Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Kilworth, Garry

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(1941-    ) UK writer who in the mid-1970s retired from 18 years' RAF service as a cryptographer. He began publishing work of genre interest with "Let's Go to Golgotha!" for the Sunday Times Weekly Review in 1974, having won an associated competition. Most of his subsequent work has been sf, and some recent work – in particular Angel (1993) and its sequel Archangel (1994), set in a noirish Los Angeles – combine sf and Horror. He also publishes as Garry Douglas and F K Salwood. By 1996 he had published at least 100 stories, many fantasy, assembled in The Songbirds of Pain: Stories from the Inscape (coll 1984), In the Hollow of the Dark Sea Wave: A Novel and Seven Stories (coll 1989), Dark Hills, Hollow Clocks: Stories from the Otherworld (coll 1990) – mostly Twice-Told tales from various Folklores for a YA audience – In the Country of Tattooed Men (coll 1993) and Hogfoot Right and Bird-Hands (coll 1993 US). The most famous of his fantasy tales is "The Ragthorn" (1991) with Robert Holdstock, which won a 1992 World Fantasy Award for best novella; it verges on Fantasies-of-History territory in its depiction of a search through various texts for clues to the location of the Tree of life.

GK is very widely known for his Animal Fantasies, each of which pays rigorous attention to the actual life-patterns of the animals given sentience within the texts. They include Hunter's Moon (1989; vt The Foxes of First Dark 1990 US), about foxes, Midnight's Sun: A Story of Wolves (1990), Frost Dancers: A Story of Hares (1992) and House of Tribes (1995), about mice (> Mice and Rats). They have been likened (perhaps inevitably) to Richard Adams's Watership Down (1972), but are far more strict in their avoidance of Beast-Fable analogues to humankind.

Although his venues widely vary – e.g., Spiral Winds (1987), which contains hints of Supernatural Fiction, is set inland of Aden – GK's main home seems to be the southeast of England, particularly East Anglia, whose landscape he has richly described. YA novels like The Drowners (1991), a Ghost Story set near 19th-century Winchester, and Billy Pink's Private Detective Agency (1993), set in 19th-century Essex and featuring a detective will o' the wisp, both give off a powerful sense of place. The Phantom Piper (1994) invokes Scotland in a Timeslip tale whose powerfully effective intricacies are perhaps reminiscent of the work of William Mayne.

Sometimes GK's work may thrust too haphazardly at the edges of genres he seems to be proposing to inhabit, but the end result is a complexly active style and substance. His worlds are intensely alive. [JC]

other works (fantasy): The Wizard of Woodworld (1987), for children; The Voyage of the Vigilance (1988), for children; Trivial Tales (coll 1988 chap); The Rain Ghost (1989), for children; The Gargoyle (1997), for children; A Midsummer's Nightmare (1996); the Navigator Kings sequence of three fantasies set in a Land-of-Fable Polynesian Archipelago, beginning with The Roof of Voyaging (1996).

other works (selected nonfantasy): In Solitary (1977), GK's first novel (for other sf and associational titles > SFE); Highlander * (1986), movie novelization, and The Street (1988), Horror, both as by Garry Douglas; the associational Essex Saga as by F K Salwood, being The Oystercatcher's Cry (1993), The Saffron Fields (1994) and The Ragged School (1995).

Garry Douglas Kilworth


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.