"Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley." -- Joel Rosenberg
For people of the same name, see Joel Rosenberg
Joel Rosenberg (born May 1, 1954) is a Canadian American science fiction and fantasy author who is best known for his long-running "Guardians of the Flame" series. He is the oldest brother of Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg.
"I'm a simple man. All I want is enough sleep for two normal men, enough whiskey for three, and enough women for four.""Miscellaneous is always the largest category.""Whatever you want too much you can't have, so when you really want something, try to want it a little less."
Rosenberg began publishing in 1978, with an op-ed piece in The New York Times favoring nuclear power.
His first published fiction, "Like the Gentle Rains", appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1982. The following year, he published his first novel, The Sleeping Dragon which was the first in his long-running Guardians of the Flame series. This series placed a collection of college students into a fantasy setting similar to a role-playing world. Throughout numerous books, Rosenberg has traced these characters, their descendants and the changes they have made to society. He has shown no compunction about killing off popular characters.
The "Keepers of the Hidden Ways" trilogy similarly places people from the real world into a fantasy setting, making heavy use of Norse mythology. A third fantasy series, consisting of the novels D'Shai (1991) and Hour of the Octopus (1994) (both lightly humorous mysteries) is set in an Asian-influenced fantasy world with very strict cultural standards and etiquette.
Paladins, the first in his "Mordred's Heirs" series, was published by Baen Books in September 2004; the second, Knight Moves was published in November 2006. This series, an "alternate fantasy history", takes place in a world where Mordred defeated King Arthur, establishing the Pendragon Dynasty.
In addition to fantasy, Rosenberg has published a number of science fiction novels. Although dealing with different characters, Ties of Blood and Silver (1984) and Emile and the Dutchman (1986) are both set in the same universe. Two other books set in this universe, Not for Glory (1988) and Hero (1990), focus on family members of the Metzadan Mercenary Corps from the Jewish (and others) settled World of Metzada (Masada).
In recent years, Rosenberg has turned his hand to mysteries, publishing Home Front, the first of his "Sparky Hemingway" mysteries in 2003; the second, Family Matters, was published in early 2004. As of September 16, 2010, he is working on "Family Matters II", a nonfiction mystery, in collaboration with Walter Slovotsky.
Themes and influences
Rosenberg's novels frequently feature the theme of freedom (particularly in the Guardians of the Flame series, where the initial characters make it their life's goal to abolish slavery in their new world) and the right to keep and bear arms. Other themes include protecting children at all costs, and the message that people can overcome hardships and abuse suffered as children.
His heroes also frequently find inspiration in the heroic figures of the Greek classics and of American folklore and history.
Outside of science fiction, Rosenberg is best known as a handgun instructor, and the author of a manual for people wanting to get a handgun carry permit in Minnesota, Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Minnesota, and a similar book for Missouri, Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Missouri.