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Nolan, William F

Entry updated 17 April 2023. Tagged: Author, Editor.

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(1928-2021) US author and editor who trained and for a time practised as a commercial artist; he also raced cars, publishing several books on the subject. Nolan first became active in sf Fandom in the 1950s, cofounding the San Diego Science Fantasy Society, being a staff member for the Fanzine Rhodomagnetic Digest, publishing The Ray Bradbury Review (including his own first story "The Immortal Ones: A Satire" in 1952), and serving as managing editor of issues #1-#3 of Gamma (1963-1964). His first professionally published sf story was "The Joy of Living" in If for August 1954; he subsequently write some short stories and criticism as by Frank Anmar and F E Edwards. He became a full-time writer in 1956. Of his more than fifty books, at least thirty are related directly to sf or fantasy. His first sf book, the collection Impact-20 (coll 1963; vt Impact 20 1966; exp 2002), assembles some early work. His second, for which he remains best known is Logan's Run (1967) with George Clayton Johnson; this begins the Logan sequence, which continued with Logan's World (1977) and Logan's Search (1980), both by Nolan alone; all three are assembled as William F Nolan's Logan: A Trilogy (omni 1986). The premise of the books is melodramatic: after a strange act of nuclear terrorism, forcing the remaining population into Underground Keeps, a youth culture takes over, instituting the Dystopian rule that all those over twenty-one must be killed to combat Overpopulation; the protagonist, first an enforcer and then posing as a fugitive, escapes Earth with a genuine female rebel, returning (now authentically rebellious) in the later volumes to confront the Computer controlling Earth. The first volume was filmed, with the cutoff age raised from 21 to 30, as Logan's Run (1976); this achieved some financial if not critical success. The story was also adapted as a short-lived Television series discussed in the film entry just cited.

Written in part as a homage to Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade (Nolan's Hammett: A Life on the Edge [1983] is an effective biography), the Sam Space sequence, about an sf detective, comprises Space for Hire (1971), Look Out for Space (1985) and 3 for Space (coll 1992), all three assembled with additional material as Seven for Space (omni 2008). Nolan's later short fiction, some of it of high quality, was assembled in Alien Horizons (coll 1974), Wonderworlds (coll 1977), Things Beyond Midnight (coll 1984), Dark Universe (coll 2001), Wild Galaxy: Selected Science Fiction Stories (Urbana, Illinois: Golden Gryphon, 2005), and other collections, mostly horror.

Nolan was active as an anthologist, mostly of reprinted material, though The Future Is Now (anth 1970) assembles original stories. His career-long advocacy of the work of Ray Bradbury climaxed with two titles: The Ray Bradbury Companion: A Life and Career History, Photolog, and Comprehensive Checklist of Writings, with Facsimiles of Ray Bradbury's Unpublished and Uncollected Work in All Media (1975); and The Bradbury Chronicles: Stories in Honor of Ray Bradbury (anth 1991) with Martin H Greenberg. In 2001 he received the International Horror Guild's Living Legend Award; in 2006 he was honoured by SFWA as Author Emeritus (see SFWA Grand Master Award); and the Bram Stoker Awards for horror recognized his career with a Lifetime Achievement award in 2009 and the title of Grandmaster in 2014. [JC/PN/DRL]

see also: Androids; Dell Comics; First Fandom Hall of Fame; Zoo.

William Francis Nolan

born Kansas City, Missouri: 6 March 1928

died Vancouver, Washington: 15 July 2021




Sam Space

  • Space for Hire (New York: Lancer Books, 1971) [Sam Space: pb/Gene Szafran]
  • Look Out for Space (New York: International Polygonics, 1985) [Sam Space: pb/Roger Roth]
  • 3 for Space (New York: Gryphon Books, 1992) [coll: Sam Space: pb/Ron Wilber]
    • Seven for Space (Escondido, California: Park Hill Publishing, 2008) [omni of the above three plus additional stories: Sam Space: pb/Ron Lemen]

individual titles

  • Helltracks (New York: Avon Books, 1991) [pb/James Warren]
    • Blood Sky (San José, California: Deadline Publications, 1991) [story: extracted from the above: pb/William F Nolan]
    • Helltracks (Baltimore, Maryland: Cemetery Dance Publications, 2000) [rev of the above: hb/Alan M Clark]
  • Demon! (North Webster, Indiana: Delirium Books, 2006) [hb/]

collections and stories


works as editor

about the author


previous versions of this entry

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