Roberta Ann MacAvoy (born December 13, 1949) is an American SF writer.
Her novels include:
- Tea with the Black Dragon (1983): Martha Macnamara arrives in San Francisco to visit her computer programmer daughter Elizabeth, only to find that Elizabeth has disappeared. She investigates, with the assistance of her new friend Mayland Long, an enigmatic Chinese gentleman who has made his home in the hotel where she's staying. Then Martha disappears too...
- Has a sequel, Twisting the Rope (1986).
- Damiano (1983), Damiano's Lute (1983), and Raphael (1984): A trio of historical fantasies with a Renaissance Italy setting.
- The Book of Kells (1985): A modern artist is mysteriously transported to 10th-century Ireland.
- The Grey Horse (1987): When Henry Raftery, horse-trainer of Connemara, brings home a grey stallion he met wandering the hills, he finds he has let himself in for much that he did not expect.
R. A. MacAvoy's works with their own pages include:
Other works provide examples of:
- Antagonistic Offspring: In The Grey Horse, Anraí has an antagonistic relationship with his son Seosamh, who is a wastrel with a gambling problem. In the course of the novel, Seosamh, facing imminent consequences from his pile of gambling debts, pins his hopes on inheriting Anraí's property; he doesn't have it in him to murder his father outright, but deliberately provokes him to worsen his already poor health, and even tries to have him arrested on a false charge of being part of a nationalist conspiracy.
- Burn Baby Burn: In The Grey Horse, after a government agent sent to investigate the villagers for nationalist sedition goes missing, the local landowner who had been hosting him discovers his hidden notes outlining the evidence against two suspected ringleaders. One is an accusation against Anraí, which he knows is a Malicious Slander, and the other is, he (correctly) suspects, proof of genuine seditious activity. After some reflection, he burns both.
- Chocolate Baby: In The Grey Horse, Mary Stanton is the result of an affair her mother had, which is obvious to everyone because she's tall and dark in striking contrast to her small, fair father and (half-)sister.
- Distant Finale: The final chapter of The Grey Horse depicts an outsider visiting the village sixty years after the rest of the story, showing how times have changed and what became of the main characters.
- Emergent Human: The title character in Raphael.
- Eyes Are Mental: In The Grey Horse, Ruairí still has horse-like eyes when he shifts into the form of a man, with large irises filling the visible part of the eye. His irises are dark enough that the pupil isn't clearly disguishable, which may be why nobody comments on the shape of his pupils.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: The protagonist of The Book of Kells.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Mary and Eileen Stanton in The Grey Horse. Eileen is pretty, attractive, popular but not especially bright; Mary is an intellectual with political leanings, not so attractive by conventional standard, and not popular. They spend most of the book quarelling, and when Ruairí starts courting Mary, Eileen attempts (with a complete lack of success) to poach him, but when Eileen gets into real trouble at the end of the book Mary instantly has her back.
- Historical Fantasy: Damiano and its sequels.
- Humanity Ensues: In Raphael, the eponymous angel is forced to live on Earth as a human.
- Never Gets Drunk: In The Grey Horse, Ruairí is completely unaffected by alcohol. Anraí asks if this is because he's one of the Fair Folk, and he says that really it's because he has the constitution of a horse even when he's in human form. Some of the other men of the village, not knowing his heritage, take him as a challenge and regularly invite him out to the pub in the hope that if they keep buying him drinks he'll eventually start showing some effect.
- Our Fairies Are Different: The Grey Horse takes its cue from Irish legends. The main character, Ruairí, is a púca who can take the form of a horse or a man.
- Shapeshifter Baggage: Discussed in The Grey Horse. After learning that Ruairí is a púca, Father Ó Murchú wonders where his clothes come from when he turns from a horse into a man. Ruairí explains that as part of the magic, whatever clothes he puts on when he's in human form disappear when he changes and come back when he resumes human form again. He acquired his current suit over thirty years earlier, but it's still in excellent condition because in that time it's only actively existed for less than a year.
- Shout-Out: Anne McCaffrey's house has a cameo appearance in The Book of Kells.
- Take a Third Option: In The Grey Horse, Seosamh's plans for disposing of his father's property are based on the assumption that the property will be left either to him directly, as his father's only son, or to his mother, who he's always been able to talk into doing what he wants. After his father's death, he learns that his father found a third option that cuts Seosamh out entirely: leaving the property jointly to the hands who helped run the property, on condition that they made sure his widow was cared for.
- Translation Convention: In The Grey Horse, set in Ireland, the characters are usually speaking Gaelic rather than English; all the dialogue is presented in English, with the narrator noting which language is being spoken and, where appropriate, how badly.
- Translator Microbes: In The Grey Horse, Ruairí can magically understand and speak any language as long as he has his feet on the ground (paved roads and houses with proper floors don't count as on the ground).
- Two-Part Trilogy: The Italian fantasy trilogy is the rarer inverted version, with a two-volume story followed by a one-volume sequel.