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Williams, Paul

Entry updated 5 February 2024. Tagged: Author, Critic, Editor.

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(1948-2013) US editor and author who began publishing sf nonprofessionally as a teenager, bringing out four issues of a fanzine, Within (1962-1963), and speaking to Boston library school students on sf as literature for young adults. In 1966 he founded Crawdaddy!, the first US rock magazine (see Music), which he edited through 1968, and then 1993-2003. The first issue (January 1966) was typed on David G Hartwell's typewriter and printed on Ted White's mimeograph machine; later issues included work by Samuel R Delany. Williams was an insightful and prolific author of books on rock 'n' roll, including some of the best studies yet written on Bob Dylan (1941-    ), Performing Artist: The Music of Bob Dylan (1990), Bob Dylan: Performing Artist: The Middle Years, 1974-1986 (1992), Bob Dylan: Performing Artist: Mind Out of Time 1986 and Beyond (2004), and Watching the River Flow: Observations on Bob Dylan's Art-in-Progress, 1966-1995 (coll 1996).

In Rolling Stone (November 1975), Williams published a profile of his friend Philip K Dick (whom he first met in 1968), bringing Dick to a national audience. He wrote numerous original introductions to the Gregg Press editions of works such as Chester Anderson's 1967 novel The Butterfly Kid (1977), Dick's The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and Robert A Heinlein's I Will Fear No Evil. His imprint, Entwhistle Books, published the first of Dick's mainstream novels to reach print, Confessions of a Crap Artist (1975). As literary executor of the Philip K Dick estate he was from the first involved in the Philip K Dick Society and was instrumental in the wisely phased and commercially successful publication of Dick's posthumous works. In Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick (1986), expanded from his 1975 profile, he set some early guidelines for the comprehension of Dick's difficult final decade.

His interest in the work of Theodore Sturgeon was demonstrated in the early Theodore Sturgeon, Storyteller (1978 chap). A profile of Sturgeon commissioned by Rolling Stone in the mid-1970s but not published in the magazine, was published in the The Berkley Showcase, Vol. 3 (1981). Williams also published Sturgeon's Argyll: A Memoir (1993). The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon (1994-2010) was a fruit of long ripening, initially conceived in the 1970s; Williams edited the first eleven volumes [see Checklist below]. This enterprise eventually extended to thirteen volumes [for further details see Theodore Sturgeon], of which the last two were edited by Noël Sturgeon, Theodore's daughter, owing to the incremental effects of the bicycle accident in 1995 which partially disabled Williams through a brain injury, whose calamitous medical costs also affected his career, and which ultimately led to his early death.

Williams has been listed in error as the author of Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds (2011), whose author, Paul Williams, is an English academic. [JC/HW]

Paul Steven Williams

born Boston, Massachusetts: 19 May 1948

died Encinitas, California: 27 March 2013

works (highly selected)

works as editor


Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon


previous versions of this entry

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