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MacAvoy, R A

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1949-    ) US author, primarily of Fantasy – which tends to be quirky, well written and scholarly about historical detail – and of one sf novel. Her first book, Tea with the Black Dragon (1983), is a witty contemporary fantasy about the friendship that grows between a middle-aged woman musician and an ageless Oriental who is probably the human incarnation of a dragon. The sequel was Twisting the Rope: Casadh an t'Súgáin (1986). The Trio for Lute trilogy – Damiano (1983), Damiano's Lute (1984) and Raphael (1984), collected as A Trio for Lute (omni 1985) – is set in an Alternate-History Renaissance Italy, France and Moorish Spain where Magic works. The Book of Kells (1985) features time-travel from the present day to a god-frequented tenth-century Ireland. The Grey Horse (1987), also set in Ireland (Connemara in the late nineteenth century), is a finely told, complex romance about local resistance allied to the Land League, featuring a púca, or fairy-horse. MacAvoy's sf novel is The Third Eagle: Lessons Along a Minor String (1989), an entertaining romance about a naive Native-American warrior's learning experiences on a variety of planetary and spacecraft venues; though promising, it is less focused than most of her fantasy. MacAvoy returned to fantasy with the Lens of the World trilogy, comprising Lens of the World (1990), King of the Dead (1991) and Winter of the Wolf (1993; vt The Belly of the Wolf 1994): more coming-of-age material, this time set in a marginally fantasticated baroque or renaissance alternate world. In Between (2009), a novella, carries its on-the-run protagonist through an array of worlds. MacAvoy became an important fantasist, especially in the unfamiliarity of her material, which has enlivened a genre specializing all too often in retreads; her relative silence in the past decade or so is regretted. [PN]

see also: John W Campbell Award; Philip K Dick Award.

Roberta Ann MacAvoy

born Cleveland, Ohio: 13 December 1949



Black Dragon

Trio for Lute

  • Damiano (New York: Bantam Books, 1983) [Trio for Lute: pb/Jim Burns]
  • Damiano's Lute (New York: Bantam Books, 1984) [Trio for Lute: pb/Jim Burns]
  • Raphael (New York: Bantam Books, 1984) [Trio for Lute: pb/Jim Burns]
    • A Trio for Lute (Garden City, New York: Nelson Doubleday, 1985) [omni of the above three: Trio for Lute: hb/Walter Velez]

Lens of the World


  • Albatross (Monument, Colorado: WordFire Press, 2017) with Nancy Palmer [hb/]
  • Shimmer (Monument, Colorado: WordFire Press, 2017) with Nancy Palmer [hb/]

individual titles


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