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S.M. Stirling
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S.M. Stirling

Stephen Michael Stirling is a Canadian-American science fiction and fantasy author.

Stirling was born in Metz, France on September 30, 1953 to an English mother and Canadian father. He has lived in several countries and currently resides in New Mexico in the United States with his wife Jan.

He is particulary adept at describing military situations and militaristic cultures, to the degree that some people assume his politics are right wing. On the other hand, he often describes people with cultural values significantly different from modern western views, especially with a more liberal attitude to sexuality, in a sympathetic (or at least neutral) way. One of his recurring topics is the influence of the culture on an individual's outlook and values, with a particular emphasis that most people and societies consider themselves to be (mostly) moral. He frequently collaborates with other authors, including David Drake, Jerry Pournelle and Anne McCaffrey.

Stirling is probably best-known for his Draka series of alternate history novels and the more recent Island in the Sea of Time time travel/alternate history trilogy. His novels Go Tell The Spartans and Prince of Sparta are cult novels of antiguerilla warfare among military officers.

The Draka novels postulate a slave-holding militaristic (white) African empire (founded by American Loyalists escaped to South Africa after the American Revolution) and follows its historical development through the 19th and 20th century. The Draka culture is remarkable for combining a strictly race- and class based hierarchical society with complete gender-equality (including female soldiers in integrated military units in combat roles) and a natural acceptance of nudity and (homo-)sexuality.

In Island in the Sea of Time the island of Nantucket is transported by an unknown physical process ("The Event," in the series) back in time into the Bronze Age circa 1200 BC (corresponding to the late Heroic Age of Greek mythology). The trilogy describes the conflict between the different factions of the island's population- some trying to dominate the world, others trying to better it- and the different Bronze Age civilizations. Dies the Fire (2004) shows the effects of The Event on the rest of the planet- the world Nantucket left behind- a world where electricity no longer works.

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