(1951- ) US writer who made a considerable impact with the Paratwa sequence: Liege-Killer (1987) – which won the Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award for Best First Novel – Ash Ock (1989) and The Paratwa (1991). From the first, the sequence gives off a sense of professional polish and hurry, densely packing a wide variety of 1980s adventure-sf conventions into an intensely realized Ruined Earth setting dominated by Space Habitats, which contain those who escaped before the end of life on Earth. Technology is controlled, but pressure is building; and when the Paratwa – pre-Holocaust, genetically primed assassins with unmistakable Berserker characteristics – begin to reappear, Hinz soon engages a large cast in violent action, as the villains are hunted down and their masters (the Ash Ock) are exposed. It could not be claimed that the second and third volumes of the sequence show any deep originality, but the impersonal vigour of the narrative strikes a responsive note. Hinz also wrote a Comics series for DC Comics – Gemini Blood (1996-1997 9 issues) with artist Tommy Lee Edwards – set in the Paratwa universe.
A singleton, Anachronisms (1988), also demonstrates Hinz's canny adherence to demanding genre models in the tale of a corporation-owned survey ship – packed with Cyborgs, Espers, obsessed Scientists, a paramilitary cadre, and Realpolitik-driven AIs – which must face the threat of a seemingly undefeatable Alien which assaults them from an about-to-be-exploited planet. The parallels with the movies Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) are too explicit not to have been meant as a homage, and demonstrate that the sophisticated models of action in space deployed by those films had become necessary to high-quality, cutting-edge written adventure sf. Hinz was an alert participant in the early days of the rediscovery of Space Opera, though he fell silent as a novelist just as he might have begun to participate in the enlarged conversation of this subgenre after 1990. Other work in Comics includes Dead Corps with artist Steve Pugh, for DC Comics, and Blade with Pugh for Marvel Comics. Hinz returned to sf novels with Spartan X (2012). [JC/DRL]
Christopher E Hinz
born Reading, Pennsylvania: 10 March 1951
- Liege-Killer (New York: St Martin's Press, 1987) [Paratwa: hb/Ken Barr]
- Ash Ock (New York: St Martin's Press, 1989) [Paratwa: hb/Bryn Barnard]
- The Paratwa (New York: St Martin's Press, 1991) [Paratwa: hb/Earl Hinz]
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