Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Burns, Richard

(1958-1992) UK writer whose six books included two full fantasies, and who killed himself – because, it has been suggested, of the financial stress of freelance work – before fully establishing himself in any mode. A Dance for the Moon (1986) is not fantasy, but exhibits an intensity of language and longing for elsewhere that serves as a prelude to his later work, all of which is notable for a sense that its protagonists are estranged from normal life. Khalindaine (1986) is constructed around the search for the Ugly-Duckling heir to the throne of the eponymous Fantasyland kingdom (> Hidden Monarch); a good deal of suspense is generated by the problem of deciding who is the true heir. In the sequel, Troubadour (1988), the new Emperor is taxed beyond endurance by a puritan Brotherhood which is incensed because he refuses to inflict upon himself a year-king mutilation (> Golden Bough); civil war ensues and the dynasty threatens to topple. Fond and Foolish Lovers (1990), essentially a this-worldly meditation on death, contains passages that evoke the tone of Posthumous Fantasy; the reality of this level of interpretation is, however, insecure. [JC]

Richard Burns

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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.