Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Newman, Kim

(1959-    ) UK writer, critic, broadcaster and former cabaret performer. KN worked extensively as a reviewer before publishing his first book, Nightmare Movies (1984; rev 1988), a critical history of Horror Movies since 1968. It was followed by Ghastly Beyond Belief (anth 1985) with Neil Gaiman, assembling some of the worst and funniest Science-Fiction and Fantasy quotations.

Most of KN's fiction is heavily influenced by the media, and he often recursively (> Recursive Fantasy) utilizes characters and situations from tv, cinema and literature for his short stories and novels. Much of his fiction can be thought of as existing in a Multiverse, links being overlapping storylines and recurring characters – most notably the Vampire heroine Geneviéve Dieudonné, private investigator Sally Rhodes and evil media mogul Derek Leech.

His début novel, The Night Mayor (1989), was an audacious blend of cyberpunk and hard-boiled-detective yarn in which a pair of professional Dreamers from the 21st century are sent into a criminal's film noir dreamscape. Dreams were also used as major imagery in his next novel, Bad Dreams (1990), set in contemporary London and featuring a young US woman stalked by a psychic Vampire. Jago (1991), KN's attempt to write an apocalyptic Stephen King-type novel set in the UK's West Country, is perhaps KN's most ambitious novel to date, with its descriptions of Reality warping around the members of a bizarre religious sect and its charismatic leader. Anno Dracula (1992 as "Red Reign"; exp 1992; vt Anno-Dracula US), among his most popular and successful works, is set in an alternative 1888 where Count Dracula is Queen Victoria's new consort in a world ruled by Vampires. KN here skilfully interweaves famous (and not so famous) historical and fictional characters in a carefully constructed Alternate World. His next novel, The Quorum (1994), set against the background of London over the past 30 years, uses a Faustian Pact with the enigmatic Derek Leech as the basis for the story of three ambitious men and the boyhood friend whose happiness they sacrifice in return for their own success. With The Bloody Red Baron (1995), the author finally returned to the Vampire world he had created for Anno Dracula: set during WWI in 1918, this focuses on the exploits of vampiric air ace Baron von Richthofen.

Some of KN's cleverest stories, such as "Famous Monsters" (1988) – Martians invade Hollywood – "The Original Dr Shade" (1990) – a legendary Pulp hero returns in Margaret Thatcher's UK – "The Man who Collected Barker" (1990) – a fan's obsession with collecting – "The Big Fish" (1993) – Raymond Chandler meets H P Lovecraft – and "Out of the Night, When the Full Moon is Bright" (1994) – Zorro recreated as a Werewolf in contemporary Los Angeles – are collected in The Original Dr Shade and Other Stories (coll 1994) and Famous Monsters (coll 1995). KN is also the author of Back in the USSA, a collaborative cycle of stories with Eugene Byrne set in an alternate world where the USA, rather than Russia, became a communist country, and the Where the Bodies Are Buried series, pastiching of contemporary horror movies and their sequels.

As Jack Yeovil he has written a number of ties set in the fantasy Games worlds of Warhammer and Dark Future, listed below, plus one original novel: Orgy of the Blood Parasites (1994; ot Bloody Students), a spoof of splatter Horror.

KN's work is marked by pace, verve and imagination. [SJ]

other works: Wild West Movies (1990), nonfiction.

as Jack Yeovil: Drachenfels * (1989); Demon Download * (1990); Krokodil Tears * (1990); Beasts in Velvet * (1991); Comeback Tour * (1991); Genevieve Undead * (1993); Route 666 * (1994).

as editor: Horror: 100 Best Books (1988; rev 1992) with Stephen Jones, nonfiction; In Dreams (anth 1992) with Paul J McAuley; «The BFI Companion to Horror» (1996), nonfiction.

Kim Newman

links

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.