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Rochelle, Warren 1954- (Warren G. Rochelle)

Rochelle, Warren 1954- (Warren G. Rochelle)

PERSONAL:

Born November 21, 1954, in Durham, NC. Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., 1977; Columbia University, M.S., 1978; University of North Carolina at Greensboro, M.F.A., 1991, Ph.D., 1997.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Fredricksburg, VA.

CAREER:

Writer, poet, novelist, short-story writer, librarian, and educator. Limestone College, Gaffney, SC, instructor; University of Mary Washington, Fredricksburg, VA, associate professor of English. Worked as a librarian for eleven years in Rocky Mount and Raleigh, NC, and Cartagena, Colombia.

MEMBER:

National Council of the Teachers of English, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Science Fiction Research Association, South Atlantic Modern Language Association.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Fullerton Merit Award for Teaching, 1999-2000, Limestone College.

WRITINGS:

Communities of the Heart: The Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 2001.

The Wild Boy (novel), Golden Gryphon Press (Urbana, IL), 2001.

Harvest of Changelings (novel), Golden Gryphon Press (Urbana, IL), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals and journals, including Foundation, Extrapolation, Beyond the Third Planet, Forbidden Lines, Coraddi, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Colonnades, Graffiti, Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, Charlotte Poetry Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Emergency Librarian, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Paradoxa, and Romance and Beyond.

SIDELIGHTS:

Novelist and author Warren Rochelle serves as an associate professor of English at the University of Mary Washington in Fredricksburg, Virginia. A former librarian, he worked in schools in North Carolina and in Cartagena, Colombia, before leaving the field to pursue graduate studies in creative writing and rhetoric and composition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Rochelle adapted his dissertation to create his first book, Communities of the Heart: The Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, an academic and critical study of renowned science fiction writer Le Guin's work. Rochelle carefully explores Le Guin's use of myth in her fiction in "an analysis that draws on a number of theories and interpretations of language, storytelling, myth, the literature of science fiction and utopia, American culture, and more," commented Utopian Studies reviewer Dan Sabia. Rochelle draws upon the work of psychologist Carl Jung, myth expert Joseph Campbell, and others to identify important functions of myth and how these functions are represented in Le Guin's fiction. First, with an echo of Jungian theory, the symbolic and metaphorical nature of myth in storytelling allows access to the "truths and wisdom present in the unconscious, particularly the insights present in and evoked by universal archetypes," Sabia noted. Second, the context of any particular myth reflects the dominant values of a culture and makes them accessible through storytelling. Rochelle examines Le Guin's use of two common myths, the Journey and Quest and the myth of Utopia, within this framework. Other topics covered in Rochelle's work include Le Guin's vision of community; her use of feminist ideas and concepts; and recurring myths and motifs that appear throughout her fiction. Sabia called Rochelle's book a "worthwhile study of important ideas in, and about, an important writer. Anyone interested in the nature and rhetoric of myth, or in science fiction and utopian literature, will find the text useful; anyone seriously interested in Le Guin should add it to their library."

Rochelle's first novel is The Wild Boy. The novel presents a "wonderfully moving variation on the classic theme of Earth's subjugation by aliens," commented Booklist critic Roberta Johnson. The Lindauzi are a sophisticated alien race with advanced technology and space-travel capability. For years, they have existed in a type of symbiotic relationship with a more advanced companion race, the Iani. The relationship between the two races was not equal; in human terms, the Lindauzi are more like loyal dogs, while the Iani represent caring pet owners who increased their pets' intelligence through bioengineering. The connection between the Lindauzi and Iani is beneficial to both races. When a virulent plague wipes out the Iani, however, the Lindauzi find themselves bereft and devastated by the loss of their emotional symbionts. Without the emotional connection to their hosts, the Lindauzi begin to deteriorate: ennui is common, enhanced intelligence is fading, and suicides proliferate. To save his people, Crown Prince Corviax searches the universe for a species that could replace the fallen Iani. When he discov- ers Earth and the mentally and emotionally advanced human race, Corviax realizes he has found a perfect substitute for his previous hosts. The cunning and physically fearsome Lindauzi then begin a program of subjugation of humanity, systematically destroying human technology, culture, and emotional ties to one another. After eliminating much of humanity through an engineered plague virus, the Lindauzi begin breeding the remaining people to improve their empathic abilities, hoping to create a new strain of symbionts with strong emotional bonding talents. Eventually, the Lindauzi perform a role reversal, with themselves as the dominant species and humans in the submissive, pet-like role.

