Rovin, Jeff 1951–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Rovin, Jeff 1951–

PERSONAL: Born November 5, 1951, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Herman (an engineer) and Ada (a secretary; maiden name, Michaelson) Rovin; married Leslie Stevens, July 27, 1975; children: Michael Alexander.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Attn: Publicity Dept., St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.

CAREER: Writer, editor, and copywriter. National Periodicals, New York, NY, magazine editor, 1972; Country Studios, Danbury, CT, advertising copywriter, 1972–73; Warren Publishing Co., New York, NY, magazine editor, 1973–74; Seaboard Periodicals, New York, NY, magazine editor, 1974–75; freelance writer, 1975–.

WRITINGS:

VIDEO GAME BOOKS

The Complete Guide to Conquering Video Games: How to Win Every Game in the Galaxy, Collier Books (New York, NY), 1982.

How to Win at Nintendo Games #2, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1989.

How to Win at Nintendo Sports Games: Also Includes the Tengen Games, RBI Baseball and Toobin', St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1990.

How to Win at Game Boy Games: With a Special Section of Tips on Winning at Atari's Lynx System, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1991.

How to Win at Sega & Genesis Games, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1991.

Conquering Sega Genesis Games, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1994.

Conquering Super Nintendo Games, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Tim Moriarty) Videogame Characters, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1997.

REFERENCE BOOKS

A Pictorial History of Science Fiction Films, Citadel Press (Secaucus, NJ), 1975.

Of Mice and Mickey, Manor Books (New York, NY), 1975.

The Fabulous Fantasy Films, A.S. Barnes (San Diego, CA), 1977.

From Jules Verne to Star Trek, Drake Publishers (New York, NY), 1977.

The Films of Charlton Heston, Citadel Press (Secaucus, NJ), 1977.

The Supernatural Movie Quizbook, Drake Publishers (New York, NY), 1977.

The Great Television Series, A.S. Barnes (San Francisco, CA), 1977.

From the Land beyond Beyond, Berkley (New York, NY), 1977.

Movie Special Effects, A.S. Barnes (San Diego, CA), 1977.

Mars!, Corwin (Los Angeles, CA), 1978.

The Book of Dinosaurs, Berkley (New York, NY), 1978.

The UFO Movie Quizbook, New American Library (New York, NY), 1978.

The Fantasy Almanac, Dutton (New York, NY), 1979.

The Transgalactic Guide to Solar System M-17, Putnam (New York, NY), 1981.

The Science Fiction Collector's Catalog, A.S. Barnes (San Diego, CA), 1982.

Richard Pryor, Black and Blue, Bantam (New York, NY), 1983.

TV Babylon, New American Library (New York, NY), 1984.

The Encyclopedia of Superheroes, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1985.

Julio!, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1985.

The Encyclopedia of Super Villains, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1987.

Destination: Stalingrad, Lynx Books (New York, NY), 1989.

The Encyclopedia of Monsters, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1989.

1,001 Great One-Liners, New American Library (New York, NY), 1989.

500 Hilarious Jokes for Kids, Signet (New York, NY), 1990.

The Unauthorized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Quiz Book, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals, Prentice Hall (New York, NY), 1991.

500 Great Lawyer Jokes, Signet (New York, NY), 1992.

Laws of Order: A Book of Hierarchies, Rankings, Infrastructures, Measurements, and Sizes, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1992.

500 Great Doctor Jokes, Signet (New York, NY), 1993.

The Laserdisc Film Guide: Complete Ratings for the Best and Worst Movies Available on Disc, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Steve Burkow) Sports Babylon, Signet (New York, NY), 1993.

Adventure Heroes: Legendary Characters from Odysseus to James Bond, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1994.

Did You Ever Wonder—: Why Do Cowboys Wear High Heels?: Who Put Boys in Blue (and Girls in Pink)?: Are Bats Really Blind?, Globe Communications (Boca Raton, FL), 1994.

What's the Difference?: A Compendium of Commonly Confused and Misused Words, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1995.

The Book of Dumb Movie Blurbs, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Tracy Perrell) The Essential Jackie Chan Sourcebook, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Fascinating Facts from the Bible, Globe Communications (Boca Raton, FL), 1997.

NOVELS

Hollywood Detective: Garrison (mystery), Manor Books (New York, NY), 1975.

The Hindenburg Disaster (historical novel), Manor Books (New York, NY), 1975.

Hollywood Detective: The Wolf (mystery), Manor Books (New York, NY), 1975.

Re-Animator, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Sander Diamond) Starik, Dutton (New York, NY), 1988.

(With Sander Diamond) The Red Arrow, Dutton (New York, NY), 1990.

Cliffhanger, Jove Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Vespers, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Fatalis, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Stealth War, Jove Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Line of Control, Berkley (New York, NY), 2001.

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Mission of Honor, Berkley (New York, NY), 2002.

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Sea of Fire, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Call to Treason, Berkley (New York, NY), 2004.

Tempest Down, St. Martin's Griffin (New York, NY), 2004.

Dead Rising, Berkley (New York, NY), 2005.

Rogue Angel, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2005.

OTHER

(With Taylor Pero) Always, Lana, Bantam (New York, NY), 1982.

(With Adam West) Back to the Batcave, Berkley (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Kathy Tracy) Ellen DeGeneres Up Close: The Unauthorized Biography of the Hot New Star of ABC's Ellen, Pocket Books (New York), 1994.

Cat Angels, HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Tracy and David Perrell) Kelsey Grammer: The True Story, HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1995.

Also author of a science and media column in Analog, and of "Graveyard Examiner" in Famous Monsters.

