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Miesel, Sandra

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic, Fan.

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(1941-    ) US critic and author, with degrees in chemistry and medieval history. Her involvement in sf was initially as a fan; from 1967 on she published at least seventy-five pieces in Fanzines. As a critic she became active in the 1970s, her first book being Myth, Symbol, and Religion in The Lord of the Rings (1973 chap) on J R R Tolkien. Her next book, Against Time's Arrow: The High Crusade of Poul Anderson (1979 chap), was her first significant assessment of either Poul Anderson or Gordon R Dickson, the two figures to whom she has devoted most attention, and of whose work and philosophies she became a noted advocate. This advocacy, especially perhaps in the case of Dickson's Dorsai sequence, has perhaps assumed too readily that the claims for thematic import made for it by its author have been fully realized in the texts as read. Sometimes uncredited, she selected stories in the mid-1980s for several collections assembling short work by these writers, usually from early in their careers: Anderson's Dialogue with Darkness (coll 1985) uncredited and Dickson's Survival! (coll 1984) uncredited, Forward! (coll 1985), Invaders! (coll 1985), The Man the Worlds Rejected (coll 1986), The Last Dream (coll 1986) uncredited, and Mindspan (coll 1986). With David A Drake she edited A Separate Star: A Science Fiction Tribute to Rudyard Kipling (anth 1989) and Heads to the Storm: A Tribute to Rudyard Kipling (anth 1989), two anthologies combining work by Rudyard Kipling with tributes to him, both in essay and story form, by various writers.

As an author of fiction, Miesel has concentrated mainly on fantasy. Dreamrider (1982; rev vt Shaman 1989), however, mixes genres with some competence, carrying its female protagonist from a Near-Future Earth to a Parallel World in which mental control (see Psi Powers) over subatomic processes is exercised by shamans; the protagonist soon becomes one. Beginning in the early 1980s with numerous articles for Roman Catholic journals, she has focused her interest in the fantastic upon texts which seem to her disputatious; The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in the Da Vinci Code (2004) with Carl E Olson and The Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy (2007) with Pete Vere, the analysis of Philip Pullman in the latter book extending from an analysis of his avowed atheism to accusations of sensualism. [JC]

Sandra Louise Miesel

born New Orleans, Louisiana: 25 November 1941


  • Dreamrider (New York: Ace Books, 1982) [pb/Steven Hickman]
    • Shaman (New York: Baen Books, 1989) [rev vt of the above: pb/Dennis Beauvais]


works as editor

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