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Keith Roberts (Keith John Kingston Roberts) Biography

(1935–2000), (Keith John Kingston Roberts), Pavane, Kiteworld, The Chalk Giants, Machines and Men, The Grain Kings

British writer of science fiction and fantasy, born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, educated at Leicester College of Art. Most of his work is set in southern England; Pavane (1968), his first success, presented an alternate history of England in which the Spanish Armada won, and an intriguingly different culture ensued; a bleaker alternate history governed the England of Kiteworld (1985). Many of his novels are linked stories, as in The Chalk Giants (1974) in which an apocalyptic abyssal future is inhabited by strange characters. Roberts seems most concerned with the mysteriousness of men and women deeply rooted in self and landscape; the short stories of Machines and Men (1973), The Grain Kings (1976), Ladies from Hell (1979), The Lordly Ones (1986), and Winterwood (1989) are a series of character portraits of the unknowable; even the voluble protagonist of Kaeti & Company (1986) remains an enigma. A powerful ambivalence about relations between the sexes affects the dystopian Molly Zero (1980), and is best articulated in Grainne (1987).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Rhode to Jack [Morris] Rosenthal Biography