We sometimes talk about writers ‘finding their voice’. In Robert Holdstock‘s case, the voice was very much there from the beginning of his writing career, as were a number of his signature themes – for example, the existence of racial memory and cultural archetypes – and can be seen in his early SF work such as . . .
On the planet Aeran, the original colonists have undergone a drastic change: under the influence of some strange psychic force they have forgotten their identity and created a new culture – an exact reconstruction of the Stone Age society that flourished in Ireland 6,000 years ago.Has some strange racial memory been awakened? Or are both cultures the product of a social blueprint implanted throughout the cosmos by a long-vanished race?
Robert Holdstock, of course, is now best-known for his extraordinary Fantasy works – notably the World Fantasy Award-winning Mythago Wood and the wonderful Merlin Codex – but it can be argued that the themes that help make his later Fantasy so remarkable were born in the crucible of his early SF. Robert Holdstock didn’t find his voice with Fantasy, but he found the best vehicle for expressing that voice.