Michael Scott Rohan


Liity LibraryThingin jäseneksi, niin voit kirjoittaa viestin.

Michael Scott Rohan

kesäkuu 16, 2010, 11:29 am

What happened to this guy? All I gather from Wikipedia is that he stopped publishing in 2001, but he's not dead - so what happened?

I can't figure out why his first Winter of the World trilogy went out of print; it's fantastic, a lost and overlooked gem. I've only just now discovered, courtesy of LibraryThing (thanks!) there's a second trilogy, but it's no where to be had - unless I want to buy used copies from Amazon for $100 USD (!!!).

I googled him and found his official web site (not easy), but it looks like it quit updating late 1998ish. I figure he must really be deceased, can't imagine what else might have silenced him like that. Chance of anyone here having heard of him is slim, let alone know anything about what he's doing now, but thought I'd ask. Maybe someone in the UK knows more, I'm in Canada.

First Trilogy
The Anvil of Ice
The Forge in the Forest
Hammer of the Sun

Second Trilogy (apparently...)
The Castle of the Winds
The Singer and the Sea
Shadow of the Seer

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 16, 2010, 11:36 am

# 1 Cecrow - I can't say for sure.

But I do know massive changes swept the industry at that time - many corporate mergers melted many publishers into a few. Whole lines died. Authors were discarded, wholesale.

I can name you a dozen established writers offhand who got buried in that debacle.

I did not hear this one died. Some writers re-started under a pseudonym, and some, shifted genre. The fact the website lapsed is not a good sign.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 16, 2010, 12:28 pm

I'd forgotten all about these! I loved the Winter of the World trilogy, but I never knew there was a second trilogy. I've no idea what happened to Rohan, though.

The standalone Lord of Middle Air was really good, as well. It really drew on his knowledge of the Scots borders country.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 16, 2010, 11:55 am

I was introduced to the works of Rohan by a then-colleague who knew him, but I am not in touch with that colleague now. It is good to be reminded of him - and to find that there is a fourth "Spiral" book: Maxie's demon which is available cheaply from abebooks.co.uk :)

heinäkuu 6, 2010, 1:53 am

It might not even be a matter of being lost in a publishing merger. Perhaps, like Robert McCammon or Barry Hughart, he simply quit.

heinäkuu 6, 2010, 3:02 am

I've starred this thread in hopes someone will come along with some info. I do wish there was an easier way to find out what happened to those authors who drop off the map. Not everything about them mind you (not in a stalking, I know your favorite breakfast cereal and how you take your coffee way), just a small answer to the question of what happened to them. Like that they joined a cult which disdains the written word as impure, or finished their homemade rocket ship and left earth for the stars. Perhaps that they became a giant squid wrestler. Or you know, more mundane things.
I used to have a list of authors I'd periodically run searches on to see if they ever reappeared, whether with a new book or anything else. It was very rarely fruitful, but I always hope something will turn up. Preferably news that they are happily off living their lives and not an obituary.

heinäkuu 7, 2010, 2:33 pm

I've tried some new tactics, after picking up his A Spell of Empire at a local used bookstore, by seeing what I could find about its coauthor Allan Scott. Unfortunately that author has seemingly vanished from the planet as well.

In the process though, clicking through Allan's works as listed here, I found another book MSR had a hand in with him called Fantastic People that I would otherwise never have discovered, since it isn't listed under MSR.

I'm observing that in both cases, only one or the other author's name is attached. Does LibraryThing not allow two authors' names to be attached to a work?

heinäkuu 7, 2010, 3:19 pm

There's only one main author. Other authors can be added to the Other Author field but the work is only linked to the main author. There's a major change in the author system being contemplated but I wouldn't hold my breath for when it actually gets done.

heinäkuu 8, 2010, 4:55 pm

I sent Mr. Rohan an email. We'll see if he gets back to me.
- Aaron

heinäkuu 12, 2010, 6:38 pm

#8 - jjwilson61 - be nice if that change happened because many times there is no 'main author' - a collaboration was simply listed alphabetically, in a 50/50 partnership.

#9 - aaronpotter - I will be interested to hear if you get a response.

heinäkuu 19, 2010, 8:47 am

I have heard of him. I see his books almost every weekend when I pop into the Bookbarn, a local second hand book store. They have lots of copies of books. I can take a closer look when I go up on Sunday. I'm a masochist and I volunteer to sort out the SFF section. It's literally 5 minutes away. Hoping that after Maternity Leave they will pay me for my time.

There are many series I followed around then, authors getting swept over. Again a few that just disappear from the writing scene.

heinäkuu 23, 2010, 7:06 am

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/r/michael-scott-rohan/ is a complete bibliography, I find this site to be quite reliable

I've seen his books around and saw Anvil of Ice in so many shops I eventually bought it.

Says he was born in 1951 so would have been 50 at the time of the last published book. Maybe he retired? (Though I know of older writers).

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 23, 2010, 7:54 am

You'd think if he retired or something, he'd at least have found a tidy way of wrapping up his personal web site or announcing his retirement there. Then again, it seems to have stagnated even before he published his last novel.

Edit: just noticed, the credit for his web page is Allan Scott, a fellow mysteriously vanished author who coauthored some books with Rohan.

elokuu 9, 2010, 9:04 pm

I read these many years ago:

"Second Trilogy (apparently...)
The Castle of the Winds
The Singer and the Sea
Shadow of the Seer"

they weren't a trilogy like the "winter of the world" series, but rather novels set in the same world that have in part some of the same characters. They could be read independently of each other and the original trilogy. I remember thinking at the time that while ok they were't as compelling as the "winter of the world" trilogy.

elokuu 9, 2010, 9:07 pm

Oh, and I should have mentioned "a spell of empire" by the same author was a book I really enjoyed when I read it and was dissapointed that there was never a sequel.

elokuu 10, 2010, 7:44 am

>14 katmax:, good to know, that means if I can find any one of them then I can read and enjoy it without needing to find the others.

