Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Grant, John

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Pseudonym of Scottish editor and writer Paul (le Page) Barnett (1949-2020); he has published nonfantasy under his own name and other pseudonyms, notably Eve Devereux. He entered the field with "When All Else Fails" in Lands of Never (anth 1983 ed Maxim Jakubowski) but was not a prolific short-story writer, instead concentrating on books, of which he has written over 40. His first two fantasy novels were #1 and #2 in the Legends of Lone Wolf Sword-and-Sorcery series, loosely based on gamebooks (see Games) by Joe Dever and published as co-authorships: #1: Eclipse of the Kai * (1989) and #2: The Dark Door Opens * (1989), assembled as Legends of Lone Wolf Omnibus (omni 1992). These introduced the characters Alyss and Qinefer, both of whom became fundamental to JG's corpus. The series continued with #3: The Sword of the Sun * (1989; vt in 2 vols The Tides of Treachery 1991 US and The Sword of the Sun 1991 US), #4: Hunting Wolf * (1990), #5: The Claws of Helgedad * (1991), which introduced his humorous character Thog the Mighty, #6: The Sacrifice of Ruanon * (1991), #7: The Birthplace * (1992), which is central to an understanding of JG's preoccupations, #8: The Book of the Magnakai * (1992), #9: The Tellings * (coll 1993), #10: The Lorestone of Varetta * (1993), #11: The Secret of Kazan-Oud * (1994) and #12: The Rotting Land * (1994). History Book – A Thog the Mighty Text (1994 chap), a limited-edition addendum, contains revised material from The Rotting Land.

Elsewhere JG was publishing the two novels on which his reputation as a fantasy writer rests: Albion (1991) and The World (1992). The first is of only moderate interest; set in a Land whose common people have only short-term memory except for rote activities, it depicts the tyranny imposed by those equipped with full memories, its eventual defeat, and the breaching of the walls of the Polder. The World, closely related, is significantly more ambitious. On the surface, it describes the collision of our Universe with the created Secondary World in which Albion was set; in fact it is an exploration of the relationship between physical and created Realities, both of which JG depicts as parts of the "polycosmos", a Multiverse whose almost infinite coexistent universes can be travelled between by Alyss (who is both integral and extraneous to the polycosmos), consciously by rare mortals like Qinefer (who through her encounter with transcendence in The Birthplace discovers the tao that leads to the overarching reality of the polycosmos), and by all mortals during Dreams and after death, viewed as the transition from one physical or created universe to Reincarnation in the next. Moments of Recognition abound. This Instauration Fantasy ends with the two universes fused, so that reality is arbitrary, memory treacherous and indeterminacy paramount.

JG's fiction since has been sparse. The Hundredfold Problem * (1994), featuring the Comics character Judge Dredd, is a joky Science Fantasy set in a Dyson sphere. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde * (1995) is a children's retelling of the Robert Louis Stevenson tale.

In nonfiction JG was noted as author of Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters (1987; rev 1993) (see Disney), and as Technical Editor of the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993) ed John Clute and Peter Nicholls (see SFE), for which work he shared the 1994 BSFA Special Award. He was joint editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy.

He should not be confused with the John Grant who writes mysteries as Jonathan Gash. [JG]

other works (fiction): Aries 1 (anth 1979), sf; The Truth About the Flaming Ghoulies (1983), humorous epistolary fringe-sf novel; Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis (1984), pseudoscience spoof; Earthdoom! (1987) with David Langford, spoof disaster novel.

other works (nonfiction): The Book of Time (1980) ed with Colin Wilson; A Directory of Discarded Ideas (1981); The Directory of Possibilities (1981) ed with Wilson; Dreamers: A Geography of Dreamland (1983); Great Mysteries (1988); An Introduction to Viking Mythology (1989); Monsters (1992; vt Monster Mysteries US); The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Science Fiction Art Techniques (1996) with Ron Tiner; many others.

see also: Afterlife; Alternate Realities.

Paul le Page Barnett


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.