Thursday, December 12, 2013

Colin Wilson dies at age 82

Colin Wilson dies at age 82

 from The Telegraph (UK) December 13, 2013

Colin Wilson died December 5. Born on June 26,1931, he briefly was lionized in the mid-50s when The Outsider, his analysis of alienation among famous characters in world fiction, won the effusive praise of the literary establishment. 

But following the rapturous reception of The Outsider, instead of proceeding to devote his career to 'literary' works, Wilson published a continuous stream of crime, science fiction, and horror novels, a stance that quickly lost him the regard of the highbrow set. 

Wilson was utterly indifferent to the disapproval of the intellectual elite, and luckily for fans of genre fiction, he produced tales of monsters, sex killers, and weird psychologies, for the rest of his writing life.

I regularly read Wilson's fiction and nonfiction during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. 

Nonfiction books like The Occult: A History (1971), A Criminal History of Mankind (1984), and The Encyclopedia of Modern Murder (1983) always were consistently interesting, even if some of Wilson's philosophies - which later he came to label New Existentialism -  were more than a little contrived.

His sf, mystery, and horror novels also were often entertaining and represented some of the better examples of genre fiction. The Mind Parasites (1967) and The Space Vampires (1976) were offbeat and imaginative, and today stand well alongside other novels considered to be classics of the New Wave movement in sf.

Wilson's Spider World series, which ultimately came to comprise four unabridged volumes, also was a good example of an sf series that, while occasionally a bit tedious, nonetheless came off as a better read than many of the bloated, multi-volume series now occupying the shelves of bookstores.

Wilson's output had slowed in his later years, and a stroke he suffered in September 2012 left him unable to write. But he has left behind a sizeable catalogue of works, many of which are well worth seeking out.

1 comment:

Edo Bosnar said...

Sad news. Never read any of his non-fiction, but I loved his "genre" work. A really good writer...