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Wurlitzer, Rudolph

Entry updated 16 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1937-    ) US screenwriter and author, much of whose film work has been signed Rudy Wurlitzer; he is probably best known for early scripts for films like Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) or Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), though his first works were novels, most of which may be read as Fabulations in which sf elements are bleakly Equipoisal with a free-floating on-the-road gonzo Weltschmerz. Nog (1968; vt The Octopus 1969), Flats (1970) and Quake (1972) share an apocalyptic mise en scène similar in feeling to, but not clearly identified as being, the Post-Holocaust world so familiar to sf readers; Quake in particular creates a post-Disaster Los Angeles (see California) that clearly prefigures the metamorphic City of writers like Steve Erickson. Slow Fade (1984) verges on similar territory. The Drop Edge of Wonder (2008) is a Posthumous Fantasy [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] in the same vein as Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (1995), a film clearly influenced by a much earlier filmscript by Wurlitzer, which he and Jarmusch had contemplated filming; the novel itself can be understood as a Fantastic Voyage through regions inhabited by the Western, which is multiply evoked. Wurlitzer also wrote the libretto for Philip Glass's operas In the Penal Colony (first performed ACT Theatre, Seattle, Washington, 31 August 2000), based on the short story by Franz Kafka, and The Perfect American (first performed Teatro Real, Madrid, Spain, 22 January 2013), about the last days of Walt Disney [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] (see also Cryonics). [JC]

see also: Billy the Kid.

Rudolph Wurlitzer

born Cincinnati, Ohio: 3 January 1937


  • Nog (New York: Random House, 1968) [hb/]
    • The Octopus (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1969) [vt of the above: hb/]
  • Flats (New York: E P Dutton, 1970) [hb/]
  • Quake (New York: E P Dutton, 1972) [hb/]
  • Slow Fade (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1984) [hb/Fred Marcellino]
  • The Drop Edge of Wonder (Brooklyn, New York: Two-Dollar Radio, 2008) [pb/]


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