(1957- ) US author, married to Steven Gould, who began publishing sf with the first of the Omni Odysseys sequence for younger readers, Omni: Astropilots (1987; vt Astro Pilots 1987); other titles were from other hands. Her first adult novel, Glass Houses (December-mid-December 1991 Analog; 1992), is a Cyberpunk-influenced tale set in New York City, told in a style one might describe as East Coast noir. The female protagonist, grittily characterized, is tough, believable, humanly vulnerable. The plot, which involves at least one McGuffin, brings in the usual cyberpunk suspects: corporations; henchmen; crazed entrepreneurs; Virtual Reality surfers. It was a remarkable debut, and laid out the territory Mixon would traverse again and again, even in Greenwar (1997) with Stephen Gould, a Near Future ecothriller set at a point when the oceans have risen dangerously as a consequence of Climate Change; it was notable in this book that the authors' cogently argued conclusions about the global environmental crisis were articulated through a plot – evil ecoterrorists threaten a low-cost energy scheme because it is funded by an axiomatically evil corporation – that melodramatizes the issues.
Over-complicated, action-dominated plotting arguably weakens, as well, Mixon's main accomplishment to date, the Proxies sequence comprising Proxies (1998) and Burning the Ice (2002), set in a Near Future whose Cyberpunk surface is complexified by such a density of information that the world seems, at points, indecipherable. This intuition as to the ultimate unavailability of information as far as humans are concerned (see Singularity) is sidestepped through adventure plotting which involves the theft of an interstellar Spaceship in order to protect specially-bred "bubble" children (see Genetic Engineering) who are restricted to a Prison-like Keep from which they operate, by an instantaneous Communication system, advanced proxies – full-body Waldos capable of being upgraded into Mecha – on behalf of the owners of the world: a cabal of politicians and corporate entities that in some aspects prefigures the world of David Marusek. Burning the Ice escapes some of the conflicting intricacies of the first volume, through its setting many years hence on an ice world where descendants of the previous cast create a Clone culture not dissimilar in affect to the proxy culture of the previous volume. Further work from Mixon, now that the world she envisioned in the 1990s is markedly aborning, will be welcome. She received the Hugo award as best fan writer in 2015. [JC]
see also: Interactive Narrative.
Laura J Mixon
born Rowell, New Mexico: 8 December 1957
- Omni: Astropilots (New York: Scholastic/Omni, 1987) [contributed to the Omni Odysseys sequence, each volume by a different author: pb/Jeffrey Lindberg]
- Astro Pilots (London: Dragon, 1987) [vt of the above: contributed to the Omni Odysseys sequence, each volume by a different author: pb/]
- Glass Houses (New York: Tor, 1992) [pb/Tom Canty]
- Greenwar (New York: Forge, 1997) with Stephen Gould [hb/Peter Bollinger]
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