Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Brautigan, Richard

(1933-1984) US writer now so inescapably identified with the proto-New Age culture of 1960s hippie California that he is rarely read seriously. From A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964) onwards RB's novels tended to make use of fantasy elements in a roseate, expressionist fashion not generally tied to any central story, and (perhaps deliberately) contradictive of any sense of self-contained narrative coherence. Some of the effects so engendered are moving, some attain Magic-Realism intensity. Various of RB's novels – none of them dull – sufficiently trespass beyond the surreal or the adventitious to warrant notice in the fantasy context. The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western (1974) mixes the genres designated in its subtitle, and incorporates Monster and Metamorphosis devices, though the conclusion – in which Transformations and other sorts of Bondage are escaped through the discovery that the inimical principle is a kind of "light", which can be smothered – is perhaps oversanguine. In Watermelon Sugar (1968) is as much sf as fantasy. [JC]

Richard Gary Brautigan


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.