Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Hjortsberg, William

(1941-    ) US writer whose first novel, Alp (1969), is set in an Alpine Polder inhabited by stir-crazy Avatars of figures from Folklore like Gretel, by US tourists, and by a cannibal Dwarf. It is not quite fantasy, and neither is the rather similar Toro! Toro! Toro! (1974). Gray Matters (1971) is sf. Falling Angel (1978) is a virtuoso Dark Fantasy set in an hallucinated 1950s New York; it was filmed as Angel Heart (1987), with the venue changed to New Orleans. The protagonist – detective Harry Angel – is hired by a man who turns out to be Satan and who is searching for Johnny Favorite, who defaulted on a Pact with the Devil; but Angel finds, as he falls closer to his fate, that he is victim of a devastating Secret-Sharer relationship with Favorite, who long before underwent a Voodoo Ritual in order to take on his new identity as a kind of Angel. Nevermore (1994) features Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini (1874-1926) as an Odd Couple (> Duos) in the 1920s USA, quarrelling over the nature of the supernatural until (to Doyle) the Ghost of Edgar Allan Poe appears in conjunction with a number of murders based on his stories. [JC]

other works: Symbiography (1973 chap), sf; Tales & Fables (coll 1985 chap).

William Reinhold Hjortsberg

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.