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Hodder-Williams, Christopher

Entry updated 11 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(1926-1995) UK author, pilot, composer and sound engineer; a member of the family which owned and managed his main early publisher. His first novel, The Cummings Report (1957) as by James Brogan, was not sf. Hodder-Williams began publishing sf with Chain Reaction (1959), which concerns itself, as does almost all of his fiction, with the relationship between Man and the machine Technology he has created, in this case through a mystery plot about radiation sickness spread by food (see Nuclear Energy). His next three novels were non-fantastic aviation stories sharing the same general theme; but since The Main Experiment (1964) – whose titular project affects Perception to the extent of perhaps distorting reality – he wrote only sf, almost always in the form of novels with Near-Future scenarios. Among the others are Fistful of Digits (1968), which introduces self-programming Computers to an obsessive tale about loss of individual Identity in the coming world; 98.4 (1969) which disquietingly considers Cyborg weaponry such as ballistic missiles controlled by built-in human brains; and The Silent Voice (1977), about the human brain's capacity to receive radio waves directly – to potentially ominous effect. The Chromosome Game (1984), with a Ruined Earth setting 200 years after a nuclear World War Three, grimly argues that human nature will soon, once again, disastrously express itself in the old way. Hodder-Williams's novels combine social and cultural concerns typical of UK post-World War Two writers with somewhat melodramatic plotting and stiff characterization of women in particular; the effect is sometimes sharp, but more often uneasy. [JC/DRL]

see also: Genetic Engineering; Paranoia.

John Christopher Glazebrook Hodder-Williams

born London: 25 August 1926

died London: 15 May 1995


Non-fantastic stories are excluded.


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