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Gustav Hasford (November 28, 1947 - January 29, 1993) was an American writer. His semi-autobiographical novel The Short-Timers was the basis of the film Full Metal Jacket.
Born in Russellville, Alabama, Hasford joined the United States Marine Corps in 1967 and served as a combat correspondent during the Vietnam War.
Hasford associated with various science fiction writers of the 1970s (including Arthur Byron Cover and David J. Skal), had works published in magazines and anthologies such as Space and Time and Damon Knight's Orbit series, and briefly shared an apartment with author Harlan Ellison.
In 1978, Hasford attended the Milford Writer's Workshop and met veteran science fiction author Frederik Pohl, who was then an editor at Bantam Books. At Pohl's suggestion, Hasford submitted The Short-Timers, and Pohl promptly bought it for Bantam. The Short-Timers became a best-seller, and was adapted into the 1987 feature film Full Metal Jacket, directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Hasford, Kubrick, and screenwriter Michael Herr, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Hasford's actual contributions were a subject of dispute among the three and ultimately Hasford chose to skip the Oscar ceremonies.
In 1988, shortly before the Oscar ceremony, Hasford was charged for theft after campus police from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, found nearly 10,000 library books in his rented storage locker. At that time, he had 87 overdue books checked out from the Cal Poly-SBO library; also five years of the magazine Civil War Times. The materials were valued at over $2,000.
Hasford's book collection included books borrowed (and never returned) from dozens of libraries across the United States, and from libraries in the United Kingdom and Australia. Others were allegedly taken from the homes of acquaintances. Among them were 19th-century books on Edgar Allan Poe and the American Civil War. He had obtained borrowing privileges at Cal Poly-SBO as a California resident, but submitted a false address and Social Security number. In 1985, he had borrowed 98 books from the Sacramento, California public library, and was wanted for grand theft there.
Hasford initially denied the charges, but eventually admitted possession of several hundred stolen books, and pled Nolo contendere ("no contest") to possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment (of which he served three months), and promised to pay restitution from the royalties for his future works. Hasford claimed that he wanted the books to research a never-published book on the Civil War. He described his difficulties as "a vicious attack launched against me by moral majority fanatics backed up by the full power of the Fascist State." In 1990 he published a second novel, The Phantom Blooper, a sequel to The Short-Timers.
Hasford's final novel was A Gypsy Good Time, a detective story set in Los Angeles. It was published in 1992, and received little notice. Hasford, suffering from diabetes, moved to the Greek island of Aegina and died there of heart failure on 29 January 1993.
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