Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Hancock, Neil

(1941-    ) US writer, almost all of whose work has been in his three Atlantean Earth sequences; any connection to Atlantis is remote, though the overall tale does not yet seem fully to have been told. The first sequence – the Circle of Light series, comprising Greyfax Grimwald (1977), Faragon Fairingay (1977), Calix Stay (1977) and Squaring the Circle (1977) – is the one most visibly influenced by J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), though the next two series, being all backstory, likewise follow the Tolkien pattern. In Circle of Light three Companions – a Bear, an Otter (> Animal Fantasy) and a Dwarf – return to a Middle-Earth-like Earth to guard the Arkenchest whose retention is vital if the good Goddess in NH's extremely complex cosmology is to prevail in the Upper Worlds (and elsewhere) over the bad goddess. The Wilderness of Four series – Across the Far Mountain (1982), The Plains of the Sea (1982), On the Boundaries of Darkness (1982) and The Road to the Middle Islands (1982) – describes the early years of the Atlantean Earth and details the lives of the creatures who prefigure the heroes in the Circle of Light books. The Windameir Circle series – The Fires of Windameir (1985), The Sea of Silence (1987), A Wanderer's Return (1988) and The Bridge of Dawn (1991) – continues diffusely to present backstory.

A singleton, Dragon Winter (1978), repeats the basic story: animal companions are threatened by an evil principle opposed to the health of the Land. [JC]

Neil Anderson Hancock

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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.