Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Harris, MacDonald

Working name of US writer and academic Donald William Heiney (1921-1993) for all his fiction, much of which hovers on the cusp of the Fantastic. In Bull Fire (1973) mythopoeic resonances gradually dominate as the narrator of the tale is revealed as a Minotaur figure. Pandora's Galley (1979), ostensibly an historical novel, slowly transforms the Venice of 1797 into a surreal Dream of cityscape, with emanations of Shadow and a "male animal" odour in the wet air.

Herma (1981), MH's first full fantasy (see Hermes), tells the story of Herma, a female Opera singer able to change her Sex by staring into a Mirror and willing her Metamorphosis. As a woman, she plays all three female roles in The Tales of Hoffmann (1880) by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) (see E T A Hoffmann); as a man, she becomes a fighter pilot in World War I. Only Marcel Proust (1871-1922) rumbles the dual nature of this Liminal Being. Screenplay (1982) is a Timeslip fantasy whose protagonist enters a 1920s Hollywood, a black-and-white Polder armed against time and decay. In the Recursive Fantasy Tenth (1984) – the title refers to Beethoven's hypothetical 10th symphony – a contemporary scholar becomes involved in the works of Adrian Leverkühn, the composer who, in Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus (1947), gains genius through a Pact with the Devil. In The Little People (1986) hints of Crosshatch between this world and Faerie are ingeniously presented, but prove delusional. Glowstone (1987), much of which, like Herma, is set in Paris, treats Belle Époque France as a Commedia dell'Arte masquerade. [JC]

Donald William Heiney


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.