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Kelleher, Victor

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1939-    ) UK-born Australian teacher and author, in Africa for about twenty years before emigrating to New Zealand in 1973 and then Australia in 1976; he has written some horror as by Veronica Hart. Kelleher's major narrative concerns, in his sf and Fantasy (he makes no sharp distinction between the two genres) for Young Adult readers, seem to be the resolving of conflicts between cyclic/seasonal time and linear time. His first novels – Voices from the River (1979), Forbidden Paths of Thual (1979) and The Hunting of Shadroth (1981) – are fantasy. His sf includes at least one sf novel addressed primarily to an adult audience, The Beast of Heaven (1985), set in a Ruined Earth where a hunter-gatherer culture roams, encountering the eponymous Monster and a Computer programme that may be running amok Underground; the book won a Ditmar Award for best Australian sf. The Green Piper (1984) hovers Equipoisally between sf and fantasy as a light in the sky may (or may not) literally announce the return of the Pied Piper to a world beginning to suffer Climate Change; Taronga (1986) is a Post-Holocaust tale whose protagonist's Telepathy gives him a commanding rapport with animals; he finds an apparent enclave of safety – an untouched Zoo in the heart of Sydney – but this sanctum proves unsafe, and he must lead his tribe out of the ruined City. The period and the venue are reiterated in Kelleher's only series – the Parkland sequence comprising Parkland (1994), Earthsong (1995) and Fire Dancer (1996) – in which humans, caged as apes (see Apes as Human) in the eponymous zoo, must explore their own human nature – and are sent to the time of the Neanderthals (see Time Travel) as part of their quest – in order to find something like freedom. The Ivory Trail (1999) is a Timeslip fantasy. As an author, Kelleher sometimes fails to sweeten a seemingly congenital reticence; but this hampering of affect has lessened in more recent years, allowing his concerns and his strong cognitive leanings fuller play. [JW/JC]

see also: Australia; Children's SF.

Victor Michael Kitchener Kelleher

born London: 19 July 1939




  • Parkland (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking, 1994) [Parkland: hb/Tony Pyrzakowski]
  • Earthsong (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking, 1995) [Parkland: hb/Christina Stead]
  • Fire Dancer (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking, 1996) [Parkland: hb/Christina Stead]

individual titles (selected)

  • Voices from the River (London: Heinemann, 1979) [hb/]
  • Forbidden Paths of Thual (London: Kestrel Books, 1979) [hb/Antony Maitland]
  • The Hunting of Shadroth (Ringwood, Victoria: Kestrel Books, 1981) [hb/Howard Townley]
  • Master of the Grove (Ringwood, Victoria: Kestrel Books, 1982) [hb/Graham Townsend]
  • The Green Piper (Ringwood, Victoria: Kestrel Books, 1984) [hb/Robert Roennfeldt]
  • The Beast of Heaven (St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 1985) [hb/Kathy Erickson]
  • Taronga (Ringwood, Victoria: Kestrel Books, 1986) [hb/Ken Done]
  • The Makers (Ringwood, Victoria: Kestrel Books, 1987) [hb/G A S P P]
  • Baily's Bones (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking Kestrel, 1988) [hb/Maire Smith]
  • The Red King (Ringwood, Victoria: Kestrel Books, 1989) [hb/Max Hyman]
  • Brother Night (London: Julia MacRae Books, 1990) [hb/Janet Woolley]
  • Del-Del (Milson's Point, New South Wales: Random House, 1991) [hb/]
  • To the Dark Tower (Milson's Point, New South Wales: Random House, 1992) [hb/Liz Pyle]
  • The Ivory Trail (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking Penguin, 1999) [hb/Garry Moore]
  • Red Heart (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking Penguin, 2001) [pb/David Altheim]
  • The Other (Sydney, New South Wales: HarperCollins Voyager, 2001) [pb/Darien Causby/GettyImages]
  • Born of the Sea (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking Penguin, 2003) [pb/Darien Causby/Getty Images]
  • Dogboy (Ringwood, Victoria: Viking Penguin, 2005) [pb/Cathy Larsen/Getty Images]
  • The Red Death (Medford, Oregon: Armchair Fiction, 2021) [dos: first appeared July 1941 Cosmic Stories: pb/Tom Miller]


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