Stow, Randolph

Tagged: Author

(1935-2010) Australian writer, in England from 1966, whose novels tend to embed deeply alienated protagonists into venues – some remote, some distressingly intimate for Australians, as in Midnite: The Story of a Wild Colonial Boy (1967) – which are described with anthropological precision, resulting in tales like The Suburbs of Hell (1984), which, whether non-genre or sf/fantasy, verge constantly upon fable. In Tourmaline (1963) the venue is a decaying town in backwoods Australia and the time the Near Future; the narrative is loaded with echoes of myth and forebodings of a further worsening of the Post-Holocaust world. The five protagonists of Visitants (1979), set in Papua, supply a mosaic of responses to a First Contact experience in a manner that remotely prefigures the strategies underlying Karen Joy Fowler's Sarah Canary (1991). The Girl Green as Elderflower (1980) is a strikingly intense fantasy. Stow's silence as a writer after 1984 obscured his central importance as an Australian visionary. [JC]

Julian Randolph Stow

born Geraldton, Western Australia: 28 November 1935

died Harwich, Essex: 29 May 2010

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