John Steakley
John William Steakley, Jr. (born July 26, 1951, in Cleburne, Texas
Cleburne, Texas
Cleburne is a city in Johnson County, Texas, United States, and a suburb of Fort Worth. According to 2007 United States Census Bureau estimates, the population is 29,050. It is the county seat of Johnson County. Cleburne is named for a Confederate General, Patrick Cleburne...

, died November 27, 2010, in McKinney, Texas
McKinney, Texas
McKinney is a city in and the county seat of Collin County, Texas, United States, and the second in population to Plano. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 131,117 The Census Bureau listed McKinney as the nation's fastest growing city from 2000 to 2003 and again in...

) was an American author, best known for his science fiction writing. He published two major novels, Armor
Armor (novel)
Armor is a military science fiction novel by John Steakley. It has some superficial similarities with Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers but concentrates more on the psychological effects of violence on human beings rather than on the political aspects of the military, which was the focus of...

(1984) and Vampire$
Vampire$ is a 1990 horror novel by John Steakley. A dark fantasy with a contemporary setting, the novel concerns a company called Vampire$, Inc...

(1990); the latter was the basis for John Carpenter
John Carpenter
John Howard Carpenter is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, editor, composer, and occasional actor. Although Carpenter has worked in numerous film genres in his four-decade career, his name is most commonly associated with horror and science fiction.- Early life :Carpenter was born...

's Vampires
Vampires (film)
Vampires is a western-horror film directed by John Carpenter in 1998. Adapted from the novel Vampire$ by John Steakley, the film stars James Woods as Jack Crow, leader of a Catholic Church-sanctioned team of vampire hunters...

movie. He published four short science fiction and fantasy stories.


Steakley lived most of his life in Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, aside from brief spells in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and Hollywood in his youth. Steakley's father owned a Chevrolet
Chevrolet , also known as Chevy , is a brand of vehicle produced by General Motors Company . Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918...

 dealership in Dallas from 1962 until he sold it in 1999. Steakley attended St. Mark's School
St. Mark's School of Texas
The St. Mark's School of Texas is a nonsectarian preparatory day school for boys located in Preston Hollow, Dallas, Texas, USA. The School offers grades 1–12.-History:...

 and graduated from Colorado Academy
Colorado Academy
Colorado Academy is an independent nonsectarian, co-educational, college preparatory day school for students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade...

, a boarding school in Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

. He then went on to study at Westminster College in Missouri, and at Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas, Texas, United States. Founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, SMU operates campuses in Dallas, Plano, and Taos, New Mexico. SMU is owned by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church...

, where he received his BA in English.

In 1988, Steakley married photographer Lori Jones; they held their wedding reception in the showroom of a local Subaru dealership. He was an avid golfer and in the mid-1990s carried a single-digit handicap.

Writing and acting

His sister told the press that Steakley went to Hollywood at the invitation of screenwriter L.M. "Kit" Carson. He sold a film treatment
Film treatment
A film treatment is a piece of prose, typically the step between scene cards and the first draft of a screenplay for a motion picture, television program, or radio play. It is generally longer and more detailed than an outline , and it may include details of directorial style that an outline omits...

, and played a bit part ("Local 1") in at least one film, Don't Open the Door!, but "he stayed out there a few years and just hated it." Steakley (whose childhood fantasy was reportedly to be a science fiction writer) returned to Texas, and wrote. He had his first professional short story publication, "The Bluenose Limit", in the March 1981 issue of Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

; and another, "Flyer", in the September 1982 issue. According to his website, he worked on the incomplete Armor II for years.

Steakley was the writer for, and played a nameless bit part in, a 1997 film, Scary Texas Movie. In 1998, John Carpenter directed a screen adaptation of Vampire$ (retitled Vampires
Vampires (film)
Vampires is a western-horror film directed by John Carpenter in 1998. Adapted from the novel Vampire$ by John Steakley, the film stars James Woods as Jack Crow, leader of a Catholic Church-sanctioned team of vampire hunters...

), which starred James Woods
James Woods
James Howard Woods is an American film, stage and television actor. Woods is known for starring in critically acclaimed films such as Once Upon a Time in America, Salvador, Nixon, Ghosts of Mississippi, Casino, and in the television legal drama Shark. He has won three Emmy Awards, and has gained...

 as the leader of a Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

-sanctioned team of vampire hunters. Steakley played one more nameless bit part in the 2000 film Playing Dead, directed by Brad Keller (Scary Texas Movie was Keller's first film as a director).

Selected works

  • Armor (December 1984, DAW Books
    DAW Books
    DAW Books is an American science fiction and fantasy publisher, founded by Donald A. Wollheim following his departure from Ace Books in 1971. The company therefore claims to be "the first publishing company ever devoted exclusively to science fiction and fantasy." The first DAW Book published was...

    , ISBN 978-0-886-77368-7)
  • Vampire$ (November 1990, Roc Books
    Roc Books
    Roc Books is a fantasy imprint of Penguin Group, as part of their New American Library. The imprint was launched in April 1990 after Penguin Chairman, Peter Mayer, asked John Silbersack, the editor in chief of New American Library's science fiction program, to launch a new imprint that would draw...

    , ISBN 978-0-451-45033-3)

External links

  • Unofficial/Official website ("John Steakley does not run this site. He knows of it, approves of it, and sometimes cooperates with us on it, but does not pay for it.")
  • John Steakley, entry at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd edition (draft)
  • Fantastic Fiction author page
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