Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Carter, Lin

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Working name of US writer Linwood Vrooman Carter (1930-1988), moderately well known for his action-oriented sf novels but of much greater importance as an editor of fantasy Anthologies, as a pioneering critic of the fantasy genre, and as a fantasy novelist. Most of his fiction deliberately pastiched the work of earlier fantasy writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E Howard, but did so both openly and with the clear intent of popularizing modes (Sword and Sorcery and Planetary Romance were his personal favourites) less well understood in the 1960s than they are now. Much of the success of Genre Fantasy in general – as well as the current renown of writers like Lord Dunsany and Clark Ashton Smith – is due to LC's advocacy.

LC began publishing work of genre interest with "Masters of the Metropolis", with Randall Garrett, for F&SF in 1957. His first fantasy novel, The Wizard of Lemuria (1965; vt Thongor and the Wizard of Lemuria 1969), began the Thongor sequence of Conan pastiches, set in a Barsoom-like land; the sequence continued with Thongor Against the Gods (1967), Thongor in the City of Magicians (1968), Thongor at the End of Time (1968) and Thongor Fights the Pirates of Tarakus (1970). The tales are set 500,000 years ago in Lemuria.

More specifically indebted to Burroughs are three series: the Green Star Rises sequence, being Under the Green Star (1972), When the Green Star Calls (1973), By the Light of the Green Star (1974), As the Green Star Rises (1975), In the Green Star's Glow (1976) and As the Green Star Rises (1983); the Callisto sequence, being Jandar of Callisto (1972), Black Legion of Callisto (1972), Sky Pirates of Callisto (1973), Mad Empress of Callisto (1975), Mind Wizards of Callisto (1975), Lankar of Callisto (1975), Ylana of Callisto (1977) and Renegade of Callisto (1978); and the Zanthodon sequence, being Journey to the Underground World (1979), Zanthodon (1980), Hurok of the Stone Age (1981), Darya of the Stone Age (1981) and Eric of Zanthodon (1982). In the first two sequences the Hero is more or less magically transported – as in Burroughs – to a planetary-romance venue, identified as a far-off planet; in each case, as in the Thongor books, the hero battles his way to power in an S&S environment. The third – clearly intended as Humour – is intensely Recursive, and into its Underground setting LC introduces large numbers of characters from various milieux and authors. None of these series could be described as transcending its roots in pulp and other authors' inspirations; but LC's love of his chosen material is evident throughout, and his work helped establish default patterns against which the work of more original explorers of the conventions of S&S, like Michael Moorcock, shone brightly.

Some of LC's later work, though remaining hasty, showed increasing ambition; and his last series of note – the Terra Magica sequence, being Kesrick (1982), Dragonrouge (1984), Mandricardo (1986) and Callipygia (1988) – is of considerable interest. Terra Magica itself is a Land of vast proportions, an omnium gatherum territory which contains all the fantasies and legends told on Earth and theoretically in all the Imaginary Lands as well, giving LC an attractive venue for his games of recursion. His singletons, and the various completions of Conan material in collaboration with L Sprague de Camp (see Robert E Howard for details), were less significant.

LC should perhaps be most lauded for his work as the innovative editor who conceived and oversaw the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, beginning with Dragons, Elves, and Heroes (anth 1969) and continuing with several other anthologies, including the important Discoveries in Fantasy (anth 1972); along with these he edited several selections from important fantasy writers who had slipped out of print in the USA, including At the Edge of the World (coll 1970) by Lord Dunsany, Zothique (coll 1970) by Clark Ashton Smith and The Doom that Came to Sarnath (coll 1971) by H P Lovecraft. His advocacy of these writers was intense and persuasive; and their publication in this widely marketed series was one of the more telling signs that fantasy as a commercial genre was beginning to come to the consciousness of publishers, retailers and readers alike.

LC's critical work was similarly couched in terms of advocacy. It cannot be claimed that Imaginary Worlds: The Art of Fantasy (1973) is very substantial as an argument, but his choice of William Morris as the author of the first High Fantasy has weathered scholarly investigation. Few of LC's novels – most are now obscure – may survive; but for his work as a pioneer, a popularizer and an enthusiast his memory remains secure. [JC]

other works (fantasy): The Flame of Iridar (1967 chap dos); Tower at the Edge of Time (1968); Beyond the Gates of Dream (coll 1969); Lost World of Time (1969); the Chronicles of Kylix, being The Quest of Kadji (1971) and The Wizard of Zao (1978); the Gondwana Epic, being Giant of World's End (1969), The Warrior of World's End (1974), The Enchantress of World's End (1975), The Immortal of World's End (1976), The Barbarian of World's End (1977) and The Pirate of World's End (1978); Dreams from R'lyeh (coll 1975 chap), poetry; Tara of the Twilight (1979); Lost Worlds (coll 1980); Kellory the Warlock (1984); Found Wanting (1985).

other works (sf): The Great Imperium sequence, being The Star Magicians (1966 dos), The Man without a Planet (1966 dos), Tower of the Medusa (1969), Star Rogue (1970) and Outworlder (1971); Destination Saturn (1967) with David Grinnell (Donald A Wollheim); the Thoth sequence, being The Thief of Thoth (1968 chap) and The Purloined Planet (1969 chap dos); Outworlder (1971); The Black Star (1973); the Mars series, being The Man Who Loved Mars (1973), The Valley where Time Stood Still (1974), The City Outside the World (1977) and Down to a Sunless Sea (1984); Time War (1974); the Zarkon sequence of Doc Savage pastiches, being Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown, in The Nemesis of Evil (1975; vt The Nemesis of Evil 1978), Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown, in Invisible Death (1975; vt Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown and His Omega Crew: Invisible Death 1978), Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown, in The Volcano Ogre (1976; vt Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown and His Omega Crew: The Volcano Ogre 1978), Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown, in The Earth-Shaker (1982) and Horror Wears Blue (1987).

as editor: The Young Magicians (anth 1969); The Magic of Atlantis (anth 1970); Golden Cities, Far (anth 1970); The Spawn of Cthulhu (anth 1971); New Worlds for Old (anth 1971); Great Short Novels of Adult Fantasy (anth 1972) and Great Short Novels of Adult Fantasy II (anth 1973); the Flashing Swords series, being Flashing Swords 1 (anth 1973), #2 (anth 1973), #3: Warriors and Wizards (anth 1976), #4: Barbarians and Black Magicians (anth 1977) and #5: Demons and Daggers (anth 1981); the Year's Best Fantasy series, being The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 1 (anth 1975), #2 (anth 1976), #3 (anth 1977), #4 (anth 1978), #5 (anth 1980) and #6 (anth 1980); Kingdoms of Sorcery (anth 1976); Realms of Wizardry (anth 1976); the Weird Tales series, being Weird Tales 1 (anth 1980), #2 (anth 1980), #3 (anth 1981) and #4 (anth 1983) (see also Weird Tales).

Nonfiction: Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings" (1969); Lovecraft: A Look Behind the "Cthulhu Mythos" (1972); Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age: A Wargamer's Guide to the Age of Conan (1975 chap) with Scott Bizar; Middle-Earth: The World of Tolkien (graph 1977) illus David Wenzel (1950-    ), pictures with captions.

further reading: Lin Carter: A Look Behind his Imaginary Worlds (1991) by Robert M Price.

Linwood Vrooman Carter


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.