Entry updated 29 October 2021. 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; an amalgam with a recognizable unique savour that in a sense comprises 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 (see also Ruins and Futurity).
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, and Cave Dwellers (2017) carries a similar story, even more deeply imbrued in mythopoeisis, movingly towards the war itself: chthonic figures impel the tale towards the fantastic. [JC]
see also: Anti-Intellectualism in SF.
born Norfolk, Virginia: 30 December 1952
- Saraband of Lost Time (New York: Avon Books, 1985) [pb/Jim Burns]
- Rumors of Spring (New York: Doubleday Foundation, 1987) [hb/Gervasio Gallardo]
- View from the Oldest House (New York: Bantam Books, 1989) [hb/Martin Springette]
- Through the Heart (New York: Bantam Books, 1992) [pb/Wil Cormier]
- Tex and Molly in the Afterlife (New York: Avon Books, 1996) [hb/Haydn Cornner]
- In the Land of Winter (New York: Avon Books, 1997) [hb/Mary Grandpré]
- Kaspian Lost (New York: Avon Books/Spike, 1999) [hb/Russell Gordon]
- Another Green World (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2006) [hb/Peter Mendelsund, from Caspar David Friedrich]
- Cave Dwellers (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2017) [hb/Oliver Munday]
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