A good obit for Tanith Lee by Andrew McKie for the Herald:
Tanith Lee, who has died aged 67, was an inventive and prolific writer, chiefly of fantasies, though in the course of some 90 novels and 300 short stories she also ventured into science fiction, horror, the reinvention of fairy-tales, historical fiction, children’s and young adults’ literature; she also wrote two episodes of the cult BBC TV series Blake’s 7.
Her settings and atmospheres were strongly in the tradition of “the Weird”, owing much to the influence of writers such as Lord Dunsany and his mystical countryman Ã† (George William Russell), C.S. Lewis and Jack Vance. Her own work, like that of Angela Carter, often commandeered the tropes of mythology and fairy tale to explore sexuality, identity – especially feminine identities – mortality and isolation.
One of Tanith Lee’s prominent themes was the moral and erotic development of characters placed in hostile, or at least unpredictable, worlds which the heroine (or hero) comes, if not to control, at least to meet on her own terms through a deliberate effort of the will.
From the mid-1970s, when she published her first adult novel, The Birthgrave, which was nominated for a Nebula Award, and became a full time writer, most of Lee’s books enjoyed a respectable degree of commercial and critical success. But despite having had “quietly phenomenal sales, now and then”, in recent years she found it increasingly difficult to interest publishers in her work. Most of her backlist is now out of print.
In 2012 she told an interviewer: “most of the so-called big publishers are unwilling even to look at a proposal. They aren’t interested in seeing anything from me, not even those houses I’ve worked with for many years … I can only conclude (without knowing any figures) that a lot of this is financial. I have had people say to me, ‘We would like to publish this, but though it would sell, it wouldn’t sell enough. And so they won’t let us buy it’.”
Full obit via Tanith Lee | Herald Scotland.