Born Bradford, Pennyslvania, 1944. Resident Michigan, 1947-1966. Resident Chicago, 1966-date. Wife, Frieda A. Murray, married 1975; daughter Violette Y. Green, born 1984.
Ypsilanti High School, 1962. Oberlin College, BA with Honors in Political Science, 1966. University of Chicago, MA in International Politics, 1968.
Full-time writer and reviewer most years since 1973. Also employment as retail bookseller, library aide, fact-checker, and on-line copyeditor.
Address: 3023 North Clark/# 796, Chicago, IL 60657; (tel) 773-583-0458; (fax) 773-583-5221; (e-mail) email@example.com
First novel: Wandor’s Voyage (Avon, 1973; fantasy). Most recent novel, Voyage to Eneh (Tor, 2001; sf). Also:
-Three additional Wandor novels (Avon; fantasy)
-Three Peace Company novels (Ace; military sf)
-Six STARCRUISER Shenandoah novels (Roc; military sf)
-Seven Conan novels (Tor; fantasy)
-Seven series novels for GoldEagle/WorldWide Library (men’s adventure)
-Six game tie-in novels (TSR/Wizards of the Coast; fantasy)
-Military sf novels in collaboration with Jerry Pournelle, high fantasy in collaboration with wife Frieda A. Murray, and alternate history in collaboration with John F. Carr.
-Thirty-one novels under various house names for Book Creations, Inc.
-Short fiction in all the above categories, some of it in collaboration with Carr or Murray.
-Reviews since 1979, published by the American Library Association, Publishers Weekly, Baen Books, and the Chicago Sun-Times.
-Critical and historical non-fiction, on sf, fantasy, and military history.
-Comic scripts for “Conan and the Master of the Forest” and “Conan and the River of Death” from Marvel Comics.
Editorial work on several sf and fantasy anthologies.
Numerous appearances as GoH, panelist, and workshopper at sf and fantasy conventions.
Lectures, presentations, and courses in creative writing and related topics at the upper-elementary, high school, and college levels, as well as at public libraries.
Literary Agent – Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary Agency, 320 Central Park West/Suite 1-D, New York, NY 10025.
Graphics Agent—David Campiti, Glass House Graphics , LLC. 109 N, 18th Street, Wheeling, WV 26003.
The Wandor series (Avon, heroic fantasy) -- Wandor's Ride (1973), Wandor's Journey (1975), Wandor's Voyage (1979), Wandor's Flight (1981).
The Peace Company trilogy (Ace, military science fiction) -- Peace Company (1985), These Green Foreign Hills (1987), The Mountain Walks (1989).
Conan the Valiant (1989), Conan the Guardian (1990), Conan the Relentless (1992), Conan and the Gods of the Mountain (1993), Conan at the Demon's Gate (1994), Conan and the Mists of Doom (1995), Conan and the Death Lord of Thanza (1997). Heroic fantasy adaptations, published by Tor Books with the authorization of Conan Properties and the estate of Robert E. Howard.
The Starcruiser Shenandoah series (Roc, military science fiction) -- Squadron Alert (1989), Division of the Spoils 1990), The Sum of Things (1991), Vain Command (1992), The Painful Field (1993), Warriors for the Working Day (1994).
Game-related fantasy from Wizards of the Coast/TSR -- Knights of the Crown (1995), Knights of the Sword (1995), Knights of the Rose (1996), and Wayward Knights (1997) in the Dragonlance universe; also Tale of the Comet (1997) for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and On the Verge, a Star*Drive novel (1998).
First volume of the sf trilogy Seas of Kilmoyn (Tor), Voyage to Eneh (March, 2000). (In collaboration with Gordon R. Dickson) -- Jamie the Red (Ace, 1984; historical fantasy).
(In collaboration with Jerry Pournelle) -- Janissaries: Clan and Crown (Ace, 1982) and Janissaries: Storms of Victory (Ace, 1987). Volumes in Pournelle's Janissaries military science-fiction series.
(In collaboration with John F Carr) -- Great Kings' War (Ace, 1985). Historical/military science fiction; authorized sequel to H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen.
(In collaboration with Frieda A. Murray) -- Throne of Sherran: The Book of Kantela (Bluejay, 1985; reprinted by Tor). High fantasy, first of a projected trilogy.
