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James Patrick Hogan (born 27 June 1941) is a British science fiction author.
Hogan was born in London, England. He was raised in the Portobello Road area on the west side of London. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, he worked various odd jobs until, after receiving a scholarship, he began a five-year program at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough covering the practical and theoretical sides of electrical, electronic, and mechanical engineering. He first married at the age of twenty, and he has had three other subsequent marriages and fathered six children.
Hogan worked as a design engineer for several companies and eventually moved into sales in the 1960s, travelling around Europe as a sales engineer for Honeywell. In the 1970s he joined the Digital Equipment Corporation's Laboratory Data Processing Group and in 1977 moved to Boston, Massachusetts to run its sales training program. He published his first novel, Inherit the Stars, in the same year to win an office bet. He quit DEC in 1979 and began writing full time, moving to Orlando, Florida, for a year where he met his third wife Jackie. They then moved to Sonora, California.
Hogan's style of science fiction is usually hard science fiction. In his earlier works he conveyed a sense of what science and scientists were about. His philosophical view on how science should be done comes through in many of his novels; theories should be formulated based on empirical research, not the other way around. If a theory does not match the facts, it is theory that should be discarded, not the facts. This is very evident in the Giants series, which begins with the discovery of a 50,000 year-old human body on the Moon. This discovery leads to a series of investigations, and as facts are discovered, theories on how the astronaut's body arrived on the Moon 50,000 years ago are elaborated, discarded, and replaced.
Hogan's fiction also reflects anti-authoritarian social views. Many of his novels have strong anarchist or libertarian themes, often promoting the idea that new technological advances render certain social conventions obsolete. For example, the effectively limitless availability of energy that would result from the development of controlled nuclear fusion would make it unnecessary to limit access to energy resources. In essence, energy would become free. This melding of scientific and social speculation is clearly present in the novel Voyage from Yesteryear (strongly influenced by Eric Frank Russell's famous story "And Then There Were None"), a high-tech anarchist society in the Alpha Centauri system, a starship sent from Earth by a dictatorial government, and the events following their first contact. The story features concepts of civil disobedience, post scarcity and gift economy.