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2 March 2014

Simon Hawke (born September 30, 1951) is a USA author of mainly SF/F novels. He was born Nicholas Valentin Yermakov, but began writing as Simon Hawke in 1984 and later changed his legal name to Hawke. He has also written near future adventure novels under the penname “J. D. Masters” and a series of humorous mystery novels along with many novelizations, many of his other works are under his original name so if you wnat to see everything, look for all three names.

Hawke’s first book,s 1981-1984, under his original name were rather heavy, more philosophical, and without major sales. But in 1984 he changed his bamne and began writing lighter work which took off with the dozen books of The Timewars series, (1984-1991) followed by the two Psychodrome books – Psychodrome and Psychodrome 2 in 1987 and 1988. And in 1987 he started an urban fantasy series. ten books based on the idea that after our civilization collapsed, magic came back and became the new technology. That series was good work. I ran into Simon Hawke’s work when in 1992 I purchased a book entitled The Nine Lives of Catseye Gomez. It was the nineth in the Wizard series, I read it in a gulp one night, cracked up, and went out looking for more of the same.

The fact was, that sadly, I didn’t find them. 9 Lives seems to have been a one-off. It was a riot, a parody of Mickey Spillane set in the world of the Wizards series, and it wasn’t only as funny as hell, it also made some very good points on a variety of subjects. I treasure my copy of it, re-read it regularly, and recommend it to anyone likely to enjoy that sort of theme. I can also recommend the TimeWars series and the others of the Wizard series too, but after them, Hawke went first into a mystery series which you’ll either love or dislike, and then into years worth of novelizations – everything from Battlestar Galactica to Star Trek, Batman, Predator, and Friday the 13th. There was a three book-foray in there of The Reluctant Sorcerer (1992)The Inadequate Adept (1993)The Ambivalent Magician (1997) which are very readable, but from then on it was novelizations and mysteries. So far as I can discover he had no more published books after 2003 with the fourth and final book in his Shakespeare and Smythe mystery series, and he seems to have given up writing short stories before that.

I find it a real pity that he never used Catseye Gomez as the start of a new spin-off series. The book was clever, funny, made a number of very good points on religion, animals, cops, personal freedoms and the Mean Streets, and would have been worth buying at twice the price. I’ve had it for more than 20 years, read it maybe five or six times and love it all over again each time. If you want to buy only one book that this author wrote, buy that one. If you want to buy an SF series then buy the Timewars books which are good reading. For Urban fantasy buy the Wizard series, or  for plain fantasy buy The Reluctant Sorcerer, The Inadequate Adept,  and The Ambivalent Magician. And while the author may not be selling any new work, his older work – including Catseye Gomez –  remains available on amazon and other sites.

And an update to that. While at Conclave 2, I purchased an older anthology entitled Mob Magic, which contains an excellend Catseye Gomez short story – My Claw is Quick. And again it reminded me what a pity it is that he didn’t write more of this character.

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