In addition, more than thirty novels in several different action-adventure series, published by Pinnacle, Bantam, and Gold Eagle/Worldwide Library (division of Harlequin Books). Work in progress includes the remaining volumes of The Seas of Kilmoyn trilogy.
Short fiction (some in collaboration with Frieda A. Murray and John F. Carr) published in Galaxy magazine and in anthologies edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, Robert and Pamela Adams, Martin H. Greenberg and Michael Resnick, John Varley and Ricia Mainhardt, William B. Fawcett, L. Sprague de Camp and Christopher Stasheff, Erin Kelly, Edward Kramer, Brian Thomsen, David Weber, S.M. Stirling, and Jean Rabe.
Non-fiction published in Illinois Schools Journal, the There Will be War anthology series (Tor; Pournelle and Carr, eds.), Amazing Stories, and U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings.
Compiled the "Concordance" section of the Tom Clancy Companion (Martin H. Greenberg, ed.; Berkley Putnam, 1992).
(With Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr) - Co-editor of the first two volumes of the Warworld series of shared-world anthologies (Baen).
(With Lois McMaster Bujold and Martin H. Greenberg) - Co-editor, Women at War (Tor, 1995). Anthology of military science fiction and fantasy by women authors.
(With Harry Turtledove and Martin H. Greenberg) - Co-editor, Alternate Generals (Baen, 1998). Anthology of alternate military history.
Also done on a freelance basis: radio scripts (Book Creations), comic scripts (two three-issue Conan the Barbarian scripts for Marvel Comics: "Conan and the Stalker of the Woods" and "Conan: River of Death"), and research/development editing for role-playing game handbooks for White Wolf (Mage: The Sorcerers' Crusade) and TSR.
Work in progress includes assorted short fiction, some in collaboration with Frieda A. Murray.
Reviewer of science fiction, fantasy, horror, technothrillers, and military history for Booklist magazine (the American Library Association) since 1979; reviewer of science fiction and fantasy for the Chicago SunTimes, 1981-1994; reviewer of sf, fantasy, and thrillers for Publishers Weekly since 1996; briefly reviewer of sf and fantasy for Baen Book's Far Frontiers.
SPOTLIGHT ON ROLAND GREEN :
Our search for ROLAND Green at Lake Con ended on the forward deck of a con-chartered excursion boat, well out on Lake Michigan. The mist and rain nearly hid the Loop skyline, and the lake was just rough enough to make one cautious about walking.
ROLAND : was seated on a damp bench, wearing a beige raincoat with a hood over a burgundy colored sweater. He had a pair of binoculars slung around his neck and a large cup of coffee in his hand.
SPOTLIGHT: You’ve written a lot. Most of it isn’t comics, though.
ROLAND : Well, no. I published my first novel in 1973, but I didn’t even touch comics until the 90’s. But I think doing any kind of writing helps you learn any other kind faster than if you started from scratch.
SPOTLIGHT: Is there anything in your background that aimed you at writing?
ROLAND : Probably my parents helped me start off on the right foot. My father was a college professor, my mother was a children’s librarian, and we were a people of the books as far back as I remember, which is about 1947.
SPOTLIGHT: Did you ever have any writing training?
ROLAND : (sips coffee): Lots of reading is always good training. I also had a lot of English teachers in high school who encouraged me to write, enter contests, and so forth. I won often enough not to embarrass them. I really didn’t think of writing for publication until I made contact with science fiction fandom. Then somebody I met there and I tried a science fiction novel, which didn’t get us a sale but did get us a good agent.
SPOTLIGHT: That sounds like a good start.
ROLAND : It certainly was. The agent was the late Lurton Blassingame, one of the really great agents of the century. This was also the time of the big Conan revival, and there were a lot of dangling Clonans being published. I read one, and said the immortal words that have led many an author to doom:
“If this (bleep) is selling, I can too!”
SPOTLIGHT (blowing And?
spray off the microphone)
ROLAND : I sold WANDOR’S RIDE very quickly. It was supposed to be about a sword-swinger named Wandor, but it turned out to be about his lady, Gwynna Delvora. This was the first time my female lead took over the story, but it wasn’t the last. Sometimes I think somebody ought to paint a group portrait of all my female characters, sitting around a long and well-furnished table, while I sit under the table frantically trying to record every word so that I won’t goof them up in their next appearance.
SPOTLIGHT: Do you have a plastic bag for this mike?
