Alan Ryan (May 17, 1943 – June 3, 2011) was an American horror author who met with quite a bit of success throughout the 1980s. After a 1980 John W. Campbell Award nomination, Ryan’s first novel, Panther! was published by NAL/Signet in 1981, followed by The Kill, which was published by TOR in 1982. Ryan wrote a second novel set in Deacon’s Kill the following year, Dead White, which is my personal favorite by him. Deacon’s Kill was a fictitious town invented by Ryan and located in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Ryan followed up in 1984 with Cast a Cold Eye, published in hardcover by Dark Harvest, and in paperback by TOR.
Ryan’s short fiction was published in many venues throughout his time as an active author. His 1984 story “The Bones Wizard” won the 1985 World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction. His short fiction was collected in two books in the late 1980s, Quadriphobia and The Bones Wizard and Other Stories. Ryan was a Member of the National Book Critics Circle, and had many articles on literature and travel published in several national newspapers and magazines, including USA Today, the Washington Post, Smithsonian and Travel and Leisure. He was also an anthologist, editing several collections of work by other authors.
Ryan was born in New York but moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil later in life. He died of pancreatic cancer the same year his last novel, Amazonas, was published at the age of 63.
Cemetery Dance Publications posthumously released two previously unpublished books by Ryan (as Alan Peter Ryan), a novel called The Slave Tree and The Back of Beyond, a collection of previously unpublished stories.
The author photo on this page is a scan from Too Much Horror Fiction. The featured image for this article is from cover art by Jill Bauman. The cover scans in the gallery below are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.
2 thoughts on “Alan Ryan”
Thanks for linking back! I especially dig Ryan’s short horror stories, and I wish there’d been a mass-market edition of them; it’d be a classic today.
My pleasure. Thanks for all of your great blog posts — love the site. And I completely agree on those short story collections. I came across the hardcover editions of Ryan’s stories some time back and was surprised. I didn’t even know they existed before then. Seems like horror story collections from contemporary authors generally don’t get much respect from publishers.