William F. Nolan (1928-2021)

Author William F. Nolan, 93, died July 15, 2021 in the hospital of complications from an infection. Nolan was best known for the Logan’s Run series of science fiction novels, the first of which was adapted into a film and TV series.

William Francis Nolan was born March 6, 1928 in Kansas City, MO, and moved with his family to California when he was 19. He trained as a visual artist, and attended the Kansas City Art Institute from 1946-47, San Diego State College from 1947-48, and Los Angeles City College in 1953. He was married once, to Marilyn Seal (AKA Cameron Nolan).

Nolan worked as a writer and designer of greeting cards for Hallmark, a painter of murals, an aircraft assistant, and at various other jobs in the ’40s and ’50s. In 1956, he became a freelance writer. In addition to his fiction and TV writing, Nolan has been an editor for and contributor to auto and racing magazines, and a book reviewer.

Nolan became active in SF fandom in the ’50s, helping found the San Diego Science Fantasy Society, contributing substantially to the fanzine Rhodomagnetic Digest, publishing and editing Ray Bradbury Review, working with “The Group,” a coterie of up-and-coming young writers which included Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, John Tomerlin, George Clayton Johnson and others, and later served as Managing Editor of the first three issues of Gamma (1963-1964).

His first SF story was “The Joy of Living” (1954), and he published short fiction and criticism frequently throughout the following decades under his own name and multiple pseudonyms, including Frank Anmar, and F.E. Edwards. “Saturday’s Shadow” (1979) was a World Fantasy Award finalist. Some of Nolan’s stories were collected in his first book-length publication, Impact-20 (1966). Other collections include Alien Horizons (1974), Wonderworlds (1977), Things beyond Midnight (1984), Blood Sky (1991), World Fantasy Award and International Horror Guild Award finalist Dark Universe (2001), Nightworlds (2001), Have You Seen the Wind? (2003), Wild Galaxy (2005), Ill Met by Moonlight (2005), Nightshadows (2007), and Like a Dead Man Walking (2014).

His first novel was Logan’s Run (1967, with George Clayton Johnson). The book became a Nebula Award-nominated film in 1976, and spawned a television series. There is a comic series set in that world (Logan’s Run: Last Day, with input from Nolan). Nolan has written several sequels, namely Logan’s World (1977), Logan’s Search (1980), and novella Logan’s Return (2001).

His other major property was the Sam Space series, an SF/hard boiled homage to Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. Books include Edgar Award winner Space for Hire (1971), Look Out for Space (1985), and the collection Seven for Space (2008). He also wrote the horror novel Helltracks (1991), three longer stories about paranormal investigator David Kincaid collected as Kincaid: A Paranormal Casebook (2011), and numerous crime and mystery titles, including what Nolan considered his best novel, The Marble Orchard (1996).

Nolan was a prolific anthologist, editing numerous reprint volumes and some originals, notably The Future is Now (1970), The Bradbury Chronicles: Stories in Honor of Ray Bradbury (1991, with Martin H. Greenberg), The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark Frontiers (2010, with writer/editor Jason V Brock), and The Devil’s Coattails: More Dispatches from the Dark Frontier (2011, also with Brock).

Nolan has written many books of non-fiction about authors and writing, among them The Ray Bradbury Companion (1975), Hammett: A Life on the Edge (1983), The Work of Charles Beaumont (1986), the IPA Silver Award winner Let’s Get Creative! (2007), Stoker Award winner Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction (2013), and books on other subjects, including car racing and film. He has also written for the movie industry, such as Burnt Offerings (1976) with director Dan Curtis, and, more extensively, for television, including The Turn of the Screw (1974) and Trilogy of Terror (1975) with friend Richard Matheson.

Nolan’s many awards include a Living Legend Award from the International Horror Guild (2002), a SFWA Author Emeritus Award (2006), the HWA Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010), and a Special Convention Award from the World Fantasy convention (2013). He was named a World Horror Grandmaster in 2015.

Nolan leaves no survivors, but considered close friends Jason & Sunni Brock to be his family.

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