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Corlett, William

Entry updated 11 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

(1938-2005) UK actor, playwright and author, in the latter capacity mostly for older children, though much of his later work, which openly explores the lives of gay men, was written for adults. He is of sf interest mainly for the Gate of Eden trilogy, comprising The Gate of Eden (1974), an essentially associational tale which he adapted for Television as The Gate of Eden (1979). The Land Beyond (1975), which involves Timeslips; and Return to the Gate (1975), in which the young protagonist of the first volumes, now an old man, attempts to cope with life in a Dystopian UK at a time of economic collapse. Corlett's second series – the Magician's House sequence featuring an avatar of John Dee and comprising The Steps up the Chimney (1990), The Door in the Tree (1991), The Tunnel Behind the Waterfall (1991) and The Bridge in the Clouds (1992) – is fantasy; Corlett adapted the first two volumes for Television as The Magician's House (1999), for which he won an Emmy; and the third as The Magician's House II (2000).

Of Corlett's singletons, The Dark Side of the Moon (1976), which ingeniously parallels the experiences of a kidnapped child with those of an astronaut spiritually adrift in deep space, is sf; and The Secret Line (1988), about a secret Underground line linking various realities under London, is Equipoisal between sf and fantasy. His last novel, Kitty (2004), is an animal fantasy. Corlett's work as a whole emphasizes, at times with limpid intensity, human relationships within frameworks which function primarily to illuminate those relationships. [JC]

William Harold Corlett

born Darlington, County Durham: 8 October 1938

died Sarlat, France: 16 August 2005



Gate of Eden

Magician's House

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