Hickman, Tracy 1955–
Hickman, Tracy 1955–
(Tracy Raye Hickman)
Born November 26, 1955, in Salt Lake City, UT; son of Harold R. (a professor) and Joan P. (a receptionist) Hickman; married Laura Curtis (an author), June 17, 1977; children: Angel, Curtis, Tasha, Jarod. Education: Attended Brigham Young University. Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Hobbies and other interests: Video, music, guitar, piano, singing, models, movies, computer games, television production, and animation.
Home—St. George, UT. Agent—Jonathan Lazear, The Lazear Agency Inc., 800 Washington Ave. N., Ste. 660, Minneapolis, MN 55401.
Writer, novelist, game designer, and screenwriter. TSR, Inc., Lake Geneva, WI, game designer, 1981-86, consultant, 1986—. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), missionary in Hawaii and Indonesia, 1975-77. Creator of adventure games, including "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "Pharaoh," "Lost Tomb of Martek," "Oasis of the White Palm," "Ravenloft" and "Ravenloft II," and numerous versions of "Dragonlance." Worked variously as a supermarket stocker, theater projectionist and manager, glass worker, television assistant director, and drill press operator.
"DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES" SERIES; WITH MARGARET WEIS
Dragons of Autumn Twilight (also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1984.
Dragons of Winter Night (also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1985.
Dragons of Spring Dawning (also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1985.
Dragonlance Chronicles (contains Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning), poetry by Michael Williams, illustrations by Denis Beauvais and Jeffrey Butler, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1988.
Dragonlance: The Second Generation, poetry by Michael Williams, illustrations by Ned Dameron, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1994.
Dragons of Summer Flame, poetry by Michael Williams, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1995.
"DRAGONLANCE LEGENDS" TRILOGY; WITH MARGARET WEIS
Time of the Twins (also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1986.
War of the Twins (also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1986.
Test of the Twins (also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1986.
The Dragonlance Legends (contains Time of the Twins, War of the Twins, and Test of the Twins), poetry by Michael Williams, illustrated by Valerie Valusek, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1988.
"DRAGONLANCE TALES"; EDITOR, WITH MARGARET WEIS, AND CONTRIBUTOR
Magic of Krynn, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1986.
Kender, Gully Dwarves, and Gnomes, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.
Love and War, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.
The Reign of Istar, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1992.
The Cataclysm, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1992.
The War of the Lance, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1992.
The Dragons of Krynn, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1994.
"WAR OF SOULS" SERIES; WITH MARGARET WEIS
Dragons of a Fallen Star, TSR (Renton, WA), 1999.
Dragons of a Fallen Sun, TSR (Renton, WA), 2000.
Dragons of a Lost Star, TSR (Renton, WA), 2001.
Dragons of a Vanished Moon, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2002.
"DARKSWORD" SERIES; WITH MARGARET WEIS
Forging the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.
Doom of the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.
Triumph of the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.
Legacy of the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
"ROSE OF THE PROPHET" TRILOGY; WITH MARGARET WEIS
Will of the Wanderer, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
The Paladin of the Night, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
The Prophet of Akhran, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
"DEATH GATE CYCLE"; WITH MARGARET WEIS
Dragon Wing, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.
Elven Star, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.
Fire Sea, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
Serpent Mage, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.
The Hand of Chaos, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
Into the Labyrinth, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
The Seventh Gate, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
"STARSHIELD" SERIES; WITH MARGARET WEIS
Starshield Sentinels, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1996, published as The Mantle of Kendis Dai, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1997.
Nightsword, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1998.
"BRONZE CANTICLES" SERIES; WITH WIFE, LAURA HICKMAN
Mystic Warrior, Aspect, 2004.
Mystic Quest, Aspect, 2005.
Mystic Empire, Aspect, 2006.
(Editor, with Margaret Weis) Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home: The Complete Krynn Source Book, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.
(With Margaret Weis) Dragonlance Adventures (game manual), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.
(With Margaret Weis) The Art of Dragonlance, edited by Mary Kirchoff, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.
(Editor, with Margaret Weis) The History of Dragonlance: Being the Notes, Journals, and Memorabilia of Krynn, compiled and designed by Maryls Heeszel, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1995.
The Immortals, ROC (New York, NY), 1996.
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman Present Treasures of Fantasy, Harper (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor, with Margaret Weis) Heroes and Fools: Tales of the Fifth Age, TSR (Renton, WA), 1999.
