Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Cooper, Louise

(1952-2009) UK writer whose first novel was the Tarot-based The Book of Paradox (1973). A later novel, Lord of No Time (1977), was drastically reworked to form Time Master, the first of three linked trilogies, and the first of the two series on which her reputation is principally based.

The original Time Master trilogy – The Initiate (1985), The Outcast (1986) and The Master (1987) – involves a Revisionist-Fantasy development of the ideas about the perpetual conflict of Chaos and Order contained in the work of Michael Moorcock. Tarod, a young acolyte of Order, is an Avatar of one of the lords of Chaos and escapes execution by manipulating time (see Time Fantasy); he and his handful of supporters become a persecuted Pariah Elite. LC's personified lords of Chaos and Order need the allegiance of human servants to dominate; the long-standing rule of Order has become sterile and tyrannical and the eventual shift of the balance towards domination by Chaos is seen as liberatory, for the moment. The Chaos Gate trilogy – The Deceiver (1991), The Pretender (1991) and The Avenger (1992) – is set a few years later and focuses on interventions in human affairs by Demons, who owe allegiance to neither Chaos nor Order and whom neither Chaos nor Order can counter directly. The Star Shadow trilogy – Star Ascendant (1994 UK), Eclipse (1994) and Moonset (1995) – prequels the other books; it is set in the distant past at a point when a previous ascendancy of Chaos is decaying and a transition to the ascendancy of Order seems imminent.

Most of these books centre on an Edifice, the vast complex of temple buildings on the Star Peninsula, or on its secular complement, the High Margrave's castle. LC derives much emotional power from a fairly standard Gothic fascination with the saturnine Tarod and the strong women who are attracted to him.

A strong female character dominates the other series, IndigoNemesis (1988; rev 1989 USA), Inferno (1988; rev 1989 USA), Infanta (1989; rev 1990 USA), Nocturne (1990; rev 1990 USA), Troika (1991), Avatar (1991), Revenant (1992) and Aisling (1993). The heroine, Pandora-like, releases demons from a box, and these kill her entire people; she is obliged, and magically enabled, to wander a variety of locales with an animal Companion – a Wolf whose intelligence is specifically nonsupernatural in origin – destroying one demon after another. There is a solid gloomy worth to the series, which endlessly and inventively revises critically its own premises.

LC has evolved into a reliable writer of Template fare, who often surprises by her merits without ever transcending the limits she has set for herself. [RK]

other works: Blood Summer (1976), a Vampire novel, and its sequel In Memory of Sarah Bailey (1977); Crown of Horn (1981); The Blacksmith (1981); Mirage (1987); The Thorn Key (1988 USA), YA fantasy; The Sleep of Stone (1991), Firespell (1996), YA supernatural; The Hounds of Winter (1996), YA supernatural; Daughter of Storms (1996), YA fantasy set in the Time Master world; Blood Dance (1996), YA supernatural; The Shrouded Mirror (1996), YA supernatural.

Louise Cooper


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.