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Kelso, Sylvia

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic.

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(1946-    ) Writer, critic, editor and academic based in North Queensland, Australia. She obtained an MA in creative writing from the University of Western Australia with an alternate history novel set in North Queensland and a PhD from James Cook University, where she examined feminism/s' interaction with SF and the Gothic. She is an adjunct lecturer of English at James Cook University, where she has taught English and creative writing, a consulting member of the editorial board for the journal Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres and an editorial board member for Femspec.

Kelso's first novel was Everran's Bane (2005), which together with The Moving Water (2007) and The Red Country (2008) forms the fantasy trilogy known as The Rihannar Chronicles. Kelso followed this with another fantasy trilogy, the Amberlight series, comprising Amberlight (2008), Riversend (2009) and Source (2010). The Moving Water was a finalist for the 2007 Aurealis Awards, while Amberlight was a 2008 finalist for the same award. The Solitaire Ghost (2011) and The Time Seam (2011) are two parts of a duology that forms the narrative Blackstone Gold, Kelso's first contemporary fantasy. This work exemplifies her interest in the Australian landscape, which influences the presentation of space in much of her work. Her first published short story, "Slick" (1994) that appeared in the journal Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature. She has written three other sf short stories, "The Cretaceous Border" (in Neverlands and Otherwheres, anth 2008, ed Garton Adicus Ryan and Brian Worley), "The Sharp Shooter" (in New Ceres Nights, anth 2009, ed Alisa Krasnostein and Tehani Wessely) and "An Offer You Couldn't Refuse", written in collaboration with Lillian Stewart Carl (in Love and Rockets, anth 2010, ed Martin Harry Greenberg and Kerrie L Hughes).

Kelso's sf critical interest is primarily focused on Feminist sf. She has written on the work of Lois McMaster Bujold in such essays as "Loud Achievements: Lois McMaster Bujold's Science Fiction", published in two parts in the New York Review of Science Fiction (October and November 1998) and collected in her monograph Three Observations and a Dialogue: Round and About SF (2009). She has also written on the work of Sheri S Tepper for the Babel Handbooks on Fantasy and SF Writers series titled A Glance From Nowhere: Sherri S. Tepper's Fantasy and SF (1997 chap), and has edited a volume of Paradoxa dedicated to the work of Ursula K Le Guin (2008). Other articles of note include "'Across Never': Postmodern Theory and Narrative Praxis in Samuel R Delany's Neveryon Cycle" (July 2000 Science Fiction Studies), "Loces Genii: Urban Settings in the Fantasy of Peter Beagle, Martha Wells and Barbara Hambly" (2002 Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 13.1) and "The God in the Pentagram: Religion and Spirituality in Modern Fantasy" (2008 Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 18.1), a survey of treatments of Religion in sf. [CPa]

Sylvia Kelso

born Townsville, North Queensland: 1946



The Rihannar Chronicles

  • Everran's Bane (Waterville, Maine: Five Star, 2005) [The Rihannar Chronicles: hb/Alan M Clark]
  • The Moving Water (Waterville, Maine: Five Star, 2007) [The Rihannar Chronicles: hb/]
  • The Red Country (Waterville, Maine: Five Star, 2008) [The Rihannar Chronicles: hb/Tim Lance]


  • Amberlight (Rockville, Maryland: Juno, 2008) [Amberlight: hb/Tim Lance]
  • Riversend (Rockville, Maryland: Juno, 2009) [Amberlight: pb/Tim Lance]
  • Source (Grimes, Iowa: Jupiter Gardens Press, 2010) [Amberlight: pb/Caroline Husher]

Blackstone Gold

individual titles

  • Spring in Geneva (Seattle, Washington: Aqueduct Press, 2013) [chap: in the publisher's Conversation Pieces series: pb/]



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