Sunday, November 29, 2009
I was meaning to post about something else tonight, but the news has overtaken me: David Langford's Ansible reports that Robert Holdstock has died, at the age of 61, following his collapse with an E. coli infection on 18th November. I only knew him in the most tangential way, but this is a hell of a shock. His Mythago Wood sequence of books is absolutely central for anyone trying to get a hold on what fantasy literature in Britain has done since Tolkien. It evokes a version of the country's past that's rich but harsh and unsentimental, and makes all those old tropes like the Green Man or the Wild Hunt new and threatening again. And there are plenty of other works, like The Fetch, or the Merlin Codex sequence, which dig deep into other myths that get taken for granted. In person, I remember him being ebullient, thoughtful, and welcoming to newcomers; others who knew him better say the same; all sympathy to them.