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Sinclair, Alison

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1959-    ) UK-born medical doctor and author, permanently in Canada from 1979, who began to publish work of genre interest with "Assassin" in Back Brain Recluse for Summer 1991. She is of greatest sf interest for her first three novels. Though no specific mention is made of Homo sapiens, Legacies (1995) is tonally akin to sf novels, mostly of an earlier generation, which are set during or after the great interregnum of Long Night that succeeds the first attempts of our species (see Galactic Empire) to inhabit the larger universe, a period during which individual human cultures, having lost all contact with their origins, evolve autonomously. In this case the "human" society of the planet Burdania has turned away from space exploration, with the exception of a cadre of "Explorers" who build an illicit space drive whose side-effects shatter the home culture. Decades after this disaster, the Explorers have settled upon another planet, discovering sentient life there (see Aliens; First Contact). With an Anthropological focus much updated from (but evocative of) the work of Chad Oliver, the novel traces the growing human understanding of the newly discovered species, while simultaneously mounting an expedition back to their Ruined-Earth home planet. Complex, autumnal lessons are conveyed.

Sinclair's second novel, Blueheart (1996), is also set on two planets whose complex interactions generate the (sometimes over-staffed) action. A relatively conservative Earth must dangerously employed Genetically Engineered and/or virally modified humans to act as Terraforming agents on a nearby planet, whose integral nature will of course be obliterated through this transformation, which will also exile from paradise the Adaptives who have been enjoined to perform the act. Complex moral issues are examined, with considerable care. Cavalcade (1998) continues very capably to transact sf topoi of some familiarity. In this case a World Ship, which is operated by inscrutable Aliens, houses various hitchhiker or waif species (including a large deputation of humans from Earth), and is bound upon a journey whose destination is not revealed. Whether the ship – portions of whose malleable interior may be shaped and customized, as the humans learn – is an ark or a Thought Experiment laboratory is not made clear; narrative hints that a series had been initiated have proved inaccurate.

In her later work, Sinclair has turned to fantasy, primarily the intricately romantic Darkborn sequence beginning with Darkborn (2009), though the later Plague Confederacy sequence beginning with Breakpoint: Nereis (2014) returns to Space Opera country, focusing this time on the relatively unusual sourcing of galactic decay to an ancient but renascent Pandemic. As far as sf is concerned, she remains at the beginning of a potentially major career. [JC]

Alison Sinclair

born Colchester, Essex: 1959




  • Darkborn (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2009) [Darkborn: pb/Mélanie Delon]
  • Lightborn (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2010) [Darkborn: pb/Mélanie Delon]
  • Shadowborn (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2011) [Darkborn: pb/Mélanie Delon]

The Plague Confederacy

  • Breakpoint: Nereis (Ottawa, Ontario: Bundoran Press, 2014) [The Plague Confederacy: pb/Dan O'Driscoll]
  • Contagion: Eyre (Ottawa, Ontario: Bundoran Press, 2015) [The Plague Confederacy: pb/Dan O'Driscoll]

individual titles

  • Legacies (London: Millennium, 1995) [hb/Peter Gudynas]
  • Blueheart (London: Millennium, 1996) [hb/uncredited]
  • Cavalcade (London: Millennium, 1998) [hb/uncredited]
  • Throne Price (Calgary, Alberta: Hades Publications/Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2003) with Lynda Williams [Okal Rel Universe: pb/Sandrine Gestin]


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