Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Karr, Phyllis Ann

(1944-    ) US writer, noted also for Arthurian scholarship, in which field she has compiled The King Arthur Companion (1983) and written the Arthurian murder-mystery The Idylls of the Queen (1982).

PAK's first professional sales were historical mysteries, to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1974. In fantasy, she created the character Torin the Toymaker, a magician turned toymaker, starting with "Toyman's Trade" (1974 Literary Magazine of Fantasy & Terror). None of the Torin stories has been collected in book form, but At Amberleaf Fair (1986) sets him on a wider canvas. The Torin world is far removed from the heroics of High Fantasy, being generally bucolic and Pastoral.

PAK's series about Frostflower and Thorn are straightforwardly Heroic Fantasy, with a strong feminist slant (> Feminism). Frostflower is a sorceress who in the first book, Frostflower and Thorn (1980), helps the female warrior Thorn through a rapid and unconventional pregnancy that leads to their banishment. Each lives by her own code, which causes friction between them and the people they encounter in their travels. Frostflower and Windbourne (1982) explores their relationship further. Other stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies.

Although PAK is most closely associated with fantasy, she has also written several romantic novels, including a completion of Jane Austen's Lady Susan (1980). [MA]

other works: Wildraith's Last Battle (1982).

Phyllis Ann Karr


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.