Robert Holdstock (1948 – 2009)
Robert Paul Holdstock was born in a remote corner of Kent, sharing his childhood years between the bleak Romney Marsh and the dense woodlands of the Kentish heartlands. He received an MSc in medical zoology and spent several years in the early 1970s in medical research before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. His first published story appeared in New Worlds magazine in 1968 and for the early part of his career he wrote science fiction. However, it is with fantasy that he is most closely associated.
1984 saw the publication of Mythago Wood, winner of the BSFA and World Fantasy Awards for Best Novel, and widely regarded as one of the key texts of modern fantasy. It and the subsequent ‘mythago’ novels set in Ryhope Wood (including Lavondyss, which won the BSFA Award for Best Novel in 1988) cemented his reputation as one of modern fantasy’s most original and important voices.
1991 was a signature year, with the publication of the acclaimed dark fantasy novel, The Fetch,an exploration of a child’s unusual powers (hailed as ‘magnificent’ by The Times), story collection The Bone Forest, and novella, ‘The Ragthorn’, written with friend and fellow author Garry Kilworth. All of these would find themselves on award shortlists the next year, with ‘The Ragthorn’ winning the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella and the BSFA Award for Short Fiction.
Holdstock’s interest in Celtic and Nordic mythology was a consistent theme throughout his works and is most prominently reflected in the acclaimed Merlin Codex trilogy – consisting of Celtika, The Iron Grail and The Broken Kings – published between 2001 and 2007. This series took Merlin out of his Arthurian context and pitched him into an even older narrative alongside such mythological figures as Jason and Medea.
In addition to the Mythago and Merlin sequences for which he is best known, Holdstock published several collections of short stories, a series of occult thrillers (Night Hunter), television novelisations, The Emerald Forest – based on John Boorman’s film of the same name – and many works under pseudonyms. With Malcolm Edwards, he co-wrote Tour of the Universe, which was the basis for a space shuttle simulation ride at the CN Tower in Toronto, and with Chris Evans, he edited the ‘Other Edens’ series of anthologies, showcasing emerging British talent.
Robert Holdstock died in November 2009, just four months after the publication of Avilion, the long-awaited, and sadly final, return to Ryhope Wood.
Praise for Robert Holdstock:
‘Robert Holdstock is Britain’s best fantasist’
‘The finest writer of metamorphic fantasy’
The Washington Post
‘No other author has so successfully captured the magic of the wildwood’
‘Rob Holdstock’s is one of the voices at the very heart of modern fantasy’
Guy Gavriel Kay
Visit Robert Holdstock’s website
We’d like to wish a very happy Publication Day to all of our books out in bookshops and online today. This week we have five truly epic new books perfect for fans unforgettable adventure, incredible mythology or unmissible romance. Wishlists at the ready, we’ve got a plethora of reasons to visit your local bookshop, library, favourite eTailer or feed your eReader.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson-A single volume mass market paperback of the first volume in the … More
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Check out what Team Gollancz are reading this bank holiday weekend (against the setting of our very shiny new offices)..
Amy – Robot Overlords by Mark Stay
Sophie – The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
Gillian – Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock
Simon – Things That Never Happen by M. John Harrison
Marcus – Luna by Ian McDonald
Charlie – Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids by Meghan Daum
What are … More
Tags: Friday Reads, Ian McDonald, Joanne M. Harris, Loki, luna, Mark Stay
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Following on from the well-received list of SF Masterworks, we’re delighted to present – for your fantastical reading pleasure – a similar list of the recently-restyled Fantasy Masterworks.
The Dragon Griaule
The Falling Woman
The Phoenix and the Mirror
Votan and Other Novels
The Broken Sword
Ombria in … More
Tags: Aegypt, Avram Davidson, Beauty, fantasy masterworks, John Crowley, John James, Last Call, Little Big, Lord Darcy, Lucius Shepard, Mythago Wood, Ombria in Shadow, Pat Murphy, Patricia A. Mckillip, Poul Anderson, Randall Garrett, Robert Holdstock, Sheri S. Tepper, The Broken Sword, The Dragon Griaule, The Falling Woman, The Phoenix and the Mirror, Tim Powers, Votan and Other Novels
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We’d like to wish a very happy Publication Day to all of our books out in bookshops and online today. This week we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of a ground-breaking fantasy classic, an out of this world adventure and a return to Bon Temps. You’ve got so many reasons to visit your bookshop, library or feed your e-reader.
Dead But Not Forgotten by Charlaine Harris: Charlaine Harris’ smash-hit Sookie Stackhouse series may have reached its conclusion, but … More
Tags: Charlaine Harris, dead but not forgotten, Mythago Wood, Neil Gaiman, Robert Holdstock, Stephen Baxter, Ultima
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I’ve written about Robert Holdstock a number of times since his untimely death, five years ago. Along with most of the Gollancz team, I was lucky enough to know the man as well as the writer; and, although he produced an incredible body of work – enough, certainly, to place him in the very highest rank of modern fantasy writers – I know I’m not alone in missing the former more than the latter.
Far … More
Tags: fantasy masterworks, Neil Gaiman, New Releases, Robert Holdstock, World Fantasy Awards
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