Rob Holdstock Dies

Rob Holdstock, 61, died November 29 after two weeks in hospital with a massive e coli infection, Malcolm Edwards reported on the Trufen list.

Holdstock was a widely-admired writer of mythopoeic fantasy. He was a 4-time winner of the British Science Fiction Award. January Magazine summarized the other highlights of his literary career as follows:

Holdstock was first published when he was just 20. The short story, “Pauper’s Plot,” was published by New Worlds magazine. His first novel, Eye Among the Blind, was published in 1976. Though he created a large and critically acclaimed body of work throughout his career, he is best known for the Mythago Wood cycle of novels. The first book in the series, Mythago Wood, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1985. The most recent book in the Mythago Wood Cycle, Avilion, was published in July of this year.

Holdstock will also be remembered as a popular contributor to the best British fanzines of the 1970s.  

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

People Are Too Smart to Fall for That

Cancel the Information Age! A UKTV survey of 3,000 people reveals that 23 percent think World War II prime minister Churchill was made up. And despite the many hours devoted to him on the History Channel, 47 percent believe Richard the Lionheart was a myth.

In Stewart Robb’s satirical “Letter from a Higher Critic” (Analog, November 1966), intellectuals scoff at the notion World War II actually occurred. Arguing that the leaders are merely archetypes whose names, like de Gaulle (“of Gaul”, which is France) and Churchill (“The Church on the Hill”, symbol of old England) are obvious inventions, a scholar makes it all sound as improbable as Homer’s Trojan War. (The very kind of assumption Robb was targeting.)

As a teenaged reader, I considered it perfectly likely that the future would misunderstand the 20th Century to that degree. But I never expected to be living in that future.