(1932-2007) Canadian-born author (of American parents), in US and Europe most of his life; consulting economist in 1958 to the European Coal and Steel Community, and a senior banker in Switzerland – where he spent eight months in jail awaiting trial on financial charges before skipping bail; he also broadcast widely. His thrillers – some of them being genuine Near-Future sf of an interesting kind – make extensive use of his experiences as an investment banker, and tend to speculate, unusually, on genuine Economic issues. The cartels he frequently describes are not disguises for political or military enterprises, but are constructed to corner markets. His thrillers involve the manipulation of financial institutions, portraying a financial world of frightening instability in which economic collapse, followed by global disorder and war, could be catalysed by the actions of only a few unscrupulous persons. After the success of The Billion Dollar Killing (1973) and The Silver Bears (1974), both set more or less in the present, Erdman published his three Near-Future novels: The Crash of '79 (1976), The Last Days of America (1981) and The Panic of '89 (1986), in each of which world catastrophe is only a year or two ahead. In the first, oil money destabilizes the US banking system and then the world's, and there are prophetic observations about Iran. [PN]
see also: History of SF.
Paul Emil Erdman
born Stratford, Ontario: 19 May 1932
died Healdsburg, California: 23 April 2007
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