Saturday, July 4, 2009

M. A. R. Barker

Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barker (born November 3, 1930 as Philip Barker[1]) is a retired professor of Urdu and South Asian Studies who has written several fantasy novels under the pen name M. A. R. Barker. He still frequently signs himself as "Phil" in correspondence.



[edit] Early life and education

Born in Idaho he studied at University of Washington under Melville Jacobs. At the age of 21 he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study Indian languages. He attended the University of California, Berkeley for graduate studies and wrote a dissertation on Klamath language.

In 1951, on his first trip to India he converted to Islam "for purely theological reasons. It seemed like a more logical religion."[2]

Barker has studied languages including Urdu and Balochi and written many publications related to those languages.

Barker taught at McGill University, and from 1972 at the University of Minnesota, where he would eventually chair the Department of South Asian studies. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

[edit] Career as writer

In his youth, he created the world of Tékumel, a fantasy world based on ancient India, the Middle East, the Aztecs and Maya, and other non-European sources.

[edit] Roleplaying

Tékumel has spawned four professionally-published roleplaying games over the course of the years:

[edit] Novels

Barker has also written five novels set in the world of Tékumel: Man of Gold and Flamesong were published by Daw Books in the 1984 and 1985, respectively. In the 2000s, three more books were published by Zottola Publishing and are available on Amazon.Com: Prince of Skulls (2002), Lords of Tsámra (2003), and Death of Kings (2003). Unlike the Daw Books the Zottola Publishing Books are still in-print.

Due to a publishing irregularity, Lords of Tsámra comes before Prince of Skulls in chronological reading order.

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