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Hardinge, Frances

Entry updated 9 April 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1973-    ) UK author who after an early appearance in SFinx (May 1995) began to professionally publish work of genre interest with "Shining Man" in The Dream Zone for January 2001; her works are usually and correctly thought of as fantasy, and adhere closely to fantasy conventions as to landscape and history, though the daedal Underground culture described very fully in A Face Like Glass (2012) is hauntingly akin to sf novels set in similar Pocket Universes after some holocaust; the eventual discovery of the surface world here has all the poignance and thrill of the Conceptual Breakthrough central to much sf.

Even more tellingly, a more recent novel, Deeplight (2019), perhaps at some cost to the free flow of seemingly spontaneous invention in earlier tales, obdurately fixes all that happens to the underlying structure of the world of the tale, which is sufficiently coherent to engender a sense that an Alternate Cosmos is being described, certainly as far as the Physics governing the interior flow of ocean is concerned. The action is set in several diverse Islands in what seems to be a world-spanning Archipelago known as the Myriad long dominated by benthos-dwelling savage "gods", now seemingly dead after a revolt of the human population. But these "gods" seem more like a horde of invasive species – quite possibly Aliens from another planet – and closely resemble the invasive Monsters delineated at length in Paul McAuley's almost simultaneous War of the Maps (2020). In Unraveller (2022), Hardinge returns to her continuing central mode, with literalized curses [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], here taken very seriously, as the protagonist, who can unravel curses, finds intermixed complexities of corruption and governance in the bifurcated world of the tale; this book won a BSFA Award as best novel for younger readers. [JC]

see also: Children's SF; Eastercon.

Frances Hardinge

born Brighton, East Sussex: 1973



Fly by Night

  • Fly by Night (London: Macmillan Children's Books, 2005) [Fly by Night: hb/Atomic Squib]
  • Twilight Robbery (London: Macmillan, 2011) [Fly by Night: hb/Sam Hadley]
    • Fly Trap (New York: Harper, 2011) [vt of the above: Fly by Night: hb/Brett Helquist]

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