DONALDSON, Stephen R(eeder)

DONALDSON, Stephen R(eeder)
   US writer who remains best known for the two formidably ambitious Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever high-fantasy sequences. Although he was a FANTASY writer of central importance in the 1970s and 1980s, and winner of the JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD for most promising writer in 1979, and although characters in Mordant's Need (see listing below) shift worlds via gates which arguably work according to sf conventions governing MATTER TRANSMISSION, SRD did not become of strong sf interest until the publication of the first volumes of his ongoing Gap sequence of Galaxy-spanning SPACE OPERAS: The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story (1990 UK), The Gap into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge (1991), The Gap into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises (1992) and The Gap into Madness: Chaos and Order (1994), with at least one further volume, projected. The volumes to date are characterized by a pounding bluntness of prose, a plot-pattern which makes some superficial homage to traditional space opera, and an underlying extremism in the creation of character (both the villain and the seeming hero are almost supernaturally monstrous) and in the expression of sexual violence. It is hard to predict what dark climax is being mounted.
   Other works: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, comprising Lord Foul's Bane (1977), The Illearth War (1977) and The Power that Preserves (1977); its sequel, the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, comprising The Wounded Land (1980), The One Tree (1982) and White Gold Wielder (1983); a slim pendant to the sequences, Gilden-Fire (1981 chap); Daughter of Regals and Other Tales (coll 1984), not to be confused with Daughter of Regals (1984), which prints only the title story of the previous volume; Epic Fantasy in the Modern World: A Few Observations (1986 chap), nonfiction; the Mordant's Need books, in effect one novel published in 2 vols as The Mirror of Her Dreams (1986 UK) and A Man Rides Through (1987).As Reed Stephens: An associational detective-novel sequence comprising The Man who Killed his Brother (1980), The Man who Risked his Partner (1984) and The Man who Tried to Get Away (1990).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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