ROLAND : (pulls one out and hands it to the interviewer, who bags up the microphone)
ROLAND : Shall I talk a little louder?
ROLAND : Where were we? Oh, Wandoring. The next piece of luck was Book Creations – the packager that put out John Jakes’s Bicentennial series – advertising for published authors. As of six weeks before, I was a published author. I sent them WANDOR’S RIDE. They sent me an offer I didn’t refuse. I wrote thirty-one adventure novels for them over the next seven years. I started when I was still in graduate school, but by the time I finished I’d written quite a few other things as well. And I’d made an important discovery.
SPOTLIGHT: And that was?
ROLAND : It was much more fun to be paid for writing fiction and reviews than to pay for being allowed to write academic prose.
SPOTLIGHT: And then you started on comics?
ROLAND : (sips coffee): Don’t I wish? I’d been reading them off and on since I was reading about the original Captain Marvel putting out the atomic fire by throwing a hundred-mile circle of Earth into the sun. Impressive! But then I was off them for a while, and didn’t get interested in them until I discovered Prince Namor.
SPOTLIGHT: Why Prince Namor?
ROLAND : I got fascinated by ships and the sea when I was five and haven’t changed since. My imagination at least ran away to sea a long time ago and never quite came back. So why not the Ruler of Atlantis? In some alternate history, I might have been scripting Submariner for the last twenty years.
SPOTLIGHT: Alternate history?
ROLAND : Like Marvel’s What If?, may it rest in peace, and Antarctic’s Tigers of Terra and Families of Altered Wars. There’s a lot more of it in sf and fantasy fiction, with writers like Harry Turtledove and S. M. Stirling. I’ve done some myself..
ROLAND : And more Wandor books, and science fiction, both incollaboration and by myself, and short stories, and more men’s adventure, and game tie-in fantasy, and thousands of book reviews for the American Library Association and Publishers Weekly and the Chicago Sun-Times, and some non-fiction articles—(runs out of breath)
SPOTLIGHT: So how many books have you written in all?
ROLAND : Over sixty, about half of them with my name somewhere on them.
SPOTLIGHT: Did you ever feel like a “hack?”
ROLAND : That’s kind of a dirty word among professional writers. I’ve always done the best kind of writing that was appropriate for a given book. I probably do my female characters a little stronger, if not always better, than some of the competition. I don’t think anybody loses by that, either. And the Book Creations novels in particular were good practice for when I had to write fast, and in somebody else’s world. You want to be able to do both, writing comics. Heck, you have to.
SPOTLIGHT: And now we’re almost back to how you got into comics?
ROLAND : I could have sworn I detected sarcasm. Never mind, so many people tell me that I talk too much that I can barely get a word in—
SPOTLIGHT (startled) What was that?
ROLAND : (looks right) The new sailing lake cruise ship, the North American II. But back to the comics.
SPOTLIGHT: I’ve heard you had some trouble breaking in.
ROLAND : These last ten years, who hasn’t? And I’ve been lucky. All the people I have dealt with were reasonably honest, competent, and easy to deal with. Troublemaking happened way above their pay grade.
SPOTLIGHT: Mort Castle mentioned you a few times.
ROLAND : I owe him a lot, so now it’s my turn to mention him. He picked my name out of an author’s directory after reading and like the Wandor books. I started giving lectures at his creative writing high-school classes. The lectures got bigger, and so did his ideas of editing a line of comics of his own. Unfortunately, the financing didn’t. So he sent me on to David Campiti, who was tooling up for a number of projects as editor at Innovation.
SPOTLIGHT: And then there was no more Innovation, right?
ROLAND : You got it. But David didn’t desert me. While he was setting up GHG he persuaded Ralph Macchio at Marvel to make me a writer for a couple of the Conan mini-series. I had a unique qualification – I had written seven Conan novels for Tor Books – but it took a while to persuade people at Marvel. And right about the time I’d finished the second mini-series, the great financial implosion in comics hit.
SPOTLIGHT: But at least Marvel didn’t fold.
ROLAND : No, but it was touch and go for everybody for a while. I suspected that the smoke was clearing when they brought Chris Claremont back to do X-Men. Then Joe Quesada came in out of the independents to edit Marvel. DC did things like giving Harley Quinn her own book, and the independents stopped vanishing into limbo.
SPOTLIGHT: Some people are accused of bringing in more new artists than writers. Any comment?
