Working name of US writer Lawrence Watt Evans (1954- ), who began publishing work of genre interest with "Paranoid Fantasy #1" in 1975 for American Atheist, as Lawrence Evans; he created his hyphenated surname circa 1972 on finding there was another writer named Lawrence Evans. He began publishing full-length work with his first sequence, the Lords of Dus series – The Lure of the Basilisk (1980), The Seven Altars of Dûsaara (1981), The Sword of Bheleu (1982) and The Book of Silence (1984) – which gave the impression that it would retell the 12 labours of Hercules as a series of inspired Plot Coupons; but the series terminated before its Sword-and-Sorcery hero, mighty-thewed Garth, completed a full Herculean quota. LWE's second series, the Legends of Ethshar – The Misenchanted Sword (1985), With a Single Spell (1987), The Unwilling Warlord (1989), The Blood of a Dragon (1991), Taking Flight (1993) and The Spell of the Black Dagger (1993) – is more sustained. The first novel gradually makes clear that the apparently routine Fantasyland over whose fate various foes interminably clash is actually a genuine Land held in Bondage; this original touch of Belatedness, however, does not always sufficiently counteract the Genre-Fantasy plotting which carries various unwilling heroes.
The War Surplus series – The Cyborg and the Sorcerers (1982) and The Wizard and the War Machine (1987) – again laces S&S with harsher material, this time elements of the military-sf genre, along with a cyborg protagonist. Split Heirs (1993) with Esther Friesner is a spoof featuring crazed Twins, a Dragon and other devices. Out of this World (1994) begins a new fantasy series, again genre-crossing. LWE remains an ingenious, potentially major writer, but tends to pull his punches. [JC]
other works: The Chromosomal Code (1984); Shining Steel (1986); Denner's Wreck (1988); Nightside City (1989); Nightmare People (1990), horror; Newer York: Stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy About the World's Greatest City (anth 1991), ed; The Rebirth of Wonder (coll 1992); Crosstime Traffic (1992).
Lawrence Watt Evans