Hasford, (Jerry) Gustav

    US writer who began publishing fantasy stories with "Heartland" for Orbit 16 (anth 1975) ed Damon Knight, but most of whose work of interest was generated by his time as a combat correspondent in Vietnam, where he observed the 1968 Tet offensive.  Like Norman Mailer (1923-     ), he had gone to war in his teens with the express purpose of writing about it, and his first novel, The Short-Timers (1979), successfully deploys HORROR and fantasy elements to describe a world as crazy as the one that allowed the war to happen.  GHOST tanks roll across blasted landscapes, M-14s whisper instructions to their adolescent familiars, and DEMON snipers pick off entire patrols.  For the movie version -- Full Metal Jacket (1987) dir Stanley Kubrick -- Hasford received co-credit for the screen adaptation.  In the book's sort-of sequel, The Phantom Blooper (1990), the voice of a turncoat Marine haunts a ravaged Vietnam LANDSCAPE.
    Gus Hasford was a maverick of enormous energy, part of it spent in stealing a reported 800 library books from around the world (for which he eventually served time in prison).  His death was hastened by untreated diabetes.

written by Scott Bradfield

 from The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
edited by John Clute and John Grant
St. Martin's Griffin, 1997

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