>15 katmax:, may bump it up on my reading list in that case. Thx!

syyskuu 21, 2010, 3:03 pm

>9 aaronpotter:, no response huh?

I was able to find evidence that he attended a Tolkien event in 2005; that's the most recent information I have so far.

lokakuu 29, 2010, 1:10 pm

Evidence? You mean the trail of drained mead flagons, hysterical balrogs, throttled hobbits etc -- damn, thought I cleaned all that up. Anyhow, how could you tell it apart from Tom Shippey's?

Yes, I was there; and for the moment at least I'm still here, and deeply flattered by everyone's concern. A friend of mine put me on to this thread, because he said I hadn't answered a post. If so, I'm sorry, because I always try to answer personally if I can. I suspect this was about the time when my long-term ISP got taken over by an asset-stripper who raised rates and shifted ops to Mumbai, whereupon the service disintegrated and vast amounts of post vanished. My site remains on that ISP simply because I haven't been able to contact anyone to remove it! Anyhow, if anybody's still interested, here's the new e-mail:


As to what's happened to me -- well, I'm semi-retired, still writing, but not fiction. The reasons I stopped were many, but prime among them was that my health went to blazes, and has continued to get worse. It's relative -- I was still climbing hills in Antarctica in 2007 -- but it's depressing. My writing was getting heavier and darker, which it definitely didn't need. After 14 novels you get a bit burned out, anyhow. Also my favourite editor and my agent both died suddenly (no older than me), others retired and were replaced by suits of the worst kind. I really disliked the kind of stuff they were publishing, recycled pap, and didn't enjoy being asked to write stuff like it all the time. After Anvil, one US publisher wanted to build me up into the next David Eddings -- provided I kept on writing about the same characters, same background etc. I've a friend who writes big soap operas, and I know I'd never have her unique plot-recycling ability, so I politely declined. I'd been writing about my interest in music for years, and that for me was a lot less work than novels; when I was having a bad day I could just put it down, whereas with fiction you need to keep up the momentum. So I mostly dumped the fiction and kept on with the music, for magazines like Gramophone and, presently, the BBC Music Magazine. Beyond that, thanks in part to all you wonderful readers, my wife and I live comfortably enough (despite zillions of injections) with homes in East Anglia and my native Edinburgh, and occasional jaunts to the US to see her family. If anyone lives in Colorado, vote for your Democratic candidate for governor, folks!

But there may be more fiction. I've written a detective story, set in WWII, and another fantasy novel, barely connected with the Winter of the World; they both need polishing before a publisher can see them. E-publishing is a possibility. There are also some WOTW short stories, mostly dark. And I'm discussing some SF stories with a friend of mine, a professor of astrobiology (!) in the US. But all that depends on staying alive long enough, and that --well, we'll have to see.

Sorry to be a bit longwinded. But I figure people who remember me *and* Barry Hughart deserve my fullest attention. And best wishes,



PS Allan Scott is also very much with us -- lives about half an hour away. He too isn't writing right now -- he runs a net networking business. But everyone keeps asking us about another Spell of Empire....

lokakuu 29, 2010, 1:44 pm

:) - Thanks for the delightful update, Scott!

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 29, 2010, 2:11 pm

Great to hear from you, Mike.

That World War II detective story sounds intriguing. Good luck, anyway, whatever you choose to do!

marraskuu 2, 2010, 11:41 am

It's pleasing to hear that you are semi-retired and nothing more sinister happened - dropped by a publisher or something, which I feel would be entirely unjustified given the quality of your novels. There's nothing else I've encountered quite like WotW, and at this point I've encountered quite a bit. I still make it a point of checking with book dealers across Ontario, Canada for more of your work alongside whatever else I'm searching for.

As a would-be author slash unpublished writer, it's difficult to place myself in the shoes of someone retiring after succeeding in the business. But then I also have trouble (as yet) envisioning the seedy side of the business that you describe, not to mention experience the health issues. I hope you are coping as well as you imply.

I also hope it was heartening to know you still have many fans, including those like myself who feel your work entirely deserving of an even much higher profile than it has yet received. I consider WotW a prime example of disparity between mass popularity and objectively good product. Your catalog deserves a massive-scale reprint. Maybe someone could be coerced into releasing an omnibus edition.

It's fantastic that you took the time to contact us here!

joulukuu 19, 2011, 3:44 pm

I loved the Anvil of ice series, mainly because it was like nothing else on the go. In fact, the only other author I have found to come even close to Rohans amazing writting is KJ Parker.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 19, 2011, 10:38 pm

I too was glad to read this thread: to find out about several more titles I can hunt down & enjoy, and to hear that there may be others down the line. Mike Scott Rohan: if the publishers balk, besides sending an hysterical balrog or two their way, notify us & we'll send them emails demonstrating demand!

joulukuu 19, 2011, 10:39 pm

>22 Tim_Mcgrath: Not to imply that any of us are anything like balrogs...

joulukuu 30, 2011, 2:22 am

Yay! Good to know all three authors are still around. I wish they'd write something for us, though :)

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 30, 2021, 10:24 pm

Oh, this is sad. I just googled him again and discovered he's gone.

"Rohan's author profile from Orion Books states that he was diagnosed as incurably ill in 2000, and after that, stopped writing fiction. He died in Edinburgh on 12 August 2018, aged 67." - Wikipedia.

So glad that we prompted him to check in with us here in 2010.

toukokuu 30, 2021, 10:36 pm

>26 Cecrow: I'm so sorry to hear that. I really liked what I read of his work.