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Stephen R. Donaldson

Author of Lord Foul's Bane

94+ Works 50,423 Members 520 Reviews 133 Favorited

About the Author

Stephen Donaldson, 1947 - Novelist Stephen Donaldson was born on May 13, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio to James R. Donaldson, a medical missionary, and Mary Ruth Reeder, a prosthetist. His father was an orthopedic surgeon that worked with lepers in India. He lived in India between the ages of three to show more sixteen and while listening to one of his father's lectures on leprosy, he conceived the legendary Thomas Covenant. Donaldson attended the College of Wooster, Ohio and graduated in 1968. Afterwards, he spent two years being a conscientious objector doing hospital work in Akron and then attended Kent University where he received an M.A. in English. Donaldson's publishing debut was with "Lord Foul's Bane" (1977), which was the first book in the fantasy trilogy entitled The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever. It was named best novel of the year by the British Fantasy Society and received the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, in 1979. He followed with the sequel series The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, also set in The Land, starting with "Daughter of Regals," and then the Mordant's Need series with "The Mirror of Her Dreams" and "A Man Rides Through." Donaldson is also the author of the Gap Into series of science fiction adventure that began with "The Real Story" and followed with "Forbidden Knowledge," "A Dark and Hungry God Arises," and "Chaos and Order." In addition to the awards he received for his first novel/series, Donaldson has also received the Balrog Fantasy Award for Best Novel for "The Wounded Land" in 1981 and for "The One Tree" in 1983, the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Novel for "The One Tree" in 1983, the Balrog Fantasy Award for Best Collection for "Daughter of Regals and Other Tales" in 1985, and the Science Fiction Book Club Award for Best Book of the Year for "The Mirror of Her Dreams" in 1988 and "A Man Rides Through" in 1989. He also received The College of Wooster Distinguished Alumni Award in 1989, the WIN/WIN Popular Fiction Readers Choice Award for Favorite Fantasy Author in 1991, the Atlanta Fantasy Fair Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1992 and the President's Award, The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts in 1997. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Credit Petra Hegger

Series

Works by Stephen R. Donaldson

Lord Foul's Bane (1977) 6,178 copies
The Illearth War (1977) 4,597 copies
The Power That Preserves (1977) 4,399 copies
The Wounded Land (1980) 3,640 copies
The One Tree (1982) 3,516 copies
White Gold Wielder (1983) 3,477 copies
The Mirror of Her Dreams (1986) 2,989 copies
A Man Rides Through (1987) 2,548 copies
The Runes of the Earth (2004) 2,180 copies
Fatal Revenant (2007) 1,291 copies
Against All Things Ending (2010) 874 copies
Gilden-fire (short story) (1981) 570 copies
The Last Dark (2013) 498 copies
Seventh Decimate (2017) 242 copies
The Man Who Fought Alone (2001) 202 copies
Strange Dreams (1993) — Editor — 186 copies
The Man Who Killed His Brother (1980) — Author — 185 copies
Mordant's Need (2007) 110 copies
The War Within (2019) 92 copies
The Augur's Gambit (2016) 26 copies
The Reed Stephens Novels (2001) 19 copies
Mythological Beast (1978) 9 copies
The Lady in White (1978) 8 copies
The Conqueror Worm (1983) 8 copies
Animal Lover (1978) 7 copies
What Makes Us Human (1984) 6 copies
Ser Visal's Tale (1984) 5 copies
2002 3 copies
Penance [novella] (1998) 3 copies
World Tales 1 copy
Moc, která chrání (2000) 1 copy
1996 1 copy
Le feu de ses passions (1986) 1 copy
Lo specchio dei sogni (1996) 1 copy

