Rohan, Michael Scott 1951- (M. S. Rohan, Mike Scott Rohan; Michael Scot, a joint pseudonym)
ROHAN, Michael Scott 1951- (M. S. Rohan, Mike Scott Rohan; Michael Scot, a joint pseudonym)
PERSONAL: Born January 22, 1951, in Edinburgh, Scotland; son of Renaud-Philippe (a doctor and dental surgeon) and Vera (maiden name, Forrest) Rohan; married; wife's name Deborah (an archives conservator), 1977. Ethnicity: "Breton-Scots passing for English." Education: Oxford University, M.A., 1973. Politics: "Highly suspect." Religion: "Sympathetic agnostic, with fire insurance." Hobbies and other interests: Music, home entertainment technology, anthropology, paleontology, archery, travel; speaks French and German.
ADDRESSES: Home—Cambridge, England. Agent—Maggie Noach Literary Agency, 21 Redan St., London W14 0AB, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Entered publishing as a reference book editor and became senior editor of two general encyclopedias, as well as other publications; also runs Asgard, an editorial company specializing in international reference titles, with two other senior editors. Worked for a short time as a technical author; former columnist for the London Times.
AWARDS, HONORS: All Time Great Fantasy Short Story, Gamesmaster International, 1991, for "Findings"; William F. Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy Novel, International Association for the Fantastic Arts, 1991, for the "Winter of the World" trilogy.
(With Allan J. Scott) Fantastic People, Pierrot (London, England), 1980, New American Library/Dutton (New York, NY), 1981.
(With Allan J. Scott) A Spell of Empire: The Horns ofTartarus, Orbit (London, England), 1992.
The Lord of Middle Air, Gollancz (London, England), 1994.
"WINTER OF THE WORLD" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
The Anvil of Ice, Morrow (New York, NY), 1986.
The Forge in the Forest, Morrow (New York, NY), 1987.
The Hammer of the Sun, Morrow (New York, NY), 1988.
Castle of the Winds, Orbit (London, England), 1998.
The Singer and the Sea, Orbit (London, England), 1999.
Shadow of the Seer, Orbit (London, England), 2001.
"SPIRAL" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
Chase the Morning, Morrow (New York, NY), 1990.
The Gates of Noon, Morrow (New York, NY), 1992.
Cloud Castles, Morrow (New York, NY), 1993.
Maxie's Demon, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.
(With Allan J. Scott) The Allan J. Scott and the Cross, Alder (Oxford, England), 1980.
!/!, Arrow (London, England), 1982.
First Byte: Choosing and Using a Home Computer, E. P. Publishing (London, England), 1983.
(With Allan Scott and Phil Gardner) The BBC MicroAdd-On Guide, Collins (London, England), 1985.
(Editor) The Classical Video Guide, Gollancz (London, England), 1994.
(Editor and translator, under name M. S. Rohan) Marie Thérèse Masias, Painting on China, Arco (New York, NY), 1982.
(Under name Mike Scott Rohan) Run to the Stars, (science fiction novel), Arrow (London, England), 1983, Ace (New York, NY), 1986.
Also author of the short story "Findings," and of various computer titles. Work represented in anthologies, including Aries 1 and Andromeda 2. Translator of various German and French works, including a number of arts and crafts books. Contributor of articles, columns, and reviews to magazines and newspapers, including Opera Now, Times (London, England), Classic CD, Gramophone, International Opera Collector, and Music.
SIDELIGHTS: Michael Scott Rohan has published both science fiction and fantasy novels. Notable among his fantasy writings is the "Winter of the World" trilogy comprised of The Anvil of Ice, The Forge in the Forest, and The Hammer of the Sun. This trilogy, published in the late 1980s, concerns the classic conflict between good and evil during an Ice Age replete with wizards, knights, and strange creatures. Among the many memorable characters in these volumes are Alv (later known as Elof), a foundling trained by the sinister necromancer Mylio, who eventually becomes Alv's foe, and Kermorvan, a great warrior who joins Alv in his battle against Mylio. There are also—in addition to Mylio—a host of villains, including hordes of demonic Ekwesh who seek to overcome all who conduct their lives in opposition to the evil Ekwesh ways.
