Williams, Heathcote

Tagged: Author

(1941-2017) UK poet, playwright, actor, political activist and author, initially notable in sf circles for his connections with the 1960s British New Wave, though he did not contribute material to its typical outlets; most of his work was, in fact, technically nonfantastic, though his plays – like his most famous, AC/DC (first performed Royal Court Theatre, London, 1970; in Gambit International Theatre Review, coll 1971) – were often so flamboyantly transgressive that they could be mistaken for a maddened verisimilitude of the days to come. One of his plays, however, The Immortalist (performed 1977; 1978 chap), consists of an interview with its 278-year-old protagonist (see Immortality), whose views are scarifying (see Satire).

Autogeddon (1991), a book-length heavily illustrated prose poem, treats the historically very rapid rise of the automobile as a metastatic invasion of the planet (see Transportation); it is iconographically much closer to Mad Max (1979) directed by George Miller than to Genre SF, not to the credit of the latter. [JC]

John Henry Jasper Heathcote-Williams

born Helsby, Cheshire: 15 November 1941

died Oxford, Oxfordshire: 1 July 2017

works (highly selected)

  • The Immortalist (London: Calder & Boyars, 1978) [play: chap: first performed 1977 Crucible Theatre, Sheffield: pb/]
  • Autogeddon (London: Jonathan Cape, 1991) [book-length poem: hb/]


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