Associated Works

After the King (1991) — Contributor — 764 copies
The Wizards of Odd: Comic Tales of Fantasy (1996) — Contributor — 633 copies
I Shudder at Your Touch (1991) — Contributor — 550 copies
Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, Volume 1 (2007) — Introduction, some editions — 459 copies
Godbody (1986) — Afterword, some editions — 394 copies
Berserker Base (1985) — Contributor — 323 copies
The 1985 Annual World's Best SF (1985) — Contributor — 239 copies
Gallery of Horror (1983) — Contributor — 226 copies
Unicorns! (1982) — Contributor — 225 copies
The 1986 Annual World's Best SF (1986) — Contributor — 216 copies
Stellar #4: Science-Fiction Stories (1978) — Contributor — 133 copies
Full Spectrum 4 (1993) — Contributor — 106 copies
Arabesques II (1989) — Contributor — 71 copies
The Year's Finest Fantasy: Volume 2 (1978) — Contributor — 68 copies
The Book of Kings (1995) — Contributor — 49 copies
Nine Visions, a Book of Fantasies (1983) — Contributor — 13 copies
An Anthology of Angels (1996) — Contributor — 9 copies

Tagged

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Donaldson, Stephen Reeder
Other names
Stephens, Reed
Donaldson, Stephen
Birthdate
1947-05-13
Gender
male
Nationality
USA
Birthplace
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Places of residence
India
Akron, Ohio, USA
New Jersey, USA
Corrales, New Mexico, USA
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Education
The College of Wooster (B.A. | English | 1968)
Kent State University (MA|English|1971)
Occupations
fantasy writer
Organizations
American Contract Bridge League
International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts
Contributing Editor, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Awards and honors
John W. Campbell Award (1979)
The College of Wooster Distinguished Alumni Award (1989)
WIN/WIN Popular Fiction Readers Choice Award for Favorite Fantasy Author (1991)
Atlanta Fantasy Fair Award for Outstanding Achievement (1992)
President's Award, The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (1997)
Agent
Howard Morhaim (Howard Morhaim Literary Agency)
Short biography
Born in 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, Stephen R. Donaldson lived in India (where his father was a medical missionary) until 1963. He graduated from the College of Wooster (Ohio) in 1968, served two years as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, doing hospital work in Akron, then attended Kent State University, where he received his M.A. in English in 1971.After dropping out of his Ph.D. program and moving to New Jersey in order to write fiction, Donaldson made his publishing debut with the first "Covenant" trilogy in 1977. That enabled him to move to a healthier climate. He now lives in New Mexico.The novels for which he is best known have received a number of awards. However, the achievements of which he is most proud are the ones that seemed the most unlikely. In 1993 he received a Doctor of Literature degree from the College of Wooster, and in 1994 he gained a black belt in Shotokan karate from Sensei Mike Heister and Anshin Personal Defense.After completing the five-book, seven-year Gap sequence of science fiction novels, Donaldson spent quite some time "on vacation." However, he has now returned to work. His most recent book prior to The Man Who Fought Alone was a second collection of short fiction, Reave the Just and Other Tales. He is currently hard at work on "The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant".

Members

Reviews

The awesomeness of this book almost makes up for the tortuousness of the first book, and part of the 2nd book. Donaldson is an expert at writing about suffering. Every character in these books suffers from start to almost finish. A couple get lucky and make it to the end still alive, heavily scarred. I've seen this kind of plot structure in story arcs in comic books. Just completely beat the hell out of the heroes, make it seem like there's absolutely no way the good guys can win, and then they do. Except that Donaldson makes it so painful, that in the end you don't know if they really did win, considering how broken and damaged they are now. And unlike comic books, these heroes don't come back.

I guess, it's kind of original in fantasy novels, so I appreciate that, just not sure I want to read more of it. I hated Covenant almost the entire time. When one of his companions was someone who he had wronged and they loved him, I was delighted by thinking that he would suffer for it. Then I realized that he loves suffering and was always looking for a reason to be even more negative, so that ruined it for me.

