Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden (born March 5, 1952), better known by her pen names Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm, is an American writer. She has written five series set in the Realm of the Elderlings, which started in 1995 with the publication of Assassin’s Apprentice and ended with Assassin’s Fate in 2017. Her books have sold over a million copies.
- The Realm of the Elderlings
- The Soldier Son Trilogy
- The Ki and Vandien Quartet
- Tillu and Kerlew
Margaret Astrid Lindholm was born in Berkeley, California, in 1952, but from the age of ten, she grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. After graduating from Austin E. Lathrop High School, she studied at Denver University for a year and then returned to Alaska. At eighteen, she married Fred Ogden and they returned to his home town of Kodiak, located at the tip of Kodiak Island in south-central Alaska.
Writing as Megan Lindholm
Lindholm sold her first short story to a children’s magazine, leading to an early career writing for children. Her short fiction for children appeared in magazines such as Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and Highlights for Children.She also composed educational material, short works of fiction created to a very specific vocabulary list, which were used in SRA’s programmed reading material.
In the 1970s, Lindholm also began to write short fantasy, publishing short stories in fanzines such as Space and Time (edited by Gordon Linzner). Her first professional sale as a fantasy writer was the short story “Bones for Dulath”, which appeared in the 1979 Amazons! anthology, and which introduced her recurring characters Ki and Vandien. The anthology, published by DAW Books, won a World Fantasy Award for Year’s Best Anthology. A second story featuring Ki and Vandien, “The Small One,” was published in Fantastic Stories in 1980.
Until 1995, she continued to publish exclusively under the name Megan Lindholm. Her fiction under that name spans several slices of the fantasy genre, from fantasy adventure (the Ki and Vandien tales) to urban fantasy (Wizard of the Pigeons).
Lindholm’s first novel, Harpy’s Flight, was published by Ace in 1983. It was the first of four novels about the characters Ki and Vandien, the last of which was published in 1989. She contributed short stories to a shared world anthology entitled Liavek from 1985 to 1988, and co-wrote a novel, The Gypsy, with Steven Brust. The Gypsy was released both as a traditional paper book and as part of an enhanced multimedia CD which included the text of the novel as well as the Boiled in Lead album Songs From the Gypsy, which was considered the soundtrack to the novel and featured songs written by Brust and his Cats Laughing bandmate Adam Stemple which had inspired the creation of both the novel and the album.
She has continued to publish short stories as Megan Lindholm, including an appearance in the 2013 anthology Year’s Best SF 18.
Writing as Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb, a pseudonym that Lindholm has used for writing works of epic traditional fantasy, first appeared in 1995.
The first Robin Hobb novel, Assassin’s Apprentice (1995), was the first volume of what grew to be three trilogies narrated in first person by FitzChivalry Farseer, illegitimate son of a prince, and featuring an enigmatic character called the Fool. As of 2003, Robin Hobb had sold over one million copies of her first nine novels, which formed three trilogies set in the Realm of the Elderlings. It was followed by Royal Assassin in 1996 and Assassin’s Quest in 1997. She returned to these characters in the Tawny Man Trilogy published between 2001 and 2003, which consists of Fool’s Errand, The Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate.
From 1998 to 2000, Hobb released Ship of Magic, The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny, about a family of traders and their living ships. From 2009 to 2013, Hobb released the four novels of The Rain Wild Chronicles (Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons). These two series are set in the same world as Hobb’s earlier trilogies.
The Soldier Son trilogy (Shaman’s Crossing, Forest Mage, and Renegade’s Magic) are Hobb’s only novels to be set outside of the Realm of the Elderlings, and were published between 2006 and 2009. In addition, The Inheritance, published in 2011, was a collection of short stories written both as Robin Hobb and as Megan Lindholm.
In 2013, Hobb announced that she would resume the story, decades later in life, of her two most popular characters in the Realm of the Elderlings series. The first volume of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, Fool’s Assassin, was published in August 2014, and the second, Fool’s Quest, a year later. The final volume, Assassin’s Fate, was published in May 2017. Assassin’s Fate is a sequel not only to her earlier books featuring Fitz but to the Liveship and Rain Wilds books.
In 1981, Megan Lindholm was awarded an Alaska State Council of the Arts prize for her short story “The Poaching.” As Megan Lindholm, her short fiction works have been finalists for both the Nebula and the Hugo awards, and winner of the Asimov’s Readers Award.
Her books have been praised by Orson Scott Card, who has stated that she “arguably set the standard for the modern serious fantasy novel”. George R.R. Martin has praised her work, writing that her books are like “diamonds in a sea of zircons.”
In 2014, she was a Guest of Honor at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London.
She currently publishes under both names, and lives in Tacoma, Washington.