ROBERT PAUL HOLDSTOCK (2 August 1948 – 29 November 2009) was an English novelist and author best known for his works of Celtic , Nordic , Gothic and Pictish fantasy literature , predominantly in the fantasy subgenre of mythic fiction .
Holdstock broke into print in 1968. His science fiction and fantasy
works explore philosophical , psychological , anthropological ,
spiritual and woodland themes. He received three BSFA awards and won
* 1 Biography * 2 Writings * 3 Critical reception * 4 Book covers * 5 Awards * 6 Select bibliography * 7 References * 8 Sources * 9 External links
Robert Holdstock, the eldest of five children, was born in Hythe ,
Robert Holdstock's first published story, "Pauper's Plot", appeared in the magazine New Worlds in 1968. His first novel was a science fiction work, Eye Among the Blind, published in 1976.
During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s Holdstock wrote many fantasy and science fiction novels along with a number of short stories, most of which were published under a pseudonym. Robert Holdstock's pseudonyms included Robert Faulcon, Chris Carlsen, Richard Kirk, Robert Black, Ken Blake, and Steven Eisler. These included some adaptions of television scripts for 'TV-tie in' novelisations, including some for The Professionals . During this same period he wrote "Space Wars, Worlds and Weapons", a series of essays about the various tropes of science fiction, interspersed with colour reproductions of space art.
Holdstock wrote a novella, "
The Dark Wheel ", which was included with
the best-selling computer game Elite in 1984. He also wrote The
Emerald Forest, based on the film of the same title directed by John
Boorman , and novelised episodes of the
Between 2001 and 2007 Holdstock produced a trilogy of fantasy novels, the Merlin Codex, consisting of Celtika, The Iron Grail and The Broken Kings.
Holdstock wrote, edited or contributed to a number of non-fiction works, including Alien Landscapes, Tour of the Universe, Horror: 100 Best Novels and an Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (not The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction ).
In 2013 a joint volume of poetry with Garry Kilworth (with whom he collaborated on the award winning novella "The Ragthorn") was published by PS Publishing, Poems, Peoms and Other Atrocities.
David Pringle described Eye Among the Blind, Holdstock's first science fiction novel, as a "dogged, detailed, somewhat slow-moving planetary mystery". Ursula K. Le Guin called the same novel "As strong a treatment of a central theme of science fiction – alienness, and the relation of the human and the alien – as any I have read."
According to Michael D. C. Drout , Holdstock's Ryhope Wood series is a significant part of the fantasy genre, displaying the power and aesthetic standards of Tolkien’s fantasy without being either a "close imitation of" or a "reaction against" Tolkien. Drout considers Holdstock, along with Ursula K. Le Guin, a worthy inheritor of the fantasy tradition created by Tolkien. Patrick Curry placed Holdstock in a quartet of noteworthy fantasy authors, alongside Le Guin, John Crowley and Marion Zimmer Bradley , for writing fantasy books that come close to Tolkien's breadth and depth of imagination, and "in some respects surpass Tolkien".
The covers of Holdstock's books were produced by a variety of illustrators . The original UK and US covers of Mythago Wood were illustrated by Eddi Gornall and Christopher Zacharow, respectively; Geoff Taylor illustrated the original UK covers for the Mythago Wood sequels Lavondyss, The Bone Forest, The Hollowing and Merlin's Wood. Illustrators of subsequent covers and editions include Jim Burns , Tom Canty, John Howe , Alan Lee , John Jude Pallencar, Larry Rostant and Ron Walotsky. John Howe stated: "Holdstock is to me one of the best Celtic fantasy authors alive today."
* The novella
Mythago Wood won the
BSFA Award for Best Short Story
in 1981 along with the World
* ^ Holdstock, Robert Eye Among the Blind (New York: Doubleday &
Company, 1976), back flap.
* ^ Newman, Kim St. James Guide to
* Clute, John (1997). The Encyclopedia of