Pamela Zoline

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Pamela Zoline or Pamela Lifton-Zoline (born in Chicago in [1] 1941) is a writer and painter living in the United States in Telluride, Colorado.


Among science fiction fans, she is known for her controversial short story "The Heat Death of the Universe", published in 1967 in New Worlds. Although she went on to publish further stories in magazines including The New SF, Likely Stories, and Interzone, Zoline remains best known for "Heat Death", which has been frequently reprinted since its original publication.[2] Zoline is admired for her experimental approach to both the form of the short story and the genre of science fiction, especially for using the language of science to interrogate the scientific world view. "Heat Death" is structured in a loosely encyclopedic style, with 54 numbered paragraphs narrated in a deliberately matter-of-fact third-person voice. It centers on a day in the life of middle-class housewife Sarah Boyle as she goes about preparing her children's breakfast and organizing a birthday party. Boyle's domestic sphere is presented as a possibly closed system analogous to the universe itself, and Boyle as subject to the ravages of literal and metaphorical entropy. As the narrative veers back and forth among scientific explanations, descriptions of household events, and philosophical speculation, the cumulative effect is of a mind and a culture on the verge of collapse.

Zoline has also written a children's book (Annika and the Wolves), libretti for two operas (Harry Houdini and the False and True Occult, The Forbidden Experiment), and original science fiction radio plays for the Telluride Science Fiction Project.

Zoline lived in the United Kingdom, especially London, for the first two decades of her life. She later moved to the United States, where in 1984 she co-founded the Telluride Institute with her husband John Lifton and others.


  • The Heat Death of the Universe and Other Stories, 1988 (short story collection).
  • Annika and the Wolves. Coffee House Press, 1985.


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