ADAPTATIONS: The "Tom Clancy's Op-Center" book written by Rovin have been adapted as sound recordings by Simon & Schuster Audio.

SIDELIGHTS: Writer Jeff Rovin is a prolific author of video game guides, reference works, compendia of popular culture, and novels. In a career spanning more than two decades, Rovin has written over seventy books. Many of his works are encyclopedias, including such titles as The Encyclopedia of Superheroes, The Encyclopedia of Supervillains, The Encyclopedia of Monsters, and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. He has written histories of science fiction films, the Mickey Mouse Club, and television series. Many of Rovin's early works are strategy and technique guides for popular video game systems of the time. His novels include thrillers, detective fiction, and the "Op Center" books based on a concept by Tom Clancy.

Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships covers aliens, mechanical people, and space craft from a variety of movies, television shows, comic books, toys, video games, radio programs, and trading card series. The more than three hundred entries describe each character or spaceship's first appearance, plus physical characteristics and related information. Popular aliens such as ALF are covered, along with more obscure creatures. The book also pays particular attention to creatures and craft from popular franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, and comic books. A Booklist reviewer called the guide an "ambitious work."

Rovin's Adventure Heroes: Legendary Characters from Odysseus to James Bond provides a reference to a wide range of famous and obscure fictional heroes from various cultures and areas of the world. Rovin focuses on characters who provide entertainment as well as good examples worth emulating, and excludes costumed superheroes and characters of questionable morals. What remains are more than 570 characters, ranging from Gilgamesh to Tintin, and from Hopalong Cassidy to television's Lt. Colombo. John Maxymuk, writing in RQ, noted that "there is a great deal here, and what's here is delightful." In Back to the Batcave Rovin collaborated with the star of the classic 1960s Batman television show, Adam West, who offers his reminiscences of his years on the program. Booklist reviewer Mike Tribby commented that "this is an informative book about a classic bit of television history."

Rovin is also a novelist with well over a dozen books to his credit. Vespers is about a pair of giant, mutated bats that terrorize Manhattan and seek to propagate their species at the expense of mankind. The attacks start slowly but gradually build until millions of the nocturnal creatures are swarming down the city's streets. The protagonists, a male police officer and a female zoologist, finally discover the bull-sized, tremendously powerful mutant bats, and struggle to come up with a way to contain or destroy them before a grotesque new species is fully unleashed on humanity. Fatalis is another novel of "cryptozoological horror," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. In this novel, giant saber-tooth tigers prey on targets in Los Angeles. Jim Grand, one of the three protagonists, is an anthropologist and Native American expert who still grieves the death of his wife; Hannah Hughes is a spirited reporter who is on the trail of a number of recent suspicious disappearances; and Sheriff Malcolm Gearhart is a lawman who cannot rest easy while there are problems on his beat. The three come together to search for clues about the tigers—Jim finds ancient Chumash cave illustrations that warn about the big cats—and to try to find a way to overcome them. The novel "reiterates horror-movie traditions with panache," a Publishers Weekly critic stated.

Rovin has also contributed to the series that bears the name of popular military thriller writer Tom Clancy. In Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Line of Control two ancient enemies wage a modern-day showdown with nuclear weapons. India and Pakistan seem intent on starting a nuclear war with each other, and the Op-Center must figure out a way to prevent it without seeming to involve itself in international affairs. As tensions between the two antagonists mount, action is centered on a Himalayan glacier where the vagaries of the region's brutal weather may ultimately determine whether or not warheads fly. John E. Boyd, writing in Kliatt, called the book a "fast-moving, complex story."

After finishing his work on the Clancy series, Rovin wrote his own paramilitary thriller, Tempest Down. The book focuses on the L.A.S.E.R. team—Land Air Sea Emergency Rescue—an elite group of agents and troubleshooters who work to keep the country safe from harm. In this adventure, the team finds itself heading to Antarctica to prevent a Chinese submarine crew from boarding and exploiting the Tempest, an experimental American sub trapped under the ice. However, the Chinese sub gets trapped too, leaving the crews to work together for mutual survival. The L.A.S.E.R. team must stage an elaborate and dangerous underwater mission to save the American submariners while managing to avoid an international incident with the Chinese. "Looks like Rovin has rather a future in the genre," observed Roland Green in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that "the nail-biting suspense and rousing heroism may push Rovin out of Clancy's shadow for good."

Rovin once told CA: "I love all forms of writing, which is why I have selected it as a career! I would add, however, that I try to be commercial first—and artistic only as far as commercial parameters allow. I find the two surprisingly compatible!"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 1994, Mike Tribby, review of Back to the Batcave, p. 2014; December 15, 1994, review of Adventure Heroes: Legendary Characters from Odysseus to James Bond, p. 769; October 1, 1995, review of Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships, p. 337; January 1, 2004, Roland Green, review of Tempest Down, p. 827.

Entertainment Weekly, October 17, 1997, Michael E. Ross, review of The Essential Jackie Chan Sourcebook, p. 68.

Kliatt, November, 2002, John E. Boyd, review of Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Line of Control, p. 50; January, 2005, John E. Boyd, review of Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Call to Treason, p. 51.

People, October 9, 1989, Ralph Novak, review of How to Win at Nintendo, p. 39; July 30, 1990, Ralph Novak, review of The Unauthorized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Quiz Book, p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, October 12, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Red Arrow, p. 47; October 19, 1998, review of Vespers, p. 55; May 1, 2000, review of Fatalis, p. 54; February 23, 2004, review of Tempest Down, p. 52.

RQ, fall, 1990, Niru Bhatia, review of Encyclopedia of Monsters, p. 118; summer, 1995, John Maxymuk, review of Adventure Heroes, p. 511.