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Witcover, Paul

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1958-    ) Zurich-born academic and author, in US from infancy (arriving on the first scheduled commercial jet flight from Paris to New York, September 1958). He began publishing work of genre interest with "Red Shift by Judith Lessing" in Analog for January 1984, which he assembled, vt "Red Shift", in Everland and Other Stories (coll 2009); most of the tales here collected are fantasy, though the intensely-told "Left of the Dial" (September 2004 Sci Fiction) is a tale of moral reparation achieved through Timeslip. With Elizabeth Hand he wrote a Superhero comic, Anima (1993-1995) (see DC Comics). Witcover's first novel, Waking Beauty (1997), reads initially as an erotically-charged fantasy of initiation, set in an ornate world whose Dying-Earth richness evokes Jack Vance; but in fact this world is the interior of a Generation Starship stranded in orbit around its destination planet. Tumbling After (2005), on the other hand, reads initially as an sf exploration into Alternate Worlds, but the tale, whose central figures are twins, devolves into fantasy. Dracula: Asylum (2006) is a Tie to Dracula (1931), retrofitting World War One into the original film sequence.

The Productions of Time or Daniel Quare sequence, beginning with The Emperor of All Things (2013), is set primarily in an eighteenth century London rendered in a Steampunk idiom that befits the central premise governing this Alternate History: a world in which timekeeping has become so vital that the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers dominates the political landscape; as the plots thicken, and portals open to other words, the tale begins to unpack in Time Opera terms: the watch searched for by the cast turns out in the end not to be a McGuffin but a central engine in the manipulations of time that sustain the single line of human history, fascinating the gods. The story continues in The Watchman of Eternity (2015). In Lincolnstein (2021), the just-assassinated President is reconstructed into something like a Frankenstein Monster, outwardly bearing the dead man's semblance, but within, befitting the time and the riven America of 1865, an anomalous misalliance of Identities. [JC]

see also: Fantastic Metropolis.

Paul Witcover

born Zurich, Switzerland: 9 August 1958



The Productions of Time

individual titles



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