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A writer of pulpish science fiction and fantasy, Simon Hawke (b. 1951) may either be a genius, or he's just fucking with us.

A prolific sonofabitch, Hawke has published over 60 novels--among them: the "Time Wars" series, "The Wizard of 4th St" series, and the "The Reluctant Sorcerer" trilogy. Originally from New York, he currently (as of 1998) teaches writing at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona and is the founder and director of the Sonora Writers Workshop.

Aside from writing and teaching, Hawke is very manly for a sci/fi spinner. He's way in to motorcycling and bodybuilding. Sure, like most God fearing genre followers, he enjoys fantasy art... but in the form of tattoos. As celebrated fantasy artist David Mattingly has pointed out in his book, "Hawke is probably the first author in history to make his cover art a part of his body." This image is negated, though, when one finds that Simon Hawke is a nom de plume for someone named Nicholas Valentin Yermakov.

Biography aside, Hawke, like Terry Brooks, has no problem pimping himself for corporation owned character novels or big screen adaptions. Hawke has peddled Wizards of the Coast fare such as "Dark Sun" and "Birthrite". He's even done some "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Hell, he freaking wrote a "Batman" novel. Normally, I would just point and laugh at him, if not for one thing... the man might be a genius.

Hawke takes a typical genre novel and packs it full of seemingly random details. Instead of telling us about Muffy, a random blond teenager who is about to use up her whole 2 paragraphs by getting her spleen torn out by a mewling alien; Hawke tells about Muffy, a blond teenager who is dead inside... whose cold emotional core is masked by angora sweaters and Date Night, and whose impending doom at the claws of a mewling alien is a moment of glee--being already dead, Muffy laughs at her attacker for trying to commit an oxymoron. Yeah. Muffy is not a main character. She is a two page blurb that just shows up for no apparent reason.

Other things that show up: prominent historical figures acting like assholes, gender bending, multiple body occupation, sociopathic heroes... It's insanity. I mean, when you read a spaghetti space opera, you expect a hero, a villian, a chick, a monster, a quest to save the world/universe, some fighting, and a tightly packed resolution. You don't see any of this other... stuff coming--and frankly, I don't know what to do with it. I've reread some things now, just looking for symbolism and have found nothing. Apparently, Hawke's not all about being some double-entendre spouting litmo. On the contrary, the plots of his writing (though often somewhat involved) are pretty straight forward. It is obvious that he advocates some causes such as creativity, competition, fine arts etc. But these advocations are not so much a writer trying to spew forth his ideology as they are a writer employing a plot device. Abstractions to move a story forward... Hmmm. It's almost like Hawke is using sci/fi and fantasy like he doesn't take it seriously; yet at the same time, maybe he just deviates from the formula in short bursts of brilliant thought.


Anyway, before this writeup becomes any more rambling :D I would just like to say that my biographical sources are:

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/authors/Simon_Hawke.htm
http://www.interplay.com/freespace/hawke.html

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