(1946- ) US writer who began publishing work of genre interest in the early 1970s. FPW's career has gradually shifted first from sf to Horror/Dark Fantasy, and more recently to medical thrillers. He began his move to horror with The Keep (1981), a memorable tale of supernatural Evil set in a Transylvanian castle occupied by Nazi forces during World War II. The Nazi interlopers accidentally awaken an ancient creature, whose initial attacks seem to indicate the presence of a Vampire but whose true nature is quite different, and who is ultimately opposed by an enigmatic supernatural adversary; it was filmed as The Keep (1983). The Keep, the first novel in the Adversary sequence, was followed by Reborn (1990), in which the protagonist inherits a fortune from an elderly scientist he has never met. His subsequent search for the reasons behind the bequest leads to the discovery of a cloning experiment and the reemergence of the evil creature from The Keep. Wilson enhances the scope of the story in Reprisal (1991), set 20 years later as the creature's power continues to grow, and Nightworld (1992).
FPW's fondness for Pulp-style action and adventure is perhaps most clearly reflected in The Tomb (1984), in which a shipload of monstrous creatures is transported from India to the USA to fulfil an old Curse. FPW's rebellious antihero, Repairman Jack, is called upon to save the day, a role he has since reprised in several short stories. Black Wind (1988) is another novel of WWII, this time centred in the Pacific theatre, where a mystical order of Japanese monks, the Kakureta Kao, seeks to harness the power of the Black Wind, a power that would guarantee a Japanese victory. This is one of FPW's longest and most intricate works, yet it maintains an action-oriented approach. His recent move to medical thrillers is presaged by The Touch (1986), in which the conveyance of a magical and seemingly glorious power of Healing leads to dire consequences. A related story, "Dat-tay-vao", based on a Vietnam flashback scene cut from the novel, can be found in Soft and Others (coll 1989). Horror elements can still be found in FPW's most recent novels – The Select (1993 UK as by Colin Andrews; 1994 as by FPW) and Implant (1994 UK as by Colin Andrews; 1995 as by FPW) – but these clearly herald a new direction.
Regardless of genre or subject matter, FPW's work is well crafted. [BM]
other works: Healer (1972 Analog as "Pard"; exp 1976); Wheels within Wheels: A Novel of the LaNague Federation (1971 Analog; exp 1978), winner of the first Prometheus Award; The Tery (1973 Fiction 4 as "He Shall Be John"; exp 1979 chap dos; further exp as coll 1990); An Enemy of the State (1980); Black Wind (1988); Dydeetown World (fixup 1989); Ad Statum Perspicuum (coll 1990); Midnight Mass (1990 chap), a Vampire novella; Pelts (1990 chap); Sibs (1991; vt Sister Night 1993 UK); Buckets (1991 chap); The Barrens (1992), an excellent Lovecraftian novella; Freak Show (anth 1992); The LaNague Chronicles (omni 1992), collecting Healer, Wheels within Wheels, and An Enemy of the State; Diagnosis: Terminal (anth 1996).
Francis Paul Wilson