Grant, Richard

Tagged: Author

(1952-    ) US author; he lived with Elizabeth Hand from 1988 to 1996. Grant began writing work of genre interest with "Drode's Equations" for New Dimensions 12 (anth 1981) edited by Marta Randall, and came to rapid prominence with three novels of mixed sf/fantasy provenance, set in the same Post-Holocaust land, almost certainly the USA, but transfigured by time and events. The first, Saraband of Lost Time (1985), is set much the deepest into this venue, so far into the future that the rather shambling plot mainly serves the Planetary-Romance function of guiding the reader through the world, whose contours have reminded some critics of M John Harrison's Viriconium. The rich array of protagonists featured in Rumors of Spring (1987) is reminiscent of the same source, though Grant seems quite visibly to have taken more pleasure in creating characters than Harrison ever has; the plot involves a quest, hampered by spiritual Entropy, for the Gaian spirit of the forest which is beginning to assault the desultory evening cultures of humankind. Beyond Harrison, authors freely used as models by Grant include James P Blaylock and John Crowley; but the amalgam not only has a recognizable unique savour, but is in a sense a central focus of interest: the past of the world (especially seen from the Far Future) and the past of genres are, in his early work, essentially the same story.

View from the Oldest House (1989) casts its net even more widely, bringing in allusions to figures from Milton to James Joyce to Archibald MacLeish to Thomas Pynchon, in addition to all the above; the story itself, set in a Near-Future, Holocaust-haunted version of the same domain, tends to founder in these labyrinths of reference, just as its protagonist founders in his search for a self. A fourth novel, Through the Heart (1992), sharpens in sf terms Grant's abiding venue: North America after the Fall, and won the 1993 Philip K Dick Award. Most of his later work has been fantasy, though Another Green World (2006) is an historical novel about the origins of Nazi Germany. [JC]

see also: Anti-Intellectualism in SF.

Richard Grant

born Norfolk, Virginia: 30 December 1952

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