ROLAND : Even if that’s true, that’s the way it should be. Innovative and adaptive artists are absolutely life or death. Artists who aren’t can be replaced by good graphics software. I’ve seen some work that could be replaced by bad graphics software. Besides, the artist and the editor and the writer are a three-way collaboration on the same turf. Theycan do things together that no one can do if the others don’t help.
SPOTLIGHT: Can you give an example?
ROLAND : Yes, but then let’s go inside. My coffee and you are getting cold. Let’s just take my Conans. On the first one I had Carlo Castellini and asked for a final action scene, double-page spread, with all the magically-enslaved trees coming to life to take vengeance on the wizard who’d enslaved them. He gave me two pages of twenty-foot luminous green dryads with attitude, looking like the Girl Gang from Hell. On the next one, I asked Kris Isherwood to give me a Valeria who looked like an Olympic swimmer and he did. And if I want a character portrayed as Sandra Bullock, only five inches taller, artists usually work faster than Hertz Rent-a-Clone. Artists, so far, are definitely on my good-people list.
ROLAND : and SPOTLIGHT pick up their gear and go inside.
Inside, they find red vinyl seats near a window. The background is comics fans.
Some of the comics fans are in costume.
Some of the costume-wearers look chilly.
ROLAND : takes off his raincoat and sweater. Under it is a T-shirt.
It says, “I KISS MY CAT ON THE LIPS.”
SPOTLIGHT: Are you cat people?
ROLAND : Between cats at the moment. I have a family, house, car, computer, and library, but our cat died in March.
SPOTLIGHT: Is the library mostly sf and fantasy?
ROLAND : And military and naval history, and my wife has a big shelf of folklore, which is great raw material for fantasy, and our daughter has lost count of her own books.
SPOTLIGHT: How do sf and fantasy related to comics?
ROLAND : Well, if you look at them, Superman and Siegfried and Achilles are all part of a single heroic tradition, the Hero. The Greek playwrights who poked fun at youth would have understood Archie or Buffy, and an awful lot of folklore was horror stories before it was toned down. And for action fiction, you have to do the same job of planning the action scenes that you have to do for writing a comic script – and I started reading C. S. Forester at the age of nine. So writing comics is following in some very distinguished footsteps.
SPOTLIGHT: What do you think of the boom in fantasy and sf movies?
ROLAND : Bend closer and you can hear me purring. (Straightens up and grins). No, seriously. I think we’ve seen real breakthroughs in the past few years. X-Men, Spiderman, Harry Potter (and of course all the books). And of course Lord of the Rings. If you had told me five years ago that such a movie could be made from Tolkien, I would have laughed in your face. Then there’s the flourishing sf and fantasy and comics adaptations on TV and in books, while the comics can always pillage a little material from the movies. Some of that pillaging is positively brilliant. I liked Dark Horse’s short-lived Starship Troopers better than I did the movie, and the same house is doing things with Star Wars that really bring out new sides of the characters and world.
SPOTLIGHT: Chicago looks like a great place to keep up on movies.
ROLAND : It is. We’ve got multiplexes, neighborhood spots, art houses, and video rental stores where you can fish up anything from 1907 to 2002. Not to mention comic stores that really cover pretty much the whole field if you go to the right ones. I can cover majors, independents, manga, and European at just three stores. And you can throw a brick on the street without hitting a comics fan, but a teller at my bank is probably somewhere at this convention. And the husband of one of my daughter’s grade-school teachers ran a local comic-book store for a while.
SPOTLIGHT: Is your daughter a comics fan?
ROLAND : Yes, and you can find her glued to the Elfquest table, unless she’s gone off to change her costume. She’ll be wearing jeans and cowboy boots, a tank top, and a straw hat pulled low over her face. Probably sunglasses too.
SPOTLIGHT (bemused): That doesn’t ring a bell.
ROLAND : (grinning): Wait. Elfquest was her first comic book – I was Guest of Honor at an sf convention run by bunch of EQ fans. Then she moved on to Tintin, but never gave up on EQ, and has stayed a pretty heavy comics reader ever since.
SPOTLIGHT: What does the rest of the family think?
ROLAND : My mother is retired, but she’s still one of the People of the Books. My father’s dead, and my in-laws certainly give me the benefit of the doubt. My wife – well, we’re still married after twenty-seven years. She works at the Social Security Administration, makes epic lasagna, Chinese stir fry, and chocolate cake, and collaborates with me fairly often – one novel and a bunch of short stories so far. She does not like the feast or famine pattern of the comics industry—
SPOTLIGHT (losing cool) --she and about nine million others!
