Walter Jon Williams

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Walter Jon Williams
Walter Jon Williams as Guest of Honour at Worldcon in Helsinki 2017.
Born1953 (age 66–67)
Duluth, Minnesota
ResidenceLos Lunas, New Mexico
Alma materUniversity of New Mexico
GenreScience fiction
Nautical fiction (as Jon Williams)
Notable awardsNebula Award

Walter Jon Williams (born 1953) is an American writer, primarily of science fiction. Previously he wrote nautical adventure fiction under the name Jon Williams, in particular, a series of historical novels set during the age of sail, Privateers and Gentlemen (1981–1984).[1]


As Jon Williams, he designed the game Heart of Oak (1982) and Privateers and Gentlemen (1983) for Fantasy Games Unlimited.[2]:74 A Cyberpunk RPG sourcebook called Hardwired (1989) was licensed by R. Talsorian Games, based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Williams.[2]:209

Several of Williams' novels have a distinct cyberpunk feel to them,[according to whom?] notably Hardwired (also an homage to Roger Zelazny's novel Damnation Alley),[citation needed] Voice of the Whirlwind and Angel Station. He has, however, explored a number of different styles and genres, including farce (Drake Maijstral series), postcyberpunk space opera (Aristoi), military science fiction (Dread Empire's Fall series), alternative history (Wall, Stone, Craft), science fantasy/arcanepunk (Metropolitan and City on Fire), disaster thriller (The Rift), a Star Wars novel (The New Jedi Order: Destiny's Way), fantasy (Quillifer), and historical adventure (Privateers and Gentlemen series), and police procedural (Days of Atonement), usually in a science fiction context. He has also contributed to some of the Wild Cards cooperative novels.

Williams was born in Duluth, Minnesota and graduated from the University of New Mexico, where he received his BA degree in 1975. He currently lives in Valencia County, south of Albuquerque in New Mexico.

Williams played roleplaying games (in a group with other sf authors including George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass, becoming a contributor to their Wild Cards series), and has written both fiction and rulebooks for the games Privateers and Gentlemen from Fantasy Games Unlimited and Cyberpunk from R. Talsorian Games.[citation needed]

In 2006, Williams founded the Taos Toolbox, a two-week writer's workshop for fantasy and science fiction writers.

In 2017, Williams was the Guest of Honor at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Helsinki.



A comedy of manners sci-fi series about the aristocratic burglar Drake Maijstral. Collected as an omnibus, Ten Points for Style (1995)
  • The Crown Jewels (1987)
  • House of Shards (1988)
  • Rock of Ages (1995)
A military science fiction/space opera series.
  • The Praxis (2002)
  • The Sundering (2003)
  • Conventions of War (2005)
  • Investments (2008), novella
  • Impersonations (2016)
  • The Accidental War (2018)
  • Privateers and Gentlemen series, as Jon Williams[1]
    • To Glory Arise, originally The Privateer (1981)
    • The Tern Schooner, originally The Yankee (1981)
    • Brig of War, originally The Raider (1981)
    • The Macedonian (1981)
    • Cat Island (1981)
  • Dagmar Shaw series
A sci-fi thriller series involving crowdsourcing and alternate reality games.
  • This Is Not a Game (2009)
  • Deep State (2011)
  • The Fourth Wall (2012)
  • "Diamonds from Tequila" (2014), short story published in Rogues

Short fiction collections[edit]

  • Facets (1990)
  • Frankensteins and Foreign Devils (1998)
  • The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories (Trade Hardcover: Night Shade Books, 2010, ISBN 978-1-59780-177-5)

Notable short fiction[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Nautical Fiction List" (T–Z). An Annotated Bibliography of Novels based in part on the work of John Kohnen (part 9). California Maritime Academy ( Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  2. ^ a b Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.

External links[edit]