Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.
(1953- ) US author who began to publish work of genre interest with "Salvage" with Sabine Kirstein in Aboriginal Science Fiction for March/April 1989. Her first novel followed in the same year: The Steerswoman (1989), opening the Steerswoman sequence which initially has a fantasy-quest flavour – with swords and other items of medieval Technology, wizards and even so-called demons, dragons and goblins – but proves to be set on a colony planet (see Colonization of Other Worlds) that has long lost contact with Earth. Such advanced devices as have been preserved or recreated are regarded in terms of Magic and spells (see Science Fantasy), and controlled by secretive wizards who are Scientists or at least understand the products of science; privately they call themselves the "Krue". Defensive wards and death spells make use of high voltage; explosive "charms" evidently contain gunpowder or the equivalent; the dragons appear to be programmable Robot Weapons. Mysterious quest-object jewels, flat and blue, are fragments of solar panels from a destroyed geostationary satellite (whose three companions remain aloft as "guidestars"); toxic plants are not cursed but products of Alien Biology; goblins are intermittently dangerous local animals, while the terrifying, acid-spraying demons are sentient and civilized Aliens whose sonic-radar Perception adds difficulty to human-demon Communication. The heroine Rowan is a steerswoman – one of a guild of ocean navigators, map-makers and travelling scholars – who effectively applies scientific reasoning to all these mysteries, while increasingly opposed by hostile wizards. Adroit play is made with the differences between Rowan's and the reader's understanding of her world; the writing is of unobtrusively good quality. Four volumes [see Checklist below] of the projected seven-book series have so far appeared; announced titles for #5 and #6 are «The Changes of the Dark» and «The City in the Crags». [DRL]
born Leominster, Massachusetts: 1953
- The Steerswoman (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 1989) [Steerswoman: pb/Richard Hescox]
- The Outskirter's Secret (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 1992) [Steerswoman: pb/Richard Hescox]
- The Lost Steersman (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2003) [Steerswoman: pb/Cliff Nielsen]
- The Language of Power (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2004) [Steerswoman: pb/Cliff Nielsen]
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