WILLIAMS, Paul O(sborne)
(1935-)
   US writer and professor of literature who won the JOHN W. CAMPBELL JR. AWARD for Best New Writer in 1983, and who is known in the sf field almost exclusively for his Pelbar sequence - The Breaking of Northwall (1981), The Ends of the Circle (1981), The Dome in the Forest(1981), The Fall of the Shell (1982), An Ambush of Shadows (1983), The Song of the Axe (1984) and The Sword of Forbearance (1985) - set, 1100 years after a meteor shower has instigated a devastating nuclear WAR, in the balkanized and barbarian heart of the USA at a time when fragmented local cultures must begin to come together once again, hopefully without warfare. The sequence is unusual - and in deep contrast to SURVIVALIST FICTION - in its disregard for violence and its lack of gear fetish; ithas been compared with Edgar PANGBORN's Davy books. The Dome in the Forest, which tells of the discovery of an inhabited nuclear shelter,interestingly explores the psychology of the POCKET UNIVERSE; later volumes, in which the tempo of technological change begins to increase, are perhaps less engaging. The series as a whole suffers from a certain leadenness of narrative diction, but never fails to question generic assumptions about the nature of a post- HOLOCAUST civilization. The Gifts of the Gorboduc Vandal (1989) is not part of the sequence.
   JC
   See also: ANTHROPOLOGY; HISTORY IN SF.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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