Mark Clifton (1906–1963) was an American science fiction writer, the co-winner of the second Hugo Award for best novel. He began publishing in May 1952 with the widely anthologized story "What Have I Done?".
Star BrightClifton's other most popular short story is "Star Bright," the first of three appearances in Horace Gold's Galaxy (July 1952), about a super-intelligent toddler with psi abilities. From Clifton's correspondence we know that Gold "editorially savaged" the story, which appeared in severely truncated or altered form. The story has been compared favorably to Kuttner and Moore's "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," which was published in Astounding magazine nine years earlier.
Personal lifeClifton worked for many years as a personnel manager and interviewed "over 200,000" people according to a personal letter he wrote to Judith Merril, quoted in The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton. This experience formed much of Clifton's attitude about the delusions people have of themselves, but also the greatness of which they are capable.
Innovative WritingBarry N. Malzberg wrote in The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton that "Clifton was an innovator in the early 1950s and such an impressive innovator that his approach has become standard among science fiction writers. He used the common themes of science fiction -- alien invasion, expanding technology, revolution against political theocracy, and space colonization -- but unlike any writer before him, he imposed upon these standard themes the full range of sophisticated psychological insight."
Clifton's fame ebbed quickly, and he received the 2010 Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award for unjust obscurity.