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Friesner, Esther M

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of US author Esther Mona Friesner-Stutzman (1951-    ), who began publishing stories of genre interest with "The Stuff of Heroes" in Asimov's for September 1982, and who has remained prolific in shorter forms, with around 200 stories by the end of 2012; "Death and the Librarian" (December 1994 Asimov's) and "A Birthday" (August 1995 F&SF) both won Nebulas for best short story. Almost all of her work is fantasy or Supernatural Fiction, much of it incorporated into series, like The Chronicles of the Twelve Kingdoms beginning with Mustapha and His Wise Dog (1985), the Demons series beginning with Here Be Demons (1988) and (among others) the Princesses of Myth series beginning with Nobody's Princess (2007).

Closer to sf modes are the geographically linked New York novels comprising New York by Knight (1986), Elf Defense (1988) and Sphynxes Wild (1989), which utilizes New York as an effective backdrop for otherwise unconnected stories in which creatures of Faerie intersect clashingly with our world, though rarely with sufficient intensity to generate a sense of full-scale Urban Fantasy [for this term, for Faerie and Supernatural Fiction above, and for Gaslight Romance and Thinning below, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. She is of more direct (but not significant) sf interest for two Ties to the Star Trek universe: Warchild (1994), which is connected to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; and To Storm Heaven (1997) connected to Star Trek: The Next Generation. The more ambitious Psalms of Herod sequence comprising The Psalms of Herod (1995) and The Sword of Mary (1996) is set in a profoundly polluted Ruined Earth version of America, where women have become chattels, their Pandemic-afflicted fertility seen as a marker of sin by the ruling fundamentalist Christians (see Feminism; Religion; Women in SF). The plucky young protagonist escapes this rural hell, only to find that in the City of her dreams it is hard to find a decent man, though a possible cure for the Sex plague may dissolve unjust patriarchy.

Of her singletons, Druid's Blood (1988) is a Gaslight Romance set in an Alternate-World Victorian England, with Recursive references galore, and a plot centring on investigations by analogues of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Yesterday We Saw Mermaids (1991) is a tale of Thinning set in 1492; a ship – separate from those under Columbus, and full of figures from the backstory of Western civilization – travels west, finds Prester John, and witnesses the departure of the magic folk from our ken. The Sherwood Game (1995), on the other hand, is genuine sf, an early exercise in Virtual Reality: the eponymous programmer creates a Computer Role Playing Game which becomes sentient and invades the real world, to the eventual profit of all concerned. [JC]

see also: Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine; Skylark Award.

Esther Mona Friesner-Stutzman

born New York: 16 July 1951



Chronicles of the Twelve Kingdoms

New York

These geographically connected novels listed together for convenience.

  • New York by Knight (New York: New American Library/Signet Books, 1986) [New York: pb/]
  • Elf Defense (New York: New American Library/Signet Books, 1988) [New York: pb/]
  • Sphynxes Wild (New York: New American Library/Signet Books, 1989) [New York: pb/]




Star Trek

  • Warchild (New York: Pocket Books, 1994) [tie to the Star Trek universe: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: pb/Keith Birdsong]
  • To Storm Heaven (New York: Pocket Books, 1997) [tie to the Star Trek universe: Star Trek: The Next Generation: pb/Sonia R Hillios]

Psalms of Herod

  • The Psalms of Herod (Clarkson, Georgia: White Wolf Publishing/Borealis, 1995) [Psalms of Herod: pb/Michelle Prahler]
  • The Sword of Mary (Clarkson, Georgia: White Wolf Publishing/Borealis, 1996) [Psalms of Herod: pb/Michelle Prahler]

Princesses of Myth

individual titles

collections and stories

works as editor


Chicks in Chainmail

Supernatural Suburbs

individual titles

about the author


previous versions of this entry

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