In this difficult environment, humanity finds itself divided into two broad factions: those bred and accepted by the Lindauzi for their empathy, beauty, utility, or other purposes, and groups of wild humans referred to as "wolves" who live in the wilderness and are hunted by the Lindauzi for sport. One of their successes is a male named Ilox, who is able to forge a strong empathic bond with young nobleman Phlarx. As he grows older, he learns much about the Lindauzi, and when he discovers that they were responsible for the virus which killed most of humanity, he flees to the wilderness. There, he falls in with a band of wild humans, eventually marrying and fathering two sons, Davy and Caleb. Unable to resist the bond between himself and Phlarx, however, he eventually abandons his new life and returns to the Lindauzi. Years later, after a Lindauzi raid destroys his tribe, Caleb sets out to find his long-lost father, with whom he shares strong empathic abilities. When he is captured, Caleb finds that he will soon meet Phlarx and his father, and their meeting will have a profound effect on humans and Lindauzi alike.

In this novel, "Rochelle imparts an unsettling spin: however uncouthly genocidal their methods, the Lindauzi have acted entirely out of love: love lost, and then love unrequited," observed Infinity Plus Web site reviewer Nick Gevers. "Rochelle's analysis of different species of love—of the forms love takes within and between species—has a lot to say about how humanity loves, how that love evolves into shared emotional wealth, or, just as easily, into hatred and all the captivities hatred brings," Gevers continued.

Ben Tyson, the protagonist of Harvest of Changelings, is an ordinary human librarian. His wife, Valeria, however, is anything but ordinary: she is a member of the Daoine Sidhe, the powerful and magical race of Faerie. When enemies of the Faerie strike and the Fomorii kill Valeria, the grieving Ben is left to raise their son, Malachi, alone. When Malachi's powers begin to manifest at age ten, the half-fey youngster cannot control them. Ben must get Malachi to the land of Faerie and find help before Malachi's powers kill him. Aided by family friend Jack and a priest, Father Jamey, they work to help Malachi by bringing him to the gateway to the world of Faerie. When three other youngsters also begin to display magical abilities, Malachi becomes the fourth part of an elemental group based on fire, water, earth, and air magic. Elsewhere, Jack's son Thomas embraces powerful but vile dark magic. As both good and evil factions race toward the door to Faerie, a calamitous confrontation between elemental mages and black magic becomes inevitable.

"Harvest of Changelings features everything that makes fantasy a potentially great genre: epic struggles between good and evil; a blend of realism and magic; an enchanted view of the various fantastical species that dwell in realms other than our own, and sometimes trespass here softly or in malicious, murderous force," remarked Kilian Melloy in a review on the SF Site. Booklist reviewer Krista Hutley called the novel "an absorbing fantasy full of sympathetic characters," while a Publishers Weekly contributor named it an "excellent traditional fantasy."

Rochelle told CA: "When I read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was in the third grade.

"My influences include, among others, the writers C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Madeleine L'Engle, Lloyd Alexander, and William Faulkner. I am also inspired by myths and fairy tales.

"I have to know where my character will be at the end before I can begin. I may not know how they will get there at first—that will come as I write. I make a rough outline, sort of a map, but I know it is more of a suggestion. I find myself going back over what I wrote, re-reading, revising, and then going forward. For major revisions, I need a hard copy.

"One of the most surprising things I have learned as a writer is how much of my own life becomes part of my stories unintentionally.

"Right now Harvest of Changelings is my favorite because it is the most true."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2001, Roberta Johnson, review of The Wild Boy, p. 2102; May 15, 2007, Krista Hutley, review of Harvest of Changelings, p. 30.

California Bookwatch, September, 2007, review of Harvest of Changelings.

Choice, October, 2001, R. Nadelhaft, review of Communities of the Heart: The Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, p. 312.

Internet Bookwatch, September, 2007, review of Harvest of Changelings.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2001, review of The Wild Boy, p. 988.

Library Journal, September 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of The Wild Boy, p. 116; May 15, 2007, Jackie Cassada, review of Harvest of Changelings, p. 83.

Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2001, review of The Wild Boy, p. 290; April 16, 2007, review of Harvest of Changelings, p. 38.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2001, review of Communities of the Heart, p. 246.

Science Fiction Studies, March, 2002, review of Communities of the Heart, p. 127.

Utopian Studies, spring, 2001, Dan Sabia, review of Communities of the Heart, p. 368.

ONLINE

Independent Weekly,http://www.indyweek.com/ (January 16, 2008), Zack Smith, review of Harvest of Changelings.

Infinity Plus,http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (March 17, 2008), Nick Gevers, review of The Wild Boy.

SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (March 17, 2008), Georges T. Dodds, review of The Wild Boy; Kilian Melloy, review of Harvest of Changelings.

Strange Horizons,http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (November 12, 2001), Rob Gates, review of The Wild Boy.

Warren Rochelle Home Page,http://rochelle.elsweb.org (March 17, 2008).

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