(1946-2008) US writer who began publishing sf with "Faith-of-the-Month Club" (1 February 1982 Analog), as by Anon., and who won a 1993 Hugo Best Novelette Award for "The Nutcracker Coup" (December 1992 Asimov's). Her first sf book was a Star Trek Tie, Uhura's Song (1985), reckoned to be one of the better novels attached to that enterprise. Her second novel, Hellspark (1988), carries some of the same digestible competence into an sf adventure whose heroine (attended by a sentient AI) must defend the inhabitants of a valuable planet from a predatory corporation, helped in her task by her very considerable competence in kinesics and Linguistics.
More interesting is the loosely linked Mama Jason sequence beginning with "The Loch Moose Monster" (March 1989 Asimov's) and assembled as Mirabile (coll of linked stories 1991). This builds up an engaging portrait of life on the eponymous planet, colonized by humans from a Generation Starship. Their imported Earth flora and fauna has had its DNA genetically engineered to maintain diversity by providing the new colony with all sorts of lifeforms not actually carried by the ship. Wheat, for example, may very occasionally sprout sunflowers, or daffodils cockroaches. However, the records (of what will potentially breed from what) have been lost, and the heroine and her friends must cope with a resulting variety of comic crises – including clashes with the complex native Ecology of Mirabile itself. [JC/DRL]
Janet Megson Kagan
born New Jersey: 18 April 1946
died New Jersey: 29 February 2008
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