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Hurley, Kameron

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1980-    ) US author who began publishing work of genre interest with "Holding Onto Ghosts" in Talebones for Summer 2003, and who has gained considerable attention for her Bel Dame Apocrypha sequence comprising God's War (2011), Infidel (2011) and Rapture (2012), set on a planet colonized (see Colonization of Other Worlds) by Muslims, a world whose complexly evolved insects, controlled by "magicians" through their command of pheromones, are used by Homo sapiens to motor and maintain their Technology, all while an internecine War of Religion over doctrinal differences continues to keep the surface of Umayma radioactive and deadly. One of the lands at war has become a matriarchy (see Gender; Women in SF) after its males had been sent into conflict; it is from here the Bel Dames, female government assassins, operate. The narrative – involving missions, counter-missions, betrayal, torture, Sex – seems mainly useful, in the first volume, to give Nyx, the noirish bisexual "kick-ass" Bel Dame protagonist, room to convey through her adventures an in media res portrait of the extremely complex world Hurley has built. Military SF elements intensify in the second volume, with confrontations between Nyx and traitor Bel Dame assassins taking centre stage, and (as commonly the case) the fate of the planet at stake. In volume three, Nyx returns from retirement to participate in a complex clearing of the slate. En passant, some very acute dramatic renderings of gender and sex issues, and a savage presentation of terminal Ecological collapse, give fibre to the action; and make it possible to understand the culture of Umayma as being not simply dystopian but in fact the kind of state that might formally be described as a Dystopia. Her second series, the Worldbreaker Saga beginning with The Mirror Empire (2014) Equipoisally jostles sf and fantasy topoi in its description of planetary systems that seem to mirror one another, and what has the appearance of interstellar travel via Wormhole; but Magic increasingly drives the narrative engines, to date. In The Light Brigade (2019), which may remain a singleton, a mercenary soldier in distant Near Future Earth, who may be a member of an obscure Pariah Elite, is sent via Matter Transmission to Mars, where trouble is brewing.

Hurley's essay "We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative" (20 May 2013 A Dribble of Ink) received a Hugo Award as best related work and she herself won the 2014 Hugo as best fan writer; her collection The Geek Feminist Revolution: Essays (coll 2016) won a Locus Award for nonfiction. [JC]

see also: Kitschies.

Kameron M Hurley

born Battle Ground, Washington: 12 January 1980



Bel Dame Apocrypha

  • God's War (San Francisco, California: Night Shade Books, 2011) [Bel Dame Apocrypha: pb/David Palumbo]
  • Infidel (San Francisco, California: Night Shade Books, 2011) [Bel Dame Apocrypha: pb/David Palumbo]
  • Rapture (San Francisco, California: Night Shade Books, 2012) [Bel Dame Apocrypha: pb/David Palumbo]
  • Apocalypse Nyx (San Francisco, California: Tachyon, 2018) [coll: Bel Dame Apocrypha: pb/Wadim Kashin]

Worldbreaker Saga

individual titles



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