BUT this still got 4 stars. What I loved, corrupted giants, friendly giants, ancient artifacts of power, huge sieges of ancient strongholds, lots and lots of magic, the deep history of the land, and of course, finally some good news for the good guys. About that good news, a couple people have talked about the "victory chapter". I loved it, but it seems like the key to it was "the oath of peace", which always seemed kind of lame to me. Like, "our whole world is being destroyed and everyone is being killed, but we better be nice and make sure we don't hurt the bad guys too much, unless we absolutely have to." Again, it almost became like a superhero trope, "we don't kill villains".
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ragwaine | 27 other reviews | Apr 9, 2024 |
Donaldson’s The Real Story is as much a masterpiece as it is/can be disturbing; in short, you either love it or hate it. The setting grimy and dark; it is science fiction but that’s just a sideshow. In fact, this is an intense psychological thriller. Like I said, not for everyone. It puts you in the mind of a psychopath called, quite hmm may I say incongruently so, Thermopylae. See, there is nothing heroic about Angus Thermopylae. If he had lived in the 70s or 80s, he could have been right up there with Ted Bundy, Kemper, and the BTK strangler. Instead in a future time - the year remains undisclosed - Angus Thermopylae is a space pirate that is on a collision course with another pirate called Nick Succorso. Succorso, at least on the outside, is everything that Angus is not; charming, handsome in a rugged sense, and an inspiring leader to his crew. The third character is a female cop called Hyland, falling into the hands of Angus,a very unfortunate turn of fate for her indeed, we witness her profuse suffering at the hands of this twisted psychopath. Like any good writer, Donaldson abstains from any graphic descriptions, he dares the reader’s imagination to fill in the details. This proved rather disconcerting, for when I, as any true reader did just that, I almost got to the point where I considered shelving the book, in the proverbial sense for I’m reviewing the audio book. Fortunately, there is Succorso and with him springs hope from the concerned reader’s breast. He hatches a complex plan to rescue her, yet soon we find this is not a white knight rescuing damsels in distress plot. Succorso is in some ways just as bad as Angus (this is mostly hinted at but not yet born out by any of his actions). In the finale of this rather compact story (about five hours reading time) we realize that Angus is not the black and white character he was introduced to us. Some of the readers may even garner sympathy for him, at least this is how the author wants us to feel. Considering what Angus did to Hyland, well what can I say, a tall order for the writer, and a near impossibility of the writer’s own doing; for I’m giving it to you straight, Angus is one of the most revolting, disgusting, close to irredeemable characters that has ever come to life between the pages of fiction. (;… (more)
 
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nitrolpost | 30 other reviews | Mar 19, 2024 |
Definitely better than book 1 because there was a huge section without Thomas Covenant in it, but even the part with him in it at the end wasn't terrible. I'll definitely be finishing the trilogy, but that third book will help me decide whether I do the 2nd trilogy or not.

Spoiler
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When confronted by his daughter and she says she wants to be his lover, what does Covenant say? Not, "eww that's gross you're my daughter.", Not "Well you are hot, but you're my daughter so no." But instead he says, "We can't because I'm a leper." EVEN THOUGH he totally can, because he's not really a leper in the fantasy world. But of course, he has to bring up being a leper. He's worse than a vegan!… (more)
 
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ragwaine | 31 other reviews | Mar 4, 2024 |
This was an unexpectedly interesting read.

I have to admit that I was wondering whether or not to pick this one up because of some criticism (heavy adult themes, in lack of better words). I was not sure I had stomach for anything heavy it was said this book contained.

But curiosity won and I read this first entry in the series, and I have to say this is one excellent book.

