Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Smoodin, Roberta

(1952-    ) US academic and novelist. Her first novel, Ursa Major (1980), sees a dancing, talking bear escape from its exhibitors and embark on an odyssey across the landscape of the 1970s USA; the book exhibits RS's talents as a fabulist. Presto! (1982) involves a struggling young Magician who possesses the genuine Talent to make things vanish; his problems include intrigues with the Magicians' Union and a girlfriend who yearns to "disappear" via anorexia. RS's attraction to extremely figurative language and formal playfulness, as well as her use of the image of the conjurer as metaphor for the artist, recalls Vladimir Nabokov, whose presence hovers also over Imagining Ivanov (1985), a nonfantasy about a young academic whose attempts to write the biography of a Nabokov-like émigré writer are undermined by the writer's mystifications. [GF]

other works: White Horse Cafe (1988), contemporary novel.

Roberta Smoodin

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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.