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Kim Newman

From Academic Kids

Kim Newman (born July 31, 1959) is an English journalist, film critic, and fiction writer. Recurring interests visible in his work include film history and horror fiction — both of which he attributes to seeing Tod Browning's Dracula at the age of eleven — and alternate versions of history. He has won the Bram Stoker Award and the International Horror Guild Award, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award.

He was born in London and raised in Aller, Somerset. He was educated at Dr. Morgan's Grammar School in Bridgwater, and set his experimental semi-autobiographical novel Life's Lottery 1999 in a fictionalised version of the town (Sedgwater). He studied English at the University of Sussex.

Non-fiction

Newman's first two books, both non-fiction, were published in 1985, and go some way to demonstrating his range. Ghastly Beyond Belief: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of Quotations, co-written with his friend Neil Gaiman, is a light-hearted tribute to entertainingly bad prose in fantastic fiction. Nightmare Movies: A critical history of the horror film, 1968-88 is a serious history of horror films.

Nightmare Movies was followed by Wild West Movies: Or How the West Was Found, Won, Lost, Lied About, Filmed and Forgotten (1990) and Millennium Movies: End of the World Cinema (1999). Newman's non-fiction also includes the BFI Companion to Horror (1996) and Horror: 100 Best Books (co-editor, 1988), which won a Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction.

Fiction

Newman's first published novel was The Night Mayor (1989), set in a virtual reality based on old black-and-white detective movies. In the same year, as "Jack Yeovil", he began contributing to a series of novels published by Games Workshop, set in the world of their Warhammer wargaming and role-playing games.

Newman's most famous novel is Anno-Dracula, published in 1992. The novel is set in 1888, during Jack the Ripper's killing spree — but a different 1888 to the one we know, in which Dracula succeeded in becoming the ruler of England. In the novel, fictional characters — not only from Dracula, but also from other works of Victorian era fiction — appear alongside historical persons. Anno-Dracula was followed by a series of novels and shorter works in the same setting (although not the same time period — as of 2003, the series has reached the 1980s). Some of the short stories are available online: see below.

Other novels include Life's Lottery (1999), in which the protagonist's life story is determined by the reader's choices, The Quorum (1994), Jago (1991), and Bad Dreams (1990).

Newman is also a prolific writer of short stories. His short story collections include The Original Dr. Shade, and Other Stories (1994), Famous Monsters (1995), Seven Stars (2000), Where the Bodies are Buried (2000), and Unforgivable Stories (2000). There is also Back in the USSA (1997), a collection of stories co-written with Eugene Byrne, set in an alternate history where the United States had a communist revolution in the early twentieth century and Russia didn't.

Many of his stories feature agents of the Diogenes Club, "an institution that quietly existed to cope with matters beyond the purview of regular police and intelligence services". One particular sequence focuses on the adventures during the 1970s of psychic investigator Richard Jeperson; the stories homage various aspects of '70s British culture through adventures reminiscent of '70s television series such as The Avengers and Department S. (A version of the Diogenes Club also appears in the Anno-Dracula series, complete with alternative version of Jeperson; and the Diogenes Club series sometimes conversely includes alternative versions of characters who first appeared in the Anno-Dracula series.)

The short story "Famous Monsters", in which a Martian gets a job in Hollywood, was included on an information package sent to Mars by a US-Russian probe in 1994.

He has written a Doctor Who novella - Time and Relative which was published by Telos in 2001.

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