The Hungry Time was published in 1995. It’s available on Amazon.com.
“It’s impossible to read these stories without being haunted by their ghosts.” – Stephen Brandt (Ballard Books)
“The Hungry Time deals with traditional science fiction themes, but on a personal level. So aliens land, or the human race mutates, or the sun goes nova. What does that mean to an abandoned child struggling to survive in a world without human company, a woman on a space station orbiting a doomed earth, or a religious fundamentalist bitterly resentful of the intrusion of extraterrestrials into her life?”
To read an article about THE HUNGRY TIME, click the Clarion Dispatch newspaper icon above.
The article below is excerpted from a review by Joel Thames, which was printed in Japan Times. © Joel Thames 2007
(Nils Osmar) grew up in the wilderness of Alaska where food had to be dropped by plane from the outside world. There, he and one of his four brothers, a year older, had an identical repetitive dream of being alone in the cabin in the winter without food, listening to their mother telling stories, while waiting for food to come. That inspired Osmar to write THE HUNGRY TIME, title story of his recently published book.
His stories reflect a blend of reality, dreams and imagination….
Three of the stories, Crawling in the Garden, Prime Rib, and the title story, The Hungry Time, grew out of intense dreams that went through twenty to thirty years of metamorphosis and shaping, but the basic part of the story remains close to the dream.
Fire and Ice contracted from novel length to short story after thirty rewrites starting when Osmar was still in high school. Originally the story involved the last survivors orbiting in a space station after a nuclear war, but after discarding all but three of the characters, it became a much more personal story with a backdrop of the sun going nova.
Absolution also started in his last year of high school when he was threatened by the prospects of being sent to Vietnam. He researched the history of the war and what was really going on and set the story in Vietnam in the late sixties or early seventies. The structure of the story remained the same through thirty or forty drafts, but the backdrop changed to an alien revolution.
The dedication page of The Hungry Time is for Kristin, his sister and David, an older brother who died several years ago. David had described a walk along the beach late in the fall in the great wilderness in Alaska where they grew up. He came upon thousands and thousands of jellyfish as far as you could see washed up on the shore. Then a tide came in and washed them all away.
None of Osmar’s family had seen anything like that in the years they grew up there. A couple of years after David’s death, Osmar went walking in the same area along the same lonely deserted beach and had the same experience.
“There was a very alien and strange quality to these jellyfish. It was as if they’d been swept in from a totally different part of the ocean and deposited there.” In Dead Aliens on the Beach, a child walks along the beach and finds a dead alien, mostly eaten by seabirds. The people around him keep finding remnants of Aliens. “It’s a moody story that hopefully works on a number of levels. It is somewhat disturbing and somewhat of a Rorshock. Each person reading the story is going to have a very different visual image of what is going on.”
Together, the stories form a pattern. There’s an emotional structure or statement which flows from one story to the other and the order of the stories is deliberate. Not everyone will read them in the order in which they were written, though, or read them in one sitting.
Though Osmar prefers to concentrate on writing stories and plays, three years ago he created a revolution in the comic book industry monikered photo-realism, then photo-surrealism. It began when he bought a computer thinking he would use it to colorize his comic book and commercial line art. Intrigued with the potential of Adobe Photoshop, he ended up creating a new type of photo-surrealist computer-generated comic book…. For the cover of THE HUNGRY TIME he employed a subdued version of the techniques in (Osmar’s) Cyber Reality Comics. “What I was aiming for in the cover of THE HUNGRY TIME was something clearly science fiction at a glance with characters that have some human qualities but are basically alien and inhuman. But I didn’t want it to look like Star Wars or space opera and wanted to express something of a more subtle, psychological mood. So in the cover composition, the characters are vertical and sedate and the action and colors deliberately understated.”
Sedate and understated describe Osmar. He blends with the burgeoning literary, art and theater Emerald City community…