Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Huff, Tanya

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(1957-    ) Canadian writer who began publishing fantasy with "What Little Girls are Made Of" for Magic in Ithkar 3 (anth 1986) ed Robert Adams and Andre Norton. Her first novels were the Novels of Crystal sequence: Child of the Grove (1988) and The Last Wizard (1989). The protagonist of the series, set in Fantasyland, is a young girl named Crystal who has been bred to be a Wizard; she undergoes a Rite of Passage into competent adulthood. The most interesting character in the second volume is Lord Death, an Invisible Companion in love with her; emotions become entangled and a Quest to a Dark Tower turns out also to be a search for self-understanding. The Blood sequence – Blood Price (1991), Blood Trail (1992), Blood Lines (1993) and Blood Pact (1993) – is Dark Fantasy set in contemporary Toronto, where its (good) Vampire protagonist and his Companions prevent various evils from afflicting the City. There is a bright, graceful ingenuity about the telling of these tales. The Quarters sequence – Sing the Four Quarters (1994) and Fifth Quarter (1995), with further volumes expected – more interestingly matches premise and narrative practice; set in a medieval fantasyland, it engages its protagonists in emotionally taxing and extremely complex encounters. In the first volume, a pregnant female Bard balances her relationship with the Magic folk – who represent the Four Corners of the World and the Seasons – against her complicated responsibilities to the crown and to a man who is, unknowingly, the father of the unborn child.

TH's singletons are in much the same mode. They include Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light (1989), a Contemporary Fantasy set in Toronto and involving characters – some crosshatched from Faerie – reminiscent of those in Emma Bull's War for the Oaks (1987) or in various novels by Charles de Lint, and with a smooth ominousness similar to de Lint's. The Fire's Stone (1990) somewhat less darkly engages a band of Companions – who become sexually entangled – on a Quest for a Talisman which must be recovered or a city will fall into a volcano. There is clear potential for a major novel in TH's career; it may yet come. [JC]

Tanya Sue Huff


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.