Rohan is also the author of the "Spiral" fantasy trilogy, which includes Chase the Morning, The Gates of Noon, and Cloud Castles. In this series, which appeared in the early 1990s, Rohan writes of Stephen Fisher, an inventor and prominent businessperson who discovers the Spiral, a supernatural world in which mythology is real. Fisher embarks on various adventures in each of the "Spiral" tales. In The Gates of Noon, which a Publishers Weekly reviewer called "a welcome change from standard sword-and-sorcery quests," he and a band of pirates undertake a perilous journey that leads them into conflict with supernatural forces attempting to undermine Fisher's shipping business. In Cloud Castles, Fisher travels across a futuristic Europe as he attempts to return the magical lance associated with the Holy Grail, which is also the origin of worldwide benevolence. Fisher's journey, as one might expect, is hardly an uneventful one, for neo-fascists threaten to cause political and social instability throughout the lands, and the spear itself is sought by evil powers.
In the late 1990s, Rohan returned to the realm of the "Winter of the World" trilogy, adding a prequel trilogy set a thousand years before the first. For this second trilogy, Rohan retains his setting on an Earth in the midst of an ice age, and as in the earlier trilogy, at the center of the story is a mastersmith able to forge magical swords and other implements of war in the ongoing fight against the ultimate evil: the ice. The first volume, Castle of the Winds, is something of a lark or adventure tale, according to Dave Langford in the New York Review of SF. He noted the ribald humor of some of the scenes and the sarcastic overtones with which Rohan orders this universe. Langford longed for the "ring of mythic grandeur which several times sounded" in the first "Winter of the World" trilogy, however, and while admitting that this lack appeared to be intentional, he concluded that Castle of the Winds was "a pleasant read, considerably overshadowed by its parent trilogy."
Simeon Shoul, writing for the Web site Infinity Plus, described Rohan's talents, as exhibited in the first "Winter of the Worlds" trilogy, as "a deft, compelling touch with his prose, a marvelously skillful blending of mythical motifs from American, Viking and Ancient Greek sources, and best of all, a wholly new slant on the nature of evil." For Shoul, Castle of the Winds was an admirable beginning to a new "Winter of the Worlds" trilogy, exhibiting Rohan's skills at their best. The reviewer faulted the second novel in the new trilogy, The Singer and the Sea, however, for its thin plot. The third book, Shadow of the Seer, is a departure from all the earlier "Winter of the Worlds" stories, according to Shoul, because it centers not on a smith but on a seer to whom the events and legends of the earlier books "are either non-existent future contingencies or laughable rumours." The result is "a darker book than any of Rohan's preceding ones," Shoul declared. Thus, though the book shares with the author's other fantasies his fine writing style and interesting play with mythical sources, "nonetheless, this is a hard book to truly enjoy," Shoul concluded, because of its bleak plot.
Rohan once told CA: "I try to write, above all, the kinds of books I want to read myself. I love knowledge and scholarship. I love hard science, wild myth and legend, and the possibilities of the imagination. Above all, I love weaving all of these together. Music feeds my imagination, music of all kinds, the more timeless the better, whether it is Wagner, Basin Street or ancient folk melodies. My literary heroes range from Shakespeare and Chaucer to Goethe, the great Edinburgh men Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the late Fritz Leiber, Avram Davidson, Mikhail Bulgakov, and, of course, J. R. R. Tolkien.
"What I write may be escapist; but I believe escape is a necessary function which every author of fiction must to some extent fulfill, and which can often allow us to confront our condition with greater clarity. Ask yourself, as Tolkien said to C. S. Lewis, 'Who is most interested in preventing escape?—Jailers.'"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Clute, John, and Peter Nicholls, editors, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1993, p. 1024.
Christian History, August, 1999, "Conversion of the Vikings," p. 45.
Kliatt, November, 1992, p. 18.
Locus, October, 1992, p. 56; January 1994, p. 48; December, 1999, review of The Singer and the Sea, p. 19.
New York Review of SF, April, 1999, Dave Langford, review of Castle of the Winds.
Publishers Weekly, August 22, 1986, p. 83; October 9, 1987, p. 81; June 7, 1993, p. 57; August 8, 1994, p. 392.
School Library Journal, February, 1987, p. 99.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1995, pp. 38-39.
Infinity Plus,http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (June 14, 2002), Simeon Shoul, review of Shadow of the Seer.*