(1951- ) Scottish publisher, editor and author with a degree in law, with Elsevier International Publishing 1973-1978 and since freelance. Following appearances in the Oxford University SF Group's Amateur Magazine SFinx, he began publishing sf professionally with "Fidei Defensor" in Andromeda 2 (anth 1977) edited by Peter Weston and "The Insect Tapes" in Aries 1 (anth 1979) edited by John Grant. Nonfiction books include a study of the Viking era, The Hammer and the Cross (1980 chap) with Allan Scott, and an introduction to home computing, First Byte (1983); he also reviews for Opera Now. His first novel was Run to the Stars (dated 1982 but 1983), signed Mike Scott Rohan, a promising Scots-in-space Hard SF thriller featuring relativistic Weapons and an Alien message, with nasty Earth bureaucrats ready to attack their own space colony. Then, like several UK writers of the period, he began genre-crossing; most of his fiction since has been Fantasy – the genre in which he seems most at home – beginning with The Ice King (1986; vt Burial Rites 1987) with Allan Scott under the joint pseudonym Michael Scot (not to be confused with the Irish fantasy writer Michael Scott [1959- ]), a supernatural thriller involving Norse mythology and, specifically, the Norse version of the walking dead (draugar). There followed the more notable The Winter of the World sequence beginning with The Winter of the World, Volume One: The Anvil of Ice (1986), set in an invented frozen world imagined in some depth; though the writing is sometimes floridly rhetorical. A young smith sets himself against the entropic Powers driving the oncoming Ice Age; quests follow; spring comes, but at a cost, which the later volumes detail down the generations.
Rohan then made a partial return to a kind of sf, in the jaunty, romantic Science Fantasy Spiral trilogy, comprising Chase the Morning (1990), The Gates of Noon (1992) and Cloud Castles (1994), where reality intersects with a system of increasingly magical Parallel Worlds known as the Spiral and the Core (see Science and Sorcery), and a Computer program can be used as a spell. The series is intelligent, well thought-out, and surprisingly full of observations about near-future Politics. A second fantasy collaboration with Scott, A Spell of Empire: The Horns of Tartarus (1992), was published under their real names. But perhaps Rohan's finest work to date is the solo historical fantasy The Lord of Middle Air (1994), set partly in the Border area of thirteenth-century Scotland and partly in a very convincing land of Faerie [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], in which a young Scots chieftain encounters and has his life changed by the (real-life) magician Michael Scot. (Rohan claims Michael Scot as an ancestor.) Rohan consistently grew in stature as a writer throughout his active career, but has fallen silent. [PN/DRL]
see also: Games and Sports.
Michael Scott Rohan
born Edinburgh, Scotland: 1951
The Winter of the World
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