Michael G. Coney


Michael G. Coney
BornMichael Greatrex Coney
28 September 1932
Birmingham, England
Died4 November 2005(2005-11-04) (aged 73)
Saanichton, British Columbia
OccupationAccountant, Management consultant, Hotel manager, BC Forest Services, Novelist
GenreScience fiction

Michael Greatrex Coney (September 28, 1932 - November 4, 2005) was a British science fiction writer, best known for his novel Hello Summer Goodbye.


Coney was born in Birmingham, England, on September 28, 1932. As an adult, he worked as an accountant, hotel manager, author and forest ranger. He was manager of the Jabberwock Hotel in Antigua in the West Indies from 1969-1972, and was resident there when his first professional story ("Sixth Sense") was published in the first issue of the short-lived science fiction magazine Vision of Tomorrow in 1969. He relocated to Sidney, British Columbia during 1972, spending the later half of his life in Canada. He worked as a forest ranger for the British Columbia Forest Service from 1973 to 1989, when he retired. He died at the age 73 of pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, on November 4, 2005 at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital palliative care unit.


A common element in Coney's work is that of ordinary people buffeted by forces beyond their strength, and mostly not much concerned with them. Most SF gives superior power to the main characters, or has them acquire it during the course of the tale. Coney satirised it in The Hero of Downways.

The stories also relate to the cultural concerns of the time. His first novel, Mirror Image (1972), intensified the American genre's Cold War emphasis on impostors and secret invaders; in this case the "amorphs", who are indistinguishable from terrestrials, are themselves convinced that they are human.[1]

After a first group of dystopian tales, Coney began to change his themes. His later works The Celestial Steam Locomotive and Gods of the Greataway could almost be set on a transfigured Vancouver Island.[2]

Another of Coney's themes concerns small isolated communities, as in The Hero of Downways, Winter's Children and Fang, the Gnome. In Syzygy the inhabitants of a small town, a fairly recent settlement on an alien planet, struggle to survive the hidden dangers of the planet's ecosystem; in Brontomek! the same characters a few years later face a wholly human threat.

A different perspective is seen in his "Hello Summer, Goodbye", an adventure/mystery among people who are not quite human, on a planet rather like Earth, but with significant differences. It is generally agreed to be his best novel.[1] I Remember Pallahaxi, a previously unpublished sequel to Hello Summer Goodbye, was published posthumously during 2007.

Brontomek! received the British Science Fiction Association award for best novel of 1976. He was nominated for a Nebula Award during 1995 for his novelette "Tea and Hamsters".



  • Mirror Image (1972)
  • Syzygy (1973)
  • Friends Come in Boxes (1973)
  • The Hero of Downways (1973)
  • Winter's Children (1974)
  • Monitor Found in Orbit (1974)
  • The Jaws that Bite, the Claws that Catch (1974; UK title The Girl with a Symphony in her Fingers)
  • Hello Summer, Goodbye (UK title, also known as Rax in USA, and Pallahaxi Tide in Canada; 1975)
  • Charisma (1975)
  • Brontomek! (1976)
  • The Ultimate Jungle (1979)
  • Neptune's Cauldron (1981)
  • Cat Karina (1982)
  • The Celestial Steam Locomotive (1983)
  • Gods of the Greataway (1984)
  • Fang, the Gnome (1988)
  • King of the Scepter'd Isle (1989)
  • A Tomcat Called Sabrina (1992)
  • No Place for a Sealion (1992
  • I Remember Pallahaxi (2007; sequel to Hello Summer, Goodbye — published posthumously)
  • Flower of Goronwy (2014; published posthumously)

The Celestial Steam Locomotive and Gods of the Greataway are two parts of a single tale, Cat Karina, Fang, the Gnome and King of the Scepter'd Isle are independent stories set in the same universe. Brontomek! is set on the same world as Syzygy (and has many of the same characters) and is also associated somewhat with Mirror Image and Charisma.


  • Forest Ranger, Ahoy! Porthole Press, Sidney BC, 1983.
  • Forest Adventure : a guide to the British Columbia Forest Museum. By Gray Campbell and Michael Coney. Porthole Press, Sidney BC, 1985.

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ a b Clute and Nicholls 1995, p. 257.
  2. ^ Obituary at www.multiverse.org Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine by John Clute


  • Clute, John and Peter Nicholls. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1993 (2nd edition 1995). ISBN 0-312-13486-X.

External links

  • A bibliography, in PDF
  • Michael G. Coney at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • Obituary in the Victoria Times Colonist.
  • Obituary in The Guardian
  • Obituary by John Clute
  • An interview given near the end of his life
  • A tribute at Lonely Cry
  • The True Worth of Ruth Villiers, a short story by Michael G. Coney, reproduced with permission on Cordula's Web