Jane Gaskell

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Jane Gaskell is a British fantasy writer. She was born in 1941, in Lancaster, England[1] and wrote her first novel Strange Evil, when she was 14. It was published two years later and was described by John Grant as "a major work of the fantastic imagination", comparing it to George MacDonald's Lilith and David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus.[2] China Miéville lists Strange Evil as one of the top 10 examples of weird fiction[3] whilst John Clute called it "an astonishingly imaginative piece of fantasy by any standards."[4]

Gaskell's horror novel The Shiny Narrow Grin (1964) featured a sympathetic, tormented vampire and was described by Brian Stableford as one of the first "revisionist vampire novels", whose most successful exemplar was Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.[5] The Shiny Narrow Grin was also listed by horror historian Robert S. Hadji in his list of "unjustedly neglected" horror novels.[6]

Her Atlan saga is set in prehistoric South America and in the mythical world of Atlantis. The series is written from the point of view of its clumsy heroine Cija, except for the last book, which is narrated by her daughter Seka.[7] In 1970 she received the Somerset Maugham Award for her novel A Sweet Sweet Summer (jointly with Piers Paul Read who received it for his Monk Dawson.) A Sweet, Sweet Summer features aliens visiting a violent future Earth;[7] Baird Searles stated the book makes " A Clockwork Orange look like Winnie the Pooh".[1]

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Gaskell worked as a journalist on the Daily Mail.[2] She later became a professional astrologer.[4]


Standalone novels[edit]

The Atlan Saga[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sharon Yntema, More Than 100: Women Science Fiction Writers Crossing Press, 1988. ISBN 0895943018 (pp. 51-52).
  2. ^ a b John Grant, "Gaskell, Jane" in St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers, ed. David Pringle, London, St. James Press, 1996, ISBN 1-55862-205-5, (p. 224-6).
  3. ^ China Mieville's weird fiction | Top 10s | guardian.co.uk Books
  4. ^ a b "Gaskell, Jane", The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, John Clute & John Grant, ed., p.190
  5. ^ Brian Stableford, "The Gothic Lifestyle from Byron to Buffy", in Gothic Grotesques: Essays on Fantastic Literature Wildside Press,, 2009 ISBN 1434403394 (p.105).
  6. ^ R.S. Hadji, "13 Neglected Masterpieces of the Macabre", in Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, July–August 1983 . TZ Publications, Inc. (p. 62)[1]
  7. ^ a b John Clute, "Jane Gaskell", in Clute and Peter Nicholls, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. London : Orbit, 1993. ISBN 1857231244 (p.477).

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