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Moon, Elizabeth

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1945-    ) US author who began to publish work of genre interest with "ABCs in Zero-G" in Analog for August 1986, a polished high-tech tale assembled, with other sf and Fantasy, in Lunar Activity (coll 1990) – the title is a play on Moon's name rather than an accurate description of the book's contents. For the first decade of her career she primarily wrote military fantasy, most significantly the Paksennarion multi-part sequence beginning with the Deed of Paksennarion subset comprising The Deed of Paksennarion #1: Sheepfarmer's Daughter (1988), The Deed of Paksennarion #2: Divided Allegiance (1988) and The Deed of Paksennarion #3: Oath of Gold (1989), all assembled as The Deed of Paksennarion (all texts rev, omni 1992); for further volumes, see Checklist.

After this very promising beginning, the multi-part Familias Regnant Military SF sequence, containing Moon's first published sf novels writing solo, was perhaps a little disappointing, though still entertaining. The trilogy begins with Hunting Party (1993), which stars a female soldier who must recoup her reputation after she has been forced to resign in disgrace, and continues with Sporting Chance (1994) and Winning Colors (1995), all three assembled as The Serrano Legacy (omni 1996). Earlier in the 1990s, Moon had collaborated with Anne McCaffrey on the first and third of the Planet Pirates sequence, their shared volumes being Sassinak (1990), #1 in the series, and Generation Warriors (1992), #3 (McCaffrey wrote #2, The Death of Sleep [1990], with Jody Lynn Nye). This focuses on a child from a planetary mining colony captured by pirates, who grows up to become the implacable pirate-hunting Commander Sassinak of the Fleet of the Federated Sentient Planets. The series has its weaknesses, but is most notable for McCaffrey's inventive aliens and Moon's firm feminist interpretation of space academy training and the details of military life. The standalone Remnant Population (1996) is First Contact tale whose protagonist, an elderly woman (see Women in SF), must deal with her inadequate fellow humans as she establishes relations with an Alien species smarter and more youthful-minded than Homo sapiens. With the exception of this last title, Moon's novel-length sf books to this point are not noticeably more gripping and competent than, and perhaps less surprising than, even the least ambitious of the military fantasies in the first five Paksennarion books.

Her publication of Speed of Dark (2002; vt The Speed of Dark 2003), which won a Nebula award, was therefore unexpected. It is the highly charged Near Future tale, told in the first person, of an autistic young man employed, with other autistic men and women, in a high-tech firm that, at least initially, values them for their autism-derived skills at pattern recognition (see Psychology). Unfortunately, a senior executive of the firm attempts to impose a coercive cure on his autistic employees, leading to a moderately complex interrogation of the moral issues involved (Moon allows comparisons here to mind-altering techniques that are applied to criminals in this world, which is only heartbeats ahead of our own), though the book has been criticized as offering a simplistic presentation of the inner nature of humans so estranged from "normal" intersubjectivity. (The seemingly surreal psychic austerity – like chthonics gazing past the viewer out of an M C Escher painting – of the Antinomials in Paul Park's Soldiers of Paradise [1987] arguably constitute a more ambitious portrait of the alien within the human frame as illuminated by the tools of Fantastika.) But Moon's novel comprises a fierce advocacy of the argument that as participants in that human frame, autistics are more different than they are "improper"; this passion is rooted in real-life experience, since in 1983 Moon and her husband adopted a son who proved to be autistic. Speed of Dark is an important text within the sf canon. [JC]

see also: Ansible; Robert A Heinlein Award.

Susan Elizabeth Norris Moon

born McAllen, Texas: 7 March 1945




Paksennarion: Deed of Paksennarion

Paksennarion: Legacy of Gird

Paksennarion: Paladin's Legacy

  • Oath of Fealty (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2010) [Paksennarion: Paladin's Legacy: hb/Paul Youll]
  • Kings of the North (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2011) [Paksennarion: Paladin's Legacy: hb/Paul Youll]
  • Echoes of Betrayal (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2012) [Paksennarion: Paladin's Legacy: hb/Paul Youll]
  • Limits of Power (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2013) [Paksennarion: Paladin's Legacy: hb/Paul Youll]
  • Crown of Renewal (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2014) [Paksennarion: Paladin's Legacy: hb/Paul Youll]

Planet Pirates

Familias Regnant

Familias Regnant: Heris Serrano

  • Hunting Party (New York: Baen Books, 1993) [Familias Regnant: Heris Serrano: pb/Stephen Hickman]
  • Sporting Chance (New York: Baen Books, 1994) [Familias Regnant: Heris Serrano: pb/Gary Ruddell]
  • Winning Colors (New York: Baen Books, 1995) [Familias Regnant: Heris Serrano: pb/David Mattingly]
    • Heris Serrano (New York: Baen Books, 2002) [omni of the above three: Familias Regnant: Esmay Suiza: hb/Gary Ruddell]
      • The Serrano Legacy (New York: Baen Books, 2006) [vt of the above three: Familias Regnant: Heris Serrano: pb/Benedict Campbell]

Familias Regnant: Esmay Suiza

Familias Regnant: Suiza and Serrano

Vatta's War

  • Trading in Danger (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2003) [Vatta's War: hb/Dave Seeley]
  • Marque and Reprisal (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2004) [Vatta's War: hb/Dave Seeley]
  • Engaging the Enemy (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2006) [Vatta's War: hb/Dave Seeley]
  • Command Decision (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2007) [Vatta's War: hb/Dave Seeley]
  • Victory Conditions (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2008) [Vatta's War: hb/Dave Seeley]

Vatta's Peace

  • Cold Welcome (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2017) [Vatta's Peace: hb/Michael Bryan]
  • Into the Fire (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 2018) [Vatta's Peace: hb/Michael Bryan]

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