Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ingalls, Rachel

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(1940-2019) US author, resident in the UK since 1965, whose work often deploys supernatural elements to highlight the difficulties of Sex. RI's early fiction – Theft (1970 UK; vt with 1 story added Theft and the Man Who Was Left Behind as coll 1970 US) and the collection Mediterranean Cruise (coll 1973; vt with 1 story cut and 1 added The Man Who Was Left Behind and Other Stories 1974 UK) – tensely flirted with religious Allegory and Gothic Horror; the contents of these volumes were subsequently gathered into Something to Write Home About (omni 1988). Following a decade of silence, RI began to produce works which boldly wed an absorption in the subtle nuances of quotidian experience with a strain of eerie, exalted fantasy. Mrs Caliban (1982 UK) and Binstead's Safari (1983 UK) both evoke the conflictual romantic coupling of a bored, alienated housewife with a supernatural entity – a froglike humanoid in the former book, a Shapeshifter tribal shaman in the latter. In both cases, this permits a quasi-feminist interrogation of contemporary sexual politics and Gender roles. This also informs RI's recent volumes of novellas – Three of a Kind (coll 1985 UK; vt I See A Long Journey 1985 US), The Pearlkillers (coll 1986 UK), The End of Tragedy (coll 1987 UK) and Black Diamond (coll 1992 UK; vt with 3 stories cut Be My Guest 1992 US), which generally present drably exploitative sexual relationships within a neo-Gothic framework of violence and supernatural irruption. Four Stories (coll 1987 UK) is a compilation from previous volumes. [RL]

Rachel Holmes Ingalls


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.