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Jack Laurence Chalker (December 17, 1944 – February 11, 2005) was an American science fiction author. Chalker was also a Baltimore City Schools history teacher in Maryland for 12 years, retiring in 1978 to write full-time. He also was a member of the Washington Science Fiction Association and was involved in the founding of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Some of his books said that he was born in Norfolk, Virginia although he later claimed that was a mistake; he attended high school at the Baltimore City College. Chalker earned a BA degree in English from Towson University in Towson, Maryland, where he was a theater critic on the school, The Towerlight. In 2003, Towson University named Chalker their Liberal Arts Alumni of the Year. He received a MLA from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Chalker intended to become a lawyer, but financial problems led to him teaching instead. He taught history and geography in the Baltimore City Public Schools from 1966 to 1978, most notably at Baltimore City College and the now closed Southwest Senior High School. Chalker lectured on science fiction and technology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and numerous universities.

Chalker was married in 1978 and had two sons.

Chalker’s hobbies included esoteric audio, travel, and working on science-fiction convention committees. He also had a great interest in ferryboats, at his fiancee’s suggestion, their marriage was performed on the Roaring Bull boat, part of the Millersburg Ferry, in the middle of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

Chalker joined the Washington Science Fiction Association in 1958, and in 1963 he and two friends founded the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Chalker attended every World Science Fiction Convention, bar one, from 1965 until 2004. He published an amateur SF journal, Mirage, from 1960 to 1971 (a Hugo nominee in 1963 for Best Fanzine), producing ten issues another journal, Interjection, ran 1968–1987 in association with the Fantasy Amateur Press Association. Chalker also founded a publishing house, Mirage Press, Ltd., for releasing nonfiction and bibliographic works on science fiction and fantasy.

Chalker enjoyed reading authors such as Eric Frank Russell, James White, Philip José Farmer, Raymond F. Jones, Robert A. Heinlein, and Jack Vance.

Chalker’s awards included the Daedalus Award (1983), The Gold Medal of the West Coast Review of Books (1984), Skylark Award (1980), and the Hamilton-Brackett Memorial Award (1979. He was a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award twice and for the Hugo Award twice. Chalker was posthumously awarded the Phoenix Award by the Southern Fandom Confederation on April 9, 2005.

In 1967, Chalker founded the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and he was a three term treasurer of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Chalker was also the co-author (with Mark Owings) of The Science Fantasy Publishers (third edition in 1991, updated annually), published by Mirage Press, Ltd, a bibliographic guide to genre small press publishers which was a Hugo Award nominee in 1992. The Maryland Young Writers Contest, sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society,was renamed “‘The Jack L. Chalker Young Writers Contest” effective April 8, 2006.

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januar 2nd, 2011 at 8:00 am

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