Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Drake, David A

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(1945-    ) US writer and attorney who has become known primarily for his military sf but who has also written a wide range of fantastic fiction, seeming equally at home in the genres of Sword and Sorcery, Science Fiction, Supernatural Fiction and historical fantasy (see History in Fantasy). His first professional publication, "Denkirch" (in Travellers by Night anth 1967 ed August Derleth), was an H P Lovecraft pastiche about the cosmic origins of humankind. He has produced several new stories in the Cthulhu Mythos, and has compiled a volume of Robert E Howard's Cthulhu stories, Cthulhu: The Mythos and Kindred Horrors (coll 1987). DAD was for a while assistant editor of Whispers, to which he contributed several stories including the first of his Old Nathan series, about a grumpy ghost-hunter in the 19th-century US backwoods (see Occult Detectives). These stories, collected with new material as Old Nathan (coll of linked stories 1991), were an affectionate tribute to the work of Manly Wade Wellman.

Some of DAD's fiction draws from his experiences in military service, giving a hard edge to his treatment of classic fantasy themes, plus a strong sense of alienation, suggestive of a darker power that we may occasionally unleash at our peril but which normally we perceive only tangentially. This mood pervades From the Heart of Darkness (coll 1983); both its title story and "Out of Africa" deliberately evoke Joseph Conrad's classic tale of the overwhelming otherness of the dark continent.

DAD has a fascination for ancient Rome and the collapse of civilization. He captured an authentic feel in his realistic Arthur novel, The Dragon Lord (1979), and his collection Vettius and His Friends (coll 1989). He blends several genres in Birds of Prey (1984), a thriller about a Time traveller ensnared in intrigue in ancient Rome, and Ranks of Bronze (1986), where aliens land there. The Eternal City (anth 1990) with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh is a volume of sf stories exploring the Roman Empire throughout time.

DAD's only traditional Heroic Fantasy, The Sea Hag (1988), was the first in the World of Crystal Walls sequence; further volumes are awaited. [MA]

David Allen Drake


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.