We are proud to present the next entry in our Author Spotlight series (this month featuring contributors to A Darke Phantastique), William F. Nolan.
Nolan bring us “The Last Witch”, a tale about the exactly what it seems, the very last surviving witch:
“First, We Have the Woods
They are, in the words of poet Robert Frost, silent, dark and deep. Full of fanged thorns, twisting roots and scaly bark—with leaves the color of dead souls. The trees are gnarled and bent with time; their skeletal branches, like clutching fingers, claw at the sky. The woods harbor wise owls and stupid mice, gaunt-hungry wolves and devil-tailed scorpions and apprehensive deer with soft black eyes. Here are sexually active
rabbits, fierce-eyed toads, curly earthworms, and, in thorned shadow, wily spiders and fat, sleepy snakes aglitter in diamond scales. Plus plenty of other good-looking and not-sogood-looking creatures.”
About his story, he writes:
“I had the title ‘The Last Witch’ for several years, but had no idea what to do with it. I was trying to think of a story for this book, and Jason [Brock] suggested I read some Ursula K. Le Guin to get a feeling for what she was trying to do. She is a fine writer, and, as I was reading her stuff I was suddenly struck with the idea for this little tale. I was having a disagreement with a friend of mine at the time, and I was able to vent just a bit through this modern take on a fairy tale.
William F. Nolan writes mostly in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Though best known for coauthoring the classic dystopian science fiction novel Logan’s Run with George Clayton Johnson, Nolan is the author of more than 2000 pieces (fiction, nonfiction, articles, and books), and has edited twenty-six anthologies in his career of more than fifty years.
An artist, Nolan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and worked at Hallmark Cards and in comic books before becoming an author. In the 1950s, he was an integral part of the writing ensemble known as “The Group,” which included several well-known genre writers, such as Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, John Tomerlin, Richard Matheson, Johnson, and others, many of whom wrote for Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Nolan is considered a leading expert on Dashiell Hammett, pulps such as Black Mask and Western Story, and is the world authority on the works of prolific scribe Max Brand.
Of his numerous awards, there are a few of which he is most proud: being voted a Living Legend in Dark Fantasy by the International Horror Guild in 2002; twice winning the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America; being awarded the honorary title of Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2006; receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association in 2010; and as recipient of the 2013 World Fantasy Convention Award along with Brian W. Aldiss. In May 2014, Nolan was presented with another Bram Stoker Award, for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction; this was for his collection about his late friend Ray Bradbury, called Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction.
A vegetarian, Nolan resides in Vancouver, Washington.