We Bought a Tesla! ; Looking Back. John Varley goes Metro. Hollywood Diary – Part 1 ; Novels. Millennium by John Varley. Millennium ; Movie

  2. List of books by author John Varley

    Books by John Varley ; Wizard 0441900674 Book Cover. Wizard · $3.59 ; Demon (Gaea 3) 0425082717 Book Cover. Demon (Gaea 3) · $3.99 ; The Ophiuchi Hotline 0425071928

  3. John Varley (author)

    NovelsEdit ; 2008, Rolling Thunder, Thunder and Lightning ; 2012, Slow Apocalypse ; 2014, Dark Lightning, Thunder and Lightning ; 2018, Irontown Blues, Eight Worlds

  4. John Varley: books, biography, latest update

    Books · The John Varley Reader: Thirty Years of Short Fiction · Rolling Thunder (The Thunder and Lightning Series) · Dark Lightning (Thunder and Lightning Series

  5. List of Books by John Varley

    Language ; Title: Mammoth, Author: John Varley · Mammoth · 4.1 out of 5 stars. 12 reviews ; Title: Titan, Author: John Varley · Titan · 4.4 out of

  6. John Varley

    John Varley ; Novels. Millennium · 1983 · Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo · 1991 ; Omnibus. Quantum Special 1 · 1979 · Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo / The Star Pit

  7. John Varley Books In Order

    Publication Order of Eight Worlds Books ; The Ophiuchi Hotline, (1977), Hardcover Paperback Kindle ; The Persistence of Vision, (1977), Hardcover Paperback Kindle.

  8. John Varley (Author of Titan)

    Series by John Varley ; Titan Wizard Demon · Gaea Trilogy ; The Ophiuchi Hotline Steel Beach The Golden Globe Irontown Blues · Eight Worlds ; Red Thunder Red

  9. Books by John Varley and Complete Book Reviews

    Books by John Varley and Complete Book Reviews ; Steel Beach. John Varley, Author Putnam Publishing Group $22.95 (479p) ISBN 978-0-399-13759-4 ; Dark Lightning.

  10. John Varley Book & Series List

    Eight Worlds. 1 - Steel Beach (Jul-1992) 2 - The Ophiuchi Hotline (Apr-1977) 3 - The Golden Globe (Oct-1998) 4 - Irontown Blues (Sep-2018)