I've been reading F. Paul Wilson for over half my life. Years and years, decades, of books. I never missed a title.

It started when I was living in Seattle, Washington. I saw a copy of The Tomb on the library shelf. It was the Whispers Press edition. I believe there was a Stephen King blurb on the back cover. That and the plot description sold me.

I was instantly hooked. How could I not love a story that begins with someone having a private James Whale film festival? Repairman Jack was an engaging character from the very start.

Almost immediately after that I read The Keep. That clinched the deal. F. Paul Wilson was a favorite writer of mine.

Now, almost forty years later, I feel the exact same way.

After that I read The Touch. Black Wind. I went back to Wilson's early SF works. Short pieces of fiction here and there. A monumental collection called Soft and Others.

I was on board for all of it. The medical novels of the nineties. The occasional science fiction or fantasy novel. The literary pastiches. And of course the revival of the inimitable Repairman Jack in 1998.

F. Paul Wilson began an ambitious reworking of his books, tying in the story thread that began with The Keep and continued on in Reborn, Reprisal, and Nightworld, with his Repairman Jack books. He called it The Adversary Cycle.

Wilson revamped some of the earlier books to fit in with his new vision. He concluded it in 2012 in a revised edition of Nightworld. But his readers weren't ready to say goodbye to Jack.

We came to love the Repairman Jack character. Jack was everything many of us wished to be. Extraordinarily resourceful, a fighter with a strong moral compass. Jack existed in his own realm outside the constraints of society. Don't we all dream of escaping the tyranny of taxes and insurance and mortgages?

Jack returned again and again. Wilson did six books featuring Jack as a boy and a young man. There was one more novel called The Last Christmas.

The author couldn't keep going with Jack. As much as I love the character, I agreed that Wilson needed to move on. He did a trilogy with a new character called The Ice Sequence.

In 2021 F. Paul Wilson introduced yet another character and series in a book called Double Threat. A sequel was announced, but Paul was dropped by his publisher, Tor. Reasons for this are unclear.

F. Paul Wilson continued to publish with an independent company. He did two books featuring a woman doctor. A new edition of Double Threat came out, and Double Dose is currently on its way.

On March 19, 2023, F. Paul Wilson revealed that he had a stroke in January. In late April he said that, barring a miracle, his writing career is over.

I believe in miracles. Not the supernatural kind, but in the strength of the human spirit. Paul just might come back.

It's a good time to buy some of his books. You won't find better fiction. If you like historical horror, The Keep is one of the best and most important books in horror fiction history. You like classic '80s horror? The Touch is unbeatable. Repairman Jack is one of the greatest characters of all time. Start with The Tomb. How about vampires? Go for Midnight Mass. You won't find sparkly bloodsuckers in its pages. Medical thrillers? Sign up for The Select. Short fiction? Soft and Others, The Barrens and Others, or Aftershock and Others. Black Wind is, in my opinion, his masterpiece.

We should pay attention to the new writers on the horizon, but we shouldn't forget the veterans. The masters who built the genre we love. Especially when they are still with us.

I'm not counting F. Paul Wilson out. You can't keep Repairman Jack down and you can't keep a great writer from writing. I understand Paul has some serious rehabilitation to go through. I think he can do it with our help. We can help by buying the books. Reading them, reviewing them, and recommending them to our reader friends.

Written by Mark Sieber

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