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Rosenblum, Mary

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1952-2018) US medical researcher and author who wrote mysteries as by Mary Freeman. She began publishing sf with "For a Price" in Asimov's for June 1990. Her first three novels explore various reaches of the contemporary sf landscape, though her favoured venue remains the American West. The Drylands (1993; exp vt as coll Water Rites 2007), which is derived from several stories but does not duplicate earlier material, posits a Near Future America quite strictly continuous with the present day: after increasingly serious droughts, water in the North-West states has become a burning issue (see Climate Change; Ecology); agribusinesses have further impoverished rural areas; it is only with the introduction of a protagonist with Psi Powers that Rosenblum slips into conventional genre tactics. The Drylands won a Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award. Rosenblum's early strengths lay in the vigorous realism of her rendering of human relationships as they evolve under the stresses of the new worlds to come, as explored in her large output of short stories over the years, usually devoted to the same concerns with our Near Future prospects on the planet that energize her best longer work.

Chimera (1993) somewhat less engagingly deals with the subject of Virtual Reality, via a not-unusual mystery couched in noir terms, and a Net Conspiracy; her depiction of the actual inscapes of VR are, on the other hand, powerfully evocative. The Stone Garden (1994) features a sculptor who encodes aesthetically moving emotional patterns into mysterious stones found in the Asteroid belt; although the story itself once again depends on some precarious mystery-story plotting, the central concern with the nature (and fate) of the Arts under Near Future stresses is powerfully conveyed. The background conflict in Horizons (2006) is between Earth and the secretly Genetically Engineered inhabitants of a range of Space Habitats conveniently linked to the home planet by a Space Elevator; against this backdrop, a "class 9 empath" (a formulation that homages the sf of half a century earlier; see ESP) searches for her lost brother, encounters an influential "upsider", and becomes involved in a drama about the future shape of humanity. The later Alternate History story "Sacrifice" (in Sideways in Crime, anth 2008, ed Lou Anders) won a Sidewise Award.

Rosenblum had perhaps a too ready knack with sf storylines, but a smoothly mature seriousness underlies her occasional overuse of sf Clichés. [JC]

Mary Freeman Rosenblum

born Levittown, New York: 27 June 1952

died Daybreak Field, near Battle Ground, Washington: 11 March 2018


  • The Drylands (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 1993) [pb/Peter Peebles]
    • Water Rites (Seattle, Washington: Fairwood Press, 2007) [exp vt of the above as coll: pb/]
  • Chimera (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 1993) [pb/Peter Peebles]
  • The Stone Garden (New York: Ballantine Books/Del Rey, 1994) [pb/Bruce Jensen]
  • Horizons (New York: Tor, 2006) [hb/John Harris]



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