Meet Sean Williams: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Antipodean author Sean Williams is a force to be reckoned with in his native Australia. The author of some 26 novels, 1 stand-alone novella, and 5 short story collections (with two more novels out in 2009), he has won Australia’s coveted Ditmar Award 7 times and their Aurealis Award another 7. Recently, he hit the number 1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the first novelization of a video game ever to achieve this rank. And it’s not even his first time on the best seller list for a franchise novel.

But, apart from thousands of Star Wars fans, Sean is still something of a well-kept secret among readers of non-tie-in science fiction and fantasy here in the good ‘ol US of A.

Which is something of a puzzle to me.

His Geodesica duology (Ace), written with Shane Dix, is post-singularity, far-future space opera that would do Charles Stross or Iain M. Banks proud. Writing for, Paul Di Filippo said, “Williams and Dix have a flair for combining slam-bang adventures, intriguing characters and cutting-edge scientific and philosophical speculations, resulting in books that elevate your adrenaline and your intellect.” His new Astropolis trilogy (also Ace), which begins with the Philip K. Dick Award nominated Saturn Returns and continues in Earth Ascendant, promises more of the exciting same. His stand-alone novella, Cenotaxis, published by independent press Monkeybrain Books, was one of my favorite reads of the year and my personal choice for the Best Novella Hugo in 2008. It ably demonstrates why some people feel the novella is the ideal length for SF, and I say that because it’s true, not because he kindly set the novel’s resolution in my own home town (albeit of the far future.)

Of those books that it’s been my priviledge to publish at Pyr, I’m admittedly biased but no less impressed (after all, they were the ones I picked to bring over here, right?). The Resurrected Man is a hard-boiled noir mystery set in a world where the teleporter has replaced the airplane as the dominate means of travel and the industry employs its own private police force to solve transporter-related crimes before they leak into and panic the money-spending public. Sean explores every conceivable ramification of a technology he describes as a “murdering, twin-making machine,” to chilling effect. The novel virtually screams to be filmed.

Meanwhile, his fantasy quartet, The Books of the Cataclysm, thus far The Crooked Letter, The Blood Debt, and The Hanging Mountains, is the ultimate mash-up of Mad Max and The Wizard of Earthsea. Sean transposes the classic fantasy quest adventure to a fractured Outback, where brown-skinned mages drive Change-powered dune buggies. Now tell me, what’s not to love about that?

So, having bagged on Batman and Bigfoot in my previous posts, I thought I’d use my powers for good this time and give a shout out to a deserving author you may or may not have heard of. Check him out. Doesn’t matter if it’s a book I served on as editor or not—it’s all good.


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