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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Pamela Zoline

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Pamela Zoline

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Full Name: Pamela Lifton-Zoline
Born: June 20, 1941
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Occupation: Writer, Painter
Nationality: American


Pamela Zoline or Pamela Lifton-Zoline (born in Chicago in 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 the United Kingdom's New Worlds magazine.

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. 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 and 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 Telluride, Colorado in the United States, where she and her husband John Lifton raised their three children, Abby, Jos and Gabe. In 1984 she co-founded the Telluride Institute with her husband and others.

Works in the WWEnd Database

 Non Series Works