Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ryman, Geoff

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(1951-    ) Canadian-born writer who moved to the US at age 11, and has been resident in the UK since 1973. Although he has received a good deal of attention for his sf, his first novel, The Warrior Who Carried Life (1985), was a fantasy employing numerous familiar elements – Dragons, the superstitious village milieu of medieval fantasy, the Quest, a visit to the Land of the Dead – to write a deeply revisionist tale (see Revisionist Fantasy) of pacifism and redemption. "Was..." (1992; US vt Was 1992 US), GR's most accomplished book, is similarly revisionist in intent: the formal conceit of the novel (that the Dorothy of L Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [1900] was based on a child whom Baum met during his brief time in Kansas) is elaborated by additional narrative strands, involving the life of Judy Garland (see The Wizard of Oz) and a young actor who is dying of AIDS; the work becomes a moving meditation upon the anguished nature of human sexuality (Dorothy is sexually abused by her uncle) and the ambiguous solace of fantasy. A dramatic version by Paul Edwards has been produced (Chicago 1996). GR himself has written/dir/performed in several sf plays based on works by other writers. [GF]

other works: The Unconquered Country: A Life History (1984 Interzone; exp 1986), sf partaking of Fabulation; The Child Garden, or A Low Comedy (1988 Interzone as "Love Sickness"; exp 1989), sf which won the Arthur C Clarke Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award; Coming of Enkidu (1989 chap), which treats of the Gilgamesh story; Unconquered Countries: Four Novellas (coll 1994 US).

Geoffrey Charles Ryman


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.