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Kirstein, Rosemary

Entry updated 30 November 2020. Tagged: Author.

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(1953-    ) US author who began to publish work of genre interest with "Salvage" with Sabine Kirstein for Aboriginal Science Fiction, 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 and dragons – 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 are regarded in terms of Magic and spells (see Science Fantasy), and controlled by secretive wizards who are Scientists of a kind. Mysterious quest-object jewels are in fact fragments of a destroyed geostationary satellite (whose three companions remain aloft as "guidestars"), while toxic plants are not cursed but products of Alien Biology. The heroine Rowan is a steerswoman – sailor, map-maker and travelling scholar – who effectively applies scientific reasoning to the mysteries that emerge, 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]

Rosemary Kirstein

born Leominster, Massachusetts: 1953





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