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Gladstone, Max

Entry updated 8 April 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1984-    ) US author who began to publish work of genre interest with "On Starlit Seas" in The Book of Exodi (anth 2009) edited by Michael K Eidson; he is best known for The Craft Sequence beginning with Three Parts Dead (2012), which submits the City at its heart [for Urban Fantasy see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] to a series of Equipoisal jolts, with what one might call urban planning conducted through an interweaving of Magic and Technology. Although the basic template of the series must be deemed fantasy, the gaps and thrusts of the complex ongoing tale, in which various Gods and Demons vie for dominance over thriving the industrial megalopolis of Dresediel Lex, clearly embody an inventive use of the varying registers available in early twenty-first Fantastika. The Bookburners serial, which he created and to which he has contributed several episodes, is fantasy, and features books animated by entities within them.

Gladstone's first sf of any scope, Empress of Forever (2019), signals a baroque Space Opera ambitiousness, which it lives up to with considerable sophistication, in prose whose sleek panoramic set-pieces occasionally evoke the work of Alfred Bester in his prime. The protagonist, a contemporary billionaire entrepreneur, is pulled suddenly into the Far Future (see Time Travel), where she comes into conflict with the eponymous empress who rules the galaxy on totalitarian lines, and into a more ambivalent jousting with a rather dark-angel-like female rebel. Much happens, at times with more than due attentiveness to Videogame-like action rules, but in the end with an underlying fly gravitas. The novella-length This Is How You Lose the Time War (2019) with Amal El-Mohtar tells of an epistolary love affair between Posthuman women on opposite sides of a Changewar; this won a BSFA Award as best shorter fiction and a Nebula, Locus Award and Hugo as best novella. Last Exit (2022) contains sf elements, but the Alternate Worlds here evoked are fantasy venues. [JC]

Max Walker Gladstone

born Concord, Massachusetts: 28 May 1984



The Craft Sequence

The Craft Sequence/Craft Wars Trilogy

  • Dead Country (New York: Tordotcom, 2023) [Craft Sequence/Craft Wars Trilogy: pb/Goni Montes]
  • Wicked Problems (New York:, 2024) [Craft Sequence/Craft Wars Trilogy: pb/]


The Witch Who Came in from the Cold

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