|Author: Piers Anthony|
Piers Anthony's parents were unable to reach a consensus on what to name him, so they gave him all the names in the hat, and he became Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob. When the family moved to America, Anthony found it difficult to learn to read, and took three years to graduate from first grade. Naturally, he went on to college, eventually becoming an English teacher. He married Carol Ann Marble in 1956 and published his first story in 1963. His debut novel, CTHON, appeared in 1967, and was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula award. A prolific writer from the beginning, Anthony had written another 12 or so novels--including the highly regarded Omnivore trilogy and another Hugo nominee, MACROSCOPE--before A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON appeared in 1977. Winner of the British Fantasy Award, this book introduced the world of Xanth, a Florida-like fantasy world populated by unicorns, dragons, centaurs, heroes, and the like. The 20-plus-volume Xanth series, Anthony's most well-known work, has somewhat polarized both fans and critics, with some liking the near-constant puns--a random sample of just their titles reveals CENTAUR AISLE, CREWEL LYE: A CAUSTIC YARN, and HEAVEN CENT--and inventive reinterpretations of ancient and modern mythologies. Some readers have objected to the extremely well-worn plot lines and sometimes sexist humor, not to mention the overabundance of puns. Artistically speaking, probably his most successful series has been the Incarnations of Immortality, seven books in which Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature, Satan, and God are personified and given a forum to explore the politics of eternity, the nature of their office, and the struggle between good and evil from their own perspective. With his astonishingly prolific career, sometimes publishing as many as eight novels a year, it is a wonder that he has time to do anything else. However, readers interested in keeping up to date with the daily minutiae of Anthony's life are advised to pick up one of his more recent books; several times a year, one or another of his new books contains an exhaustive accounting of events from the past several months.