A. A. Attanasio was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1951. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University in 1975, and an MA in Linguistics from New York University in 1976. His first novel, Radix, was shortlisted for the prestigious Nebula Award.
Overuse of Arthurian materials in current genre fantasy would pose a challenge for any novelist, but Attanasio develops a noteworthy, unique cosmology. Known for science fiction (Radix) as well as for the Arthurian (Kingdom of the Grail), he combines the Round Table and black holes, gods and alternate time lines, to produce a world full of both mythology and history, reworking familiar elements in new ways. Rich thematically as well, the story presents inevitable cycles of pain, death, learning and redemption as Ygrane, Uther, Morgeu the Fey and Merlinus, joined by various pagans and Christians, fight for the soul of their land. Unfortunately, the complexities often require too much explanation, slowing the narrative, especially in the beginning. Even the peculiar spelling of Arthor's name requires some elucidation (Aquila Regalis Thor). Still, sophisticated commentary on Arthurian history and legend and religious and philosophical speculation, make this sometimes difficult read rewarding. (June)