(With Margaret Weis) Realms of Dragons: The Worlds of Weis and Hickman, edited by Denise Little, Harper (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Margaret Weis) More Leaves of the Inn of the Last Home, edited by Elizabeth Baldwin, TSR (Renton, WA), 2000.
(With Margaret Weis) Well of Darkness (book 1 of "Sovereign Stone" trilogy), EOS (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor, with Margaret Weis) Rebels and Tyrants: Tales of the Fifth Age, Wizards Publishing (Renton, WA), 2000.
(Editor, with Margaret Weis and Patrick McGilligan) The Best of Tales, Wizards Publishing (Renton, WA), 2000.
(With Margaret Weis) Dragons of a Lost Star, Wizards of the Coast, 2001.
Mystic Warrior was adapted to audio-cassette.
Novelist and screenwriter Tracy Raye Hickman was introduced to role-playing games by his wife, Laura, and was soon so taken with the activity that he began designing games himself. When he approached TSR Inc., a game publisher and the maker of "Dungeons & Dragons," with his ideas in the early 1980s, he met Margaret Weis, with whom he has since collaborated on dozens of fantasy novels. With The Immortals, published in 1996, Hickman began his solo foray into novel writing, while still continuing his successful collaborations with Weis.
Hickman and Weis's novels feature clashes between good and evil forces in worlds populated by wizards, elves, dragons, and a variety of other beings, including humans. They followed their popular "Dragonlance" and "Darksword" novels with their longest series, the seven-volume "Death Gate Cycle," which portrays a universe whose inhabitants find their lives threatened by both natural forces and warring factions. A Publishers Weekly critic, reviewing the fourth Death Gate novel, Serpent Mage, noted that "the worlds created by Hickman and Weis become more attractively complex with each book of the series." By the arrival of the final entry, The Seventh Gate, some reviewers were less impressed with their efforts; a Publishers Weekly commentator thought all but the most devoted fans would "find that incomprehensible … landscapes and tedious prose make this volume both dizzying and dull." Booklist contributor Roland Green, however, contended that The Seventh Gate provided the series with "perhaps the most powerful conclusion in Weis and Hickman's considerable body of work." He praised the duo for their storytelling ability and their use of "classic fantasy elements."
In the late 1990s Weis and Hickman embarked on a new series, "Starshield." In the first entry, The Mantle of Kendis-Dai (first published as Sentinels), the survival of an interstellar civilization hinges on the recovery of an ancient relic, the eponymous mantle owned by the world's chief god. Merinda Neskat, a woman searching for the mantle, encounters a lost band of Earth astronauts led by Jeremy Griffiths, who aid her in the quest. Booklist contributor Roland Green praised the volume's pace, writing style, and "excellent" character portrayals, although a Publishers Weekly reviewer asserted that "ludicrous dialogue … and particularly cheesy characterizations spoil this introduction to a potentially intriguing universe." The next book in the series, Nightsword, finds Jeremy, having acquired the mantle, now in love with Merinda and seeking to beat various villains in a race to find the all-powerful weapon of the title. Once again, a Publishers Weekly critic faulted Weis and Hickman's work, saying they were "trying to revive characters already sagging" in the series opener. On the other hand, Jackie Cassada declared in Library Journal that Nightsword and its predecessor showed the collaborators at "the top of their storytelling form." In Booklist, Green opined that Nightsword "mostly delivers on the promise made by The Mantle of Kendis-Dai" that Weis and Hickman would provide "another excellent adventure saga."
In 2000 the collaborators began their "Sovereign Stone" trilogy with Well of Darkness, which involves political intrigue between two sons of a king in a realm inhabited by elves and dwarves as well as humans; one son and his magician ally manage to touch off a war. A Publish-ers Weekly reviewer averred that Hickman and Weis are "not much more than good plain cooks as stylists, but here they are writing at an entirely respectable level."
Hickman's first solo book, The Immortals, is set in the near future, when efforts to cure AIDS have produced an even worse disease, whose sufferers are rounded up and sent to camps, ostensibly for quarantine but actually for elimination. The prisoners eventually rise up against their oppressors with the aid of a wealthy businessman who has infiltrated one of the camps in an attempt to find his homosexual son. A Publishers Weekly commentator applauded Hickman's new twist on "a classic SF theme" and praised his handling of character and setting. The Immortals, the reviewer added, "represents a radical departure for the author…. He's to be commended for his daring and vision."
