Francis Paul Wilson (b. May 17, 1946 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American author, primarily in the science fiction and horror genres. His debut novel was Healer (1976). Wilson is also a part-time practicing family physician. He made his first sales in 1970 to Analog while still in medical school (graduating in 1973), and continued to write science fiction throughout the seventies. In 1981 he ventured into the horror genre with the international bestseller, The Keep, and helped define the field throughout the rest of the decade. In the 1990s he became a true genre hopper, moving from science fiction to horror to medical thrillers and branching into interactive scripting for Disney Interactive and other multimedia companies. He, along with Matthew J. Costello, created and scripted FTL Newsfeed which ran daily on the Sci-Fi Channel from 1992-1996.
Among Wilson's best-known characters is the anti-hero Repairman Jack, an urban mercenary introduced in the 1984 New York Times bestseller, The Tomb. Unwilling to start a series character at the time, Wilson refused to write a second Repairman Jack novel until Legacies in 1998. Since then he has written one per year along with side trips into vampire fiction (the retro Midnight Mass), science fiction (Sims), and even a New Age thriller (The Fifth Harmonic). Current books sales are around six million.
Throughout his writing – especially in his earlier science fiction works (most notably An Enemy of the State) – Wilson has included explicitly libertarian political philosophy which extends to his "Repairman Jack" series. He won the first Prometheus Award in 1979 for his novel Wheels Within Wheels and another in 2004 for Sims. The Libertarian Futurist Society has also honored Wilson with their Hall of Fame Award for Healer (in 1990) and An Enemy of the State (in 1991).
Wilson is a noted fan of H. P. Lovecraft:
Why? Because HPL is special to me. Donald A. Wollheim is to blame. He started me on Lovecraft. It was 1959. I was just a kid, a mere thirteen years old when he slipped me my first fix. I was a good kid up till then, reading Ace Doubles and clean, wholesome science fiction stories by the likes of Heinlein, E.E. Smith, Poul Anderson, Fred Pohl, and the rest. But he brought me down with one anthology. He knew what he was doing. He called it THE MACABRE READER and slapped this lurid neato cool Ed Emshwiller cover on it. I couldn't resist. I bought it. I read it. And that was it. The beginning of my end.
In answer to a claim that Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was an influence on The Keep, Wilson responded:
First off, I'm not a fan of LOtR – I struggled through it once as a teen (skimming a lot) and never looked back. ... The influences on The Keep were Ludlum, R. E. Howard, and Lovecraft.
Like most American science fiction writers directly or indirectly influenced by Campbell's view of the genre as a literature of ideas, Wilson makes use of his work to explore trends and technologies speculatively as they manifest. A prominent example is his novel An Enemy of the State (published in 1980), which was written during the 1970s, an era that saw stagflation develop in the U.S. economy. In that period, inflation in the United States reached its highest level since World War II, due to the issue of fiat money by the Federal Reserve. In Wilson's novel, he extends the "squeeze" of confiscatory taxation and currency debauchment to a conclusion involving a Weimar Republic-style hyperinflation that brings down a galactic empire – and from which humanity's only hope of rescue arrives in the form of an anarchist conspiracy to complete the Empire's downfall and replace that government's "official counterfeit" with honest money. Throughout the book, Wilson runs chapter headings quoting from economic works such as Fiat Money Inflation in Franceand KYFHO, a kind of anarchic philosophy that he invented as model for a perfect society. The protagonist La Nague was born on Tolive, where the philosophy led to a government described in detail in "The Healer".
The Keep was later made into a movie and there is much talk of a Repairman Jack film based on one of Wilson's novels.
Hate to say it (being a devout believer in Murphy’s law), but The Tomb looks like it’s on its way to being filmed this year. Last October, after seven years of development, numerous options, five screenwriters, and eight scripts, Beacon Films ("Air Force One," "Thirteen Days," "Spy Game," etc) finally bought film rights. Disney/Touchstone/Buena Vista will be partnering and distributing the film here and abroad.The film will be called "Repairman Jack" (the idea is to make him a franchise character).
His short stories "Foet," "Traps" and "Lipidleggin'" were filmed as short films and collected on the DVD "OTHERS: The Tales of F. Paul Wilson."
His short story "Pelts" was made into an episode of Masters of Horror.
In January, 2012 Wilson began writing for the tech web site Byte, mostly in the persona of Repairman Jack.
Wilson has been a resident of Wall Township, New Jersey.