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Lewitt, S N

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1954-    ) US author; the initial N in her name stands for "Nothing"; she variously signs her works as given as the headword above, and as both Shariann Lewitt and Shariann N Lewitt; pseudonyms include Rick North and Gordon Kendall (see below). Lewitt began publishing work of genre interest with "St Joey the Action" in Perpetual Light (anth 1982) edited by Alan Ryan; after First and Final Rites (1984), a fantasy novel published as by Shariann Lewitt, she released the first of the military Space Operas with which she soon became identified: White Wing (1985) with Susan M Shwartz, writing together as Gordon Kendall. Angel at Apogee (1987), one of her tightest tales, features a complicated (at times congested) Planetary-Romance plot in which much straightforward combat co-exists, at times uneasily, with the author's punk sensibility; it tells the story of a female pilot who must come to terms with the two submerged Alien races which revolt against her father's hegemony over the planet in question.

Other novels which similarly stretch the conventions of Military SF include the two Cyberstealth tales – Cyberstealth (1989) and Dancing Vac (1991) – and Blind Justice (1991). Her Ties in the U S S A Shared-World enterprise, U S S A Book 2 (1987) and U S S A Book 4 (1987), in which teenagers oppose dictators in a lurid Near-Future environment, are of less interest. But Cybernetic Jungle (1992), set in a Near-Future Cyberpunk Brazil, is a complex (although perhaps not entirely original) tale that interestingly prefigures later assaults on this rich venue such as Ian McDonald's ambitious and complex Brasyl (2007). Songs of Chaos (1993) provides something of the same mix, though this tale of a "normal" human caught in a population whose members have become essentially identical through Genetic Engineering moves eventually into interstellar space. Her most recent three novels, all as Shariann Lewitt, oppose individuals and small groups against worlds whose governance reaches Dystopian intensity: Memento Mori (1995) is set in a world run by an AI hugely inimical to human variety and creativity; Interface Masque (1997), set in a Near Future Venice, rehearses in terms of high-action intrigue some of the same human issues; and in Rebel Sutra (2000) a Genetically Engineered elite suffocates another colony planet. Though sometimes drowned in manoeuvres of plot and setting, Lewitt's work has continued to surprise readers with the depths she capably plumbs. [JC]

Shariann "N" Lewitt

born New York: 29 September 1954





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