SFX: (Every form of verbal and non-verbal cheering, surrounding ROLAND and SPOTLIGHT)
SPOTLIGHT: Are you writing anything now?
ROLAND : Smile when you say that, interviewer. The short answer is yes. The long answer is wrapping the KILMOYN novels and about three short stories to turned in this summer, along with a bunch of proposals for both fiction and comics. Several of them involve ships or alternate history, too, but they’re all at the “I could tell you, but then I’d have to edit your tape” stage.
SPOTLIGHT: No problem. What do you expect out of your next ten years as a writer?
ROLAND : Besides piles of money? I want to see all nine million comics readers never short of comics or money to buy them. I want to see five Elfquest movies and the Pinis having a summer home in Japan. I want to see all the comics with tough, independent women translated into Arabic and air-dropped into every country where the fundamentalists have tried to suppress them….
SPOTLIGHT: And in the real world?
ROLAND : I really have no preferences among editors, artists, houses, or independent vs. majors, or for that matter categories. Back home there’s a stack on my desk than includes a Garth Ennis War Stories, Stinz, a Tick trade paperback, Phil Foglio’s Girl Genius, several GI Joes old and new, a whole bunch of Families of Altered Wars that I’m using for an essay on alternate history—
SPOTLIGHT: I get your point.
ROLAND : For some characters or worlds I’d need to do a pile of research. There are also some themes I’ve seen in the past I would just as soon not tackle myself. But bring on the editors, as long as their checks don’t bounce and they’re willing to come through David Campiti and GHG. There would be no possible substitute for his expertise, his frequent niceness, and his occasional willingness to kick butt.
SPOTLIGHT: Any projects in particular?
ROLAND : Well, my fictional fighting women are hinting they’d like me to do Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, or Rogue. (Greg Rucka has Elektra and Black Widow very well in hand..) creeps than I could. If the popular interest in World War II and seafaring ends up making a comics connection – well, have imagination, will enlist. In ten years we’ll be approaching the centennial of World War I, and we now know that Wolverine is old enough to have fought in the trenches. They’re already supposed to be making a Patrick O’Brian movie, and I’ve seen graphic adaptations of Marcel Proust and the life of Louis Riel, the 19th century Canadian revolutionary—
An extraordinarily beautiful young woman appears, probably in her late teens.
This isROLAND’s daughter VIOLETTE.
She is wearing the costume previously described, with long brown hair.
She is carrying a hotdog and a large Coke.
As she hands them to ROLAND, there is a terrific CLANNNGGG!
ROLAND : : We can’t have hit an iceberg. So it has to be—“
VIOLETTE Dad, your Titanic jokes are sinkin’. (Mimes gesture of pouring Coke over her father’s head.)
VIOLETTE: That there noise was just them closin’ up the kitchen. Good for us ah could fly in the back window.
Violette takes off her hat. Her hair in front shows Rogue’s skunk stripe.
VIOLETTE: Downhome Rogue. I thought sometimes she has to sneak back home, and not dress like a superhero. There must be some people there who aren’t scared of her. (Puts her hands on her hips and resumes the accent). Even got me a genuwine Whole Moon Pie off of somebody else dressed up like Rogue. She was showin’ too much skin, ah think.
SPOTLIGHT: (gamely trying not to look a little overwhelmed) I think we can wrap now. (Deep breath) This is GHG SPOTLIGHT, concluding our interview with ROLAND GREEN , GHG writer, at this year’s Lake Con cruise on Lake Michigan.
Teaching and Lecturing
Numerous appearances at sf conventions as panelist, speaker, and guest. Guest of Honor three times.
Lectures on writing to public library, high school, and teachers' groups.
Short-story workshop for the seventh and eighth-grade language arts class at St. Luke Academy, Chicago, Illinois, 1989-1999.
A judge for the annual Illinois Science Fiction short-story contest since 1986; the Philip K. Dick Award for best original paperback science fiction or fantasy novel in 1987; the World Fantasy Award (1993).
Interviewed for Teachers for Chicago Program, 1999.
Member, United States Naval Institute, Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Former Midwest regional administrator (Seneschal), Society for Creative Anachronism (medieval reenactment organization). Former Vice-President and Chairman, Elections Committee, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.