Story centers around three characters:

- Angus Thermopyle, ruthless pirate, suspected by everyone on the local station to be a criminal but there are no proof of his shady activities. He is proud owner of a deadly starship (akin to Millenium Falcon, packing more than it is visible on the surface) and enjoys spreading rumors and fear wherever he goes. In truth he is very insecure, psychotic and in general sociopath, and it is visible his very life is one noone would want to any living being. Story is told from his perspective and we get to know him the most as story progresses. He is like a wild animal, imagine a prospector/hunter living in the wilds of North West America in 18th and early 19th century, living alone, no human touch or contact and constantly on the lookout for traitors and assassins, never at peace, constantly on the edge. There is no etiquette, no civil correspondence (unless there is fear of immediate reprisal, this is only time when he becomes civil of sort), just raw instinct and hate, lots of hate.
- Morn Hyland is a police woman that ends up ensnared by Angus. She plays a role here of a character through which contact Agnus starts to change. She suffers hideous things from Angus, but in some smaller paragraphs we can see that she is not what we might initially think. She carries some secret (except the obvious one) and we are still to see what is it.
- Nick Succorso - greatest enigma of all three. We are given some pieces of his origin story and it is obvious that he is as devious and deadly than Angus, maybe even more considering that Nick, unlike Angus, is visually appealing an full of charm. Why would he choose to help Morn is in my opinion still not fully disclosed.

Author treats us with some very realistic and dynamic space combat scenes, schemings and counter-schemings between our characters. Overall we are given a glimpse of a very complex world, controlled by all means and purposes by asteroid mining companies and endangered by ruthless and merciless pirates. And then we have a mysterious force, some unspoken danger acting in the background, still undefined.

Scenes of Angus' violence over Morn are present, but except two rather graphic and violent scenes - that were kept short - all the other violent actions take place in Angus' mind alone.
As for the content If you ever read any cowboy westerns where civilians end up as targets of roaming gangs I think you know what to expect (some recent epic fantasy books (Game of Thrones is implied here together with Berserker series) are not that far from similar scenes). Nothing too graphic (since this is not that kind of book), but with impactful presentation of the violence. Goal seems to be to show more Angus' changes of behavior then shock the reader with constant violations.

If this was a standalone novel it would be great. Since it is part of the series I now need to chase down the rest of the books to see how it ends (author's Afterword truly hooked me up).

Highly recommended.
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Zare | 30 other reviews | Feb 28, 2024 |

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Doris Pitkin Buck Contributor
John Jude Palencar Cover artist
Edward Bryant Contributor
Daphne Castell Contributor
C. J. Cherryh Contributor
Somtow Sucharitkul Contributor
Harvey Jacobs Contributor
John Kessel Composer
Garry Kilworth Contributor
Orson Scott Card Contributor
Edgar Pangborn Contributor
John Varley Contributor
Franz Kafka Contributor
Robin McKinley Contributor
Greg Bear Contributor
Jorge Luis Borges Contributor
Rudyard Kipling Contributor
Harlan Ellison Contributor
Rachel Pollack Contributor
Sheri S. Tepper Contributor
Jack Vance Contributor
Michael Bishop Contributor
Theodore Sturgeon Contributor
Lucius Shepard Contributor
R. A. Lafferty Contributor
Nancy Kress Contributor
M. John Harrison Contributor
John M. Ford Contributor
Darrell K. Sweet Cover artist
Peter Goodfellow Cover artist
S. C. Wyeth Cover artist
Michael Whelan Cover artist
David O'Connor Cover artist
Paul Youll Cover artist
Scott Brick Narrator
Stephen Youll Cover artist
Janice C. Tate Cover artist
Michael Herring Cover artist
Gary Friedman Jacket designer
Valérie Dayre Translator
Janet C. Dudar Cover designer
Horst Pukallus Translator
Olle Sahlin Translator
Holly Johnson Designer
Helen c1978 Marcus Photographer
David O'Conner Cover artist
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Geoff Taylor Cover artist
Gervasio Gallardo Cover artist
Jon Foster Cover artist

Statistics

Works
94
Also by
21
Members
50,423
Popularity
#302
Rating
½ 3.8
Reviews
520
ISBNs
582
Languages
12
Favorited
133

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