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Bull, Emma

Entry updated 20 February 2023. Tagged: Author, Editor.

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(1954-    ) US author and editor, married to author and editor Will Shetterly; she began as an author of fantasies, her first being "Rending Dark" (in Sword and Sorceress, anth 1984, ed Marion Zimmer Bradley), and her best known perhaps being her first novel, War for the Oaks (1987): this won a Locus Award as best debut novel. Her second novel, Falcon (1989), is a remarkably well-constructed sf tale whose protagonist moves from the Planetary-Romance setting of the first half of the book into the hi-tech Space-Opera environment that dominates the second, where he has become an ace Starship pilot; eventually everything fits together in an extremely well-ordered climax. The subtitle of her third novel, Bone Dance: A Fantasy for Technophiles (1991), neatly demonstrates the difficulty – it was not uncommon for writers of the 1980s to wrestle with the problem – of generic placement, though this particular book, which depicts a Post-Holocaust search for an ancient Weapon in Minneapolis, is sufficiently sf-like not to distress taxonomists. Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands (1994) is, however, a Fantasy novel tied to the Borderlands world; The Princess and the Lord of Night (1994) is a pictorial fantasy for children. On the other hand, Territory (2007), injects a range of phenomena out of the Fantasy toolkit into a Western set in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881: Wyatt Earp, it turns out, is a sorcerer.

With Shetterly, Bull published a collection of stories (one collaborative), Double Feature (coll 1994), and edited the Liavek sequence of Shared-World fantasy anthologies, beginning with Liavek (anth 1985) and closing with Grand Festival (anth 1990). Freedom and Necessity (1997) with Steven Brust is a political adventure, with echoes of Alexandre Dumas and intimations of fantasy, set in mid-nineteenth-century Britain as the Chartist Movement began to exercise a real-life influence. [JC]

see also: Faster Than Light; Philip K Dick Award.

Emma Bull

born Torrance, California: 13 December 1954


works as editor


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