Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
MacLeish, Roderick

(1926-2006) US broadcaster and writer, author of several books, though only one – Prince Ombra (1982) – is of fantasy interest. Recounted within a Frame Story, it depicts the life of an Eternal Champion who has been reborn (for the 1001st time) in 1978 to fight the eponymous Dark Lord, whose previous incarnation was as Adolf Hitler (> World War II) and on whose defeat the history of the world turns. Although the novel hovers, at points uneasily, between fantasy and Supernatural Fiction – the Dark Lord's nature is explained in details that evoke occult philosophies – it remains a fluent and vivid demonstration of the essential movement of the typical fantasy narrative from Wrongness (Ombra's corrupting infusion of his foul, nightmare-creating self into the New England setting is eloquently described) to Healing, as the victorious Hero transforms his home town, and the world, back to a prelapsarian Garden state. [JC]

Roderick MacLeish


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.