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Kiernan, Caitlín R

Entry updated 9 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1964-    ) Irish-born Comics writer and author, in the US from childhood, who began publishing work of genre interest with "Persephone" for Aberrations in 1995, and the script for a Neil Gaiman spin-off, The Dreaming (1997-2001). Most of her work has been variously designated as dark fantasy or cosmic horror, but intermittently throughout her prolific career there is a sense that – certainly in her latter-day sophistications of H P Lovecraft's cosmic horror (see Horror in SF) – she has written work as urgently and complexly Equipoisal as some of the darker tales of Stephen King or Peter Straub; the direct influence of Neil Gaiman is also clearly detectable. Hints of this accountability to argument flicker into view throughout the Threshold/Dancy Flammarion sequence, beginning with Threshold: A Novel of Deep Time (2001) and including Daughter of Hounds (2006); the later volume The Drowning Girl (2012) won the James Tiptree Jr Award. The heavily applied "darkness" of the sequence may seem anomalous to some sf readers, but in fact the initiating premise – that in something like a Time Abyss Underground beneath Alabama something like an Alien with no good will for human mayflies has its abode – is unpacked in sf terms, when Kiernan wishes to. Multifacetedly, subsequent volumes of the sequence explore various genre habitats, convincingly. "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" (in Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy, anth 2011, ed Ellen Datlow), which is set in an Alternate World Steampunk Denver (here called Cherry Creek), also invokes Time Abyss, as a live manifestation of Gaia is discovered deep in a mine shaft; having conveyed her warning message about the suicidal arrogance of Homo sapiens, she turns to coal dust, but lives on.

Also sf is The Dry Salvages (2004), narrated in a psychically frozen twenty-fourth century Paris by a woman who relives experiences from decades earlier when – within a Space Opera frame – she was part of a crew plumbing ancient mysteries parsecs distant. The stories assembled in A for Alien (coll 2009) are also sf. [JC]

Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan

born near Dublin, Ireland: 26 May 1964

works (selected)


Threshold/Dancy Flammarion

  • Threshold: A Novel of Deep Time (New York: Penguin/Roc, 2001) [Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: pb/Ray Lundgren]
    • Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold (Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 2003) [coll: chap: contains material deleted from above, plus essays and commentary: Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: pb/Richard Kirk]
  • In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 2002) [chap: Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: hb/Dame Darcy]
  • Low Red Moon (New York: Penguin/Roc, 2003) [Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: pb/]
  • Alabaster (Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 2006) [coll: Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: pb/Ted Naifeh]
    • Alabaster: Pale Horse (New York: Dark Horse Books, 2014) [coll: exp vt of the above: one story added: Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: pb/]
  • Daughter of Hounds (New York: Penguin/Roc, 2007) [Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: pb/Cliff Nielsen]
  • The Drowning Girl (New York: Penguin/Roc, 2012) [Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: pb/Aleta Rafton]
  • Comes a Pale Rider (Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 2020) [coll: Threshold/Dancy Flammarion: hb/]

Siobhan Quinn

  • Blood Oranges (New York: Roc/New American Library, 2013) [Siobhan Quinn: pb/Patrick Kang]
  • Red Delicious (New York: Roc/New American Library, 2014) [Siobhan Quinn: pb/]
  • Cherry Bomb (New York: Roc/New American Library, 2015) [Siobhan Quinn: pb/]

individual titles

collections and stories



The Best of Caitlín R Kiernan

individual titles


previous versions of this entry

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