Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Author.
(1954- ) US author who began to publish work of genre interest with Time Gypsy (in Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction, anth 1998, edited by Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel; 2003 chap), a Time Travel tale, though most of her subsequent work has gained recognition as innovative fantasy: "Basement Magic" (May 2003 F&SF) won a Nebula for best novelette; and Wakulla Springs (2 October 2013 Tor.com; 2013 ebook) with Andy Duncan won a World Fantasy Award for best novella. Much her short work – which has been described under enough rubrics (including sf) that the umbrella term Fantastika may seem particularly apt here – was assembled as Portable Childhoods (coll 2007); Wicked Wonders (coll 2017), though its title evokes evocations of feeling very young reminiscent of the early Ray Bradbury, includes some unmistakable sf, the best known of these being the moving Generation Starship tale "Amicae Aeternum" (in Reach for Infinity, anth 2014, ed Jonathan Strahan).
Though Klages only occasionally writes straightforward sf, the Young Adult Green Glass Sea sequence, comprising The Green Glass Sea (2006) and White Sands, Red Menace (2008), compelling makes an historical narrative makes World War Two and its aftermath sound like sf. The first volume is set in Los Alamos in 1943 and later, as the theory (see Nuclear Energy) that suggested the possibility of creating an atomic bomb insidiously became a practical programme; in White Sands, Red Menace, the action moves to 1946 Alamagordo, where the young protagonists of the tale must attempt to come to terms with a changed planet, with the threat of World War Three and the End of the World suddenly shifting from some abstract future into the present tense. Not incidentally, the personal and ideological conflicts within the families depicted expose Feminist concerns (see also Women in SF).
Klages's early work at the San Francisco museum Exploratorium has inspired some nonfiction texts, including The Science Explorer: The Best Family Activities and Experiments from the World's Favorite Hands-On Science Museum (1996) with Pat Murphy and Linda Shore, and Exploratorium: A Year of Discoveries (1997). Very indirectly, it may also have inspired Passing Strange (2017), a paean to the city (see California), a love story between two women, and a tale of escape, as the women, perhaps by entering another Dimension, escape the oppressive Sex prejudices of 1940 San Francisco. [JC]
Ellen Janeway Klages
born Columbus, Ohio: 9 July 1954
Green Glass Sea
- The Green Glass Sea (New York: Viking, 2006) [Green Glass Sea: hb/Christian Fünfhausen]
- White Sands, Red Menace (New York: Viking, 2008) [Green Glass Sea: hb/Christian Fünfhausen]
collections and stories
- Time Gypsy (San Francisco, California: Tachyon Publications, 2003) [novelette: chap: first appeared in Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction (anth 1998) edited by Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel: pb/Emily Netterfield]
- Travel Agency (no place given: Fictionwise, 2003) [story: ebook: first appeared February 2002 Strange Horizons: na/]
- Portable Childhoods (San Francisco, California: Tachyon Publications, 2007) [coll: introduction by Neil Gaiman: pb/John D Berry and Ellen Klages]
- What Remains (Seattle, Washington: Aqueduct Press, 2009) with Geoff Ryman [coll: each author taking approximately half the volume: in the publisher's WisCon Guest of Honor Offerings series: pb/]
- In the House of the Seven Librarians (Seattle, Washington: Aqueduct Press, 2012) [novella: chap: first appeared in Firebirds Rising (anth 2006) edited by Sharyn November: pb/Anova Nunus]
- Wakulla Springs (New York: Tor, 2013) with Andy Duncan [novella: ebook: first appeared 2 October 2013 Tor.com: na/Gary Kelley]
- Wicked Wonders (San Francisco, California: Tachyon Publications, 2017) [coll: introduction by Karen Joy Fowler: pb/Elizabeth Story]
- Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters, Sacred Land (Middletown, Connecticut: Harbin Springs Publishing, 1991) [nonfiction: hb/]
- The Science Explorer: The Best Family Activities and Experiments from the World's Favorite Hands-On Science Museum (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996) with Pat Murphy and Linda Shore [nonfiction: hb/]
- Exploratorium: A Year of Discoveries (San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books, 1997) [nonfiction: hb/]
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