James P. Hogan - Rest in Peace

One of my favorite sci-fi authors passed away July 12, 2010 - James P. Hogan.  I was turned on to Hogan 10 years ago after reading his The Giants Novels - a three book series "Inherit the Stars", "The Gentle Giants of Ganymede", and "The Giant's Star".  I was wowed by his ability to make the scientific method into a gripping suspenseful novel.  Imagine if you will, a recent discovery on the moon of a human man dressed in a space suit of unknown origin.  Upon carbon dating, they find the man to be 50,000 years old - a fact that does not fit within any accepted theory of human origins.  So begins "Inherit the Stars".

A series of excellent books followed, including some of my favorites:  Code of the Lifemaker, The Immortality Option, Bug Park, The Genesis Machine, Entroverse, Cradle of Saturn, and Voyage from Yesteryear.  In these books, Hogan often employed the scientific method as a plot element or took forgotten and ridiculed scientific theories as drivers of the plot.  His heroes always displayed a respect for facts, a prodigious productivity, and a self-awareness of their accomplishments and pride there-in.  In the Code of the Lifemaker, Hogan shows how religion is nothing more than early attempts to understand the universe, but ultimately are self-defeating. When discussing political environments, Hogan often supported a limited role of government in controlling our lives.  It may not come as a huge surprise then, that in one of his novels, the main character dreams of his own heroes, one of which is Ayn Rand.

Hogan, born in London in 1941, was an engineer by training, but started writing science fiction after seeing a the movie 2001.  Upon completion of his first few novels, he moved to the United States and lived the life of writer, enjoying ever minute of it. As a great admirer of science, he was continuous dismayed at the junk science advocated as truth.  When not writing fiction, Hogan applied his writing abilities to cataloging junk theories and defending the proper method of scientific inquiry that leads to solid theories.  His boundless energy, gripping novels, and defense of science leave a legacy for many to admire and enjoy.


  1. Steve D7:38 PM

    Thanks for the great blog post in remembrance of James P. Hogan. He is also one of my favorite sci fi authors - I consider him the man who put the science back in science fiction. I’ve love the fact that his heroes were mostly scientists although in a couple of his books he showed that they were often naïve about human nature (The Endgame Enigma).

    Well if you want to know how the hyper drive used in so many sci fi novels was developed ‘The Genesis Machine’ is a good place to start. He had no qualms about coming up with a whole new theory of physics if necessary to write a good tale.

    I particularly enjoyed ‘Minds, Machines and Evolution’ an excellent collection of short stories - I would highly recommend it, if you haven’t already read it.

    Your list included a couple novels I haven’t yet read. I will add them to my reading list.

  2. Steve,

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hogan was at his best in his early novels. His later ones lost a bit of that edge but were enjoying reads none-the-less. Hope you enjoy some of his other works.