With the first book in the "Bronze Canticles" series, Mystic Warrior, Hickman forged a literary relationship with a new collaborator: his wife, Laura Hickman. A biographer on the Tracy Hickman Web site noted that writing novels together is the fulfillment of a "longtime dream" for the couple. In terms of working with his wife rather than long-time collaborator Margaret Weis, Hickman stated in an interview on SFFWorld. com: "Every partnership is unique: they have their different strengths and ways of making it work. The important thing, however, is to put the integrity of the work first—before egos. If you are asking ‘what is best for the book’ and stop asking ‘what is best for me’ in a collaboration, you'll have much better success both with the book and the collaboration."
Mystic Warrior tells the story in which the separate universes of goblins, humans, and the faerie converge. The world of humans is controlled by ruthless dragons, and newlywed blacksmith Galen Arvad finds himself connected to the faerie and goblin realms through his dreams. Sharing this connection are a faerie Seeker, who lives in a world in constant war with mystical creatures, and a goblin who lives among the vast machines left behind by a race of immense Titans. As the three struggle to understand the nature of their connection, they begin to understand that the magic that threads through their worlds is much bigger than themselves and that it will have profound effects on their lives and on the joint fate of their universes. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel an "impressive and provocative fantasy" as well as a "fine example of socially conscious and unpredictable imaginative fiction."
The second book in the series, Mystic Quest, takes up the story of the three worlds nearly a quarter century after the events in the first book, focusing on the sons and daughters of the earlier protagonists. Humans are in rebellion against the repressive dragons using the Deep Magic rediscovered by Galen Arvad. In the human world, Arvad's sons, Caelith and Jorgan, undertake a quest to find the legendary lost city of the gods, Calsandria. Faerie princess Aislynn becomes a mystic in training and joins a quest of her own to find an important lost city in her realm. In the goblin's world, wizard Thux also strikes off to locate a fabled city, this one containing secrets to making the Titans' gigantic robots work. A reviewer in MBR Bookwatch called the Hickmans' book "an enthralling fantasy novel with plenty of action and fully developed characters. Mystic Quest is fantasy at its very best." The gates between the faerie, human, and goblin worlds finally open in the concluding volume of the trilogy, Mystic Empire. Once the access between worlds is created, the three disparate universes and their inhabitants must find common ground and a way to coexist peacefully. A Publishers Weekly critic commented favorably on the authors' "lyrical writing" in this volume.
Hickman, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, once told CA that his religious faith provides the "moral foundation reflected most strongly in my work." "The heart of any writing is the story," Hickman continued. "While technique and discipline are essential to a writer, these elements are without substance unless, at the base, there is the simple tale. Nothing can compensate for a lack of plot."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 1994, Roland Green, review of The Seventh Gate, p. 2030; November 15, 1996, Green, review of Sentinels, p. 576; June 1, 1997, Green, review of Legacy of the Darksword, p. 1669; May 15, 1998, Green, review of Nightsword, p. 1608.
Kliatt, November, 2004, Hugh Flick, Jr., audiobook review of Mystic Warrior, p. 48.
Library Journal, May 15, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of Legacy of the Darksword, p. 106; May 15, 1998, Jackie Cassada, review of Nightsword, p. 118; April 15, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of Mystic Warrior, p. 128.
MBR Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of Mystic Quest.
Publishers Weekly, August 17, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Elven Star, p. 55; January 6, 1992, review of Serpent Mage, p. 52; October 18, 1993, review of Into the Labyrinth, p. 67; January 17, 1994, review of The Second Generation, p. 420; July 25, 1994, review of The Seventh Gate, p. 38; April 22, 1996, review of The Immortals, p. 63; October 21, 1996, review of Sentinels, p. 75; April 27, 1998, review of Nightsword, p. 51; September 4, 2000, review of Well of Darkness, p. 91; March 15, 2004, review of Mystic Warrior, p. 59; March 21, 2005, review of Mystic Quest, p. 40; March 6, 2006, review of Mystic Empire, p. 50.
Dragoncon.org,http://www.dragoncon.org/ (January 2, 2007), biography of Tracy Hickman.
SFFWorld.com,http://www.sffworld.com/ (May 21, 2006), interview with Tracy Hickman.
Tracy Hickman Home Page,http://www.trhickman.com (January 2, 2007).