AustLit logo
George Turner George Turner i(A24113 works by) (a.k.a. George Reginald Turner; G.R. Turner)
Born: Established: 16 Oct 1916 Melbourne, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 1997 Ballarat, Ballarat area, Ballarat - Bendigo area, Victoria,
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


George Turner was born in Melbourne, but spent the first six years of his life in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. After returning to Melbourne he was educated at several schools before beginning work in 1933 as an office boy at The Herald and Weekly Times. He was dismissed four years later and worked as a casual waiter until 1939 when he joined the army, serving in the Middle East, Africa and New Guinea.

After the war Turner worked in Wangaratta, Victoria, as an employment officer, a factory hand, and a laboratory assistant while working sporadically on his first novel, Young Man of Talent (1959). Turner's first novels attracted little attention, but his third novel, The Cupboard under the Stairs, was widely admired, winning the Miles Franklin Award in 1962. Moving back to Melbourne to work as an employment officer for Volkswagen, Turner completed his Treelake tetralogy, a series set in a fictional Victorian town of that name. But despite this success, it took Turner almost a decade to find a publisher for his last mainstream novel, Transit of Cassidy (1979). Except for the autobiographical In the Heart or in the Head (1984), Turner would write science fiction for the remainder of his life.

A science fiction addict, Turner began writing reviews and criticism for the Australian Science Fiction Review in 1967. When he published his first science fiction novel in 1978 he had become a highly regarded critic and reviewer, appearing regularly in science fiction magazines and the Melbourne Age. He wrote eight science fiction novels, consolidating his international reputation with with a Commonwealth Writers prize and an Arthur C. Clarke Award for The Sea and Summer (1987). In 1997, his death from a stroke was mourned by science fiction fans all over the world.

Turner's published essays include: 'Frederick Pohl as a Creator of Future Societies' (Steller Gauge, 1980).

Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

1994 A. Bertram Chandler Award
1986 winner Ditmar Awards William Atheling Jr Award For 'Neuromancer' [review?]
1981 joint winner Ditmar Awards William Atheling Jr Award For 'Samuel Delany: Victim of Great Applause, published in SF Commentary no.58, February 1980.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Genetic Soldier New York (City) : William Morrow , 1994 Z81123 1994 single work novel science fiction

'In a distant future, on an Earth populated by a scant few hundred thousand humans, the Atkins’s Thomas performs without question the duties for which he was genetically bred. Called “Soldier” by one and all, he is a man of honor and ability, responsible for keeping the peace, for maintaining the status quo . . . and, most important, for guarding the great Book House on the hill – a vast repository of Last Culture knowledge presided over by Libary, Soldier’s mentor, the most senior of the mystic Celibate scholars.

'Such is Thomas’s life in the serene, semi-primitive world without nations and cities and governments – until the night the starship comes home. Having fled a dangerously overcrowded Earth years before the Collapse and the Twilight that followed, for seven centuries the men and women of the space-going vessel Search have been combing the galaxy for inhabitable planets – their aging processes dramatically slowed by the relative magic of light speed travel and cryogenic sleep. And now, lonely and frustrated, the weary voyagers have returned to a homeworld unrecognizably altered by the relentless tides of time – a world that does not want them back.

'A bitter welcome awaits the Searchers, as old Libary gathers Earth’s Ordinands and Elders together to tap the terrifying power of the collective unconscious – in preparation of the Carnival night when they will sweep the helpless intruders back to their lonely sky in the name of Holy Science. And it is Soldier who stands in the middle, silent and alone – bound by duty to evict the homesick star-travelers . . . yet cursed by a preordained genetic destiny that has decreed their eviction will mean Soldier’s death.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Orion ed.).

1995 shortlisted Ditmar Awards Best Novel
1994 honour list James Tiptree, Jr Award
y separately published work icon The Destiny Makers New York (City) : William Morrow , 1993 Z495344 1993 single work novel science fiction

'In the era of “the big squeeze” – when an environmentally ravaged Earth groans beneath the weight of twelve billion people – two men control the destiny of humankind. One was recently senile…the other is going insane.

'In the year 2069, with the Earth’s population dangerously out of control, procreation and the medical treatment of terminal illness are the two most heinous crimes against society. But behind the doors of the top secret Biophysical Institute, an old man has been illegally cured of the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and made artificially younger – to serve the unspecified purposes of Premier Jeremy Beltane, one of the world’s most powerful leaders.

'A member of the underprivileged “Wardie” class, Detective Sergeant Harry Ostrov has been assigned to serve as a guardian to the mysteriously rejuvenated nonagenarian – and entrusted with a devastating secret that could topple the unstable “Minder” government. But once within the confines of the Beltane family enclave, the dedicated police officer is dragged deeper and deeper into a lethal mire of scandal, corruption, political outrage, and moral dilemma – sworn to silence even as he observes his nation’s ruler, a man ultimately responsible for the future of civilization, descend steadily into depression, uncertainty . . . and madness.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Orion ed.).

'The story is told mainly from the vantage point of Melbourne policeman Harry Ostrov, who becomes embroiled, via protecting the illegally rejuvenated father of the Victorian Premier, in a massive conspiracy of a "final solution" that not only involves Australia but also the rest of the world' (Colin Steele, SF Commentary No 77, p.52).

1994 winner Ditmar Awards Best Novel
y separately published work icon Brain Child New York (City) : M. S. Mill and William Morrow , 1991 Z504839 1991 single work novel science fiction crime

'David Chance, the unknowing offspring of a long-forgotten experiment that produced genetically engineered child geniuses, learns terrible secrets about his own conception and discovers the horrifying course that human history is taking.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1992 shortlisted Ditmar Awards Best Novel

Known archival holdings

Albinski 224
Last amended 12 Jun 2014 15:02:07
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: