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Zettel, Sarah

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1966-    ) US author who has also written as by C L Anderson and as by Manrissa Day. She began to publish work of genre interest with "Grandaddy Jenkins Plays the Bones" in The Horror Show for Summer 1988; her subsequent career has divided interestingly between sf short stories and novels (published first), and several fantasy series (published later). She made her first impression therefore as an sf writer, with Reclamation (1996), which won a 1997 Locus Award for Best First Novel, and which richly exfoliates from a familiar Space Opera premise: a cavalierly eccentric branch of Homo sapiens, multiply transformed by Genetic Engineering, vs a conservative authority, probably driven by a savage monotheism (see Religion), whose roundhead strictures against cakes and ale are given short shrift here. The plot also brings into play Telekinesis and competently imagined Aliens. Her further sf novels tend to replicate the baroque textures of the first: Fool's War (1997) traces complex conflicts in space among various AIs; in Playing God (1998), an interstellar corporation accepts a contract to Terraform back to sustainability a planet whose entire ecosphere has been destroyed by its Alien inhabitants, cursed by a genetic heritage (see Evolution) that dooms them to almost perpetual internecine War, though the cure – to evacuate the planet indefinitely until it is healthy again – may kill the patient; and The Quiet Invasion (2000) complexly traces the effects on First Contact on the human colonists who have inhabited Venus.

Zettel's fantasy has appeared mostly in the form of series, including the Isavalta sequence beginning with A Sorcerer's Treason (2002); Paths to Camelot, and Arthurian sequence beginning with Camelot's Shadow (2004; vt In Camelot's Shadow 2004); the Charlotte Caine: Vampire Chef stories beginning with A Taste of the Nightlife (2011); and the Young Adult American Faerie sequence beginning with Dust Girl (2012). The Palace of Spies sequence is nonfantastic historical romance.

Though these series are various, and do not overstay their welcome, Zettel's enriched take on Space Opera is missed. A welcome return to sf in the new century is Bitter Angels (2009) as by C L Anderson, a dark tale of interstellar intrigue in which a group of colony worlds under savagely dystopian rule may pose a threat of War with Earth; this novel won the Philip K Dick Award. [JC]

Sarah Anne Zettel

born Sacramento, California: 14 December 1966




Paths to Camelot

Charlotte Caine: Vampire Chef

  • A Taste of the Nightlife (New York: New American Library/Obsidian Mystery, 2011) [Charlotte Caine: Vampire Chef: pb/]
  • Let Them Eat Stake (New York: New American Library/Obsidian Mystery, 2012) [Charlotte Caine: Vampire Chef: pb/]

American Faerie

  • Dust Girl (New York: Random House, 2012) [American Faerie: hb/Juliana Kolesova]
  • Golden Girl (New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2013) [American Faerie: hb/Juliana Kolesova]
  • Bad Luck Girl (New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2014) [American Faerie: hb/Juliana Kolesova]

Palace of Spies

  • Palace of Spies (New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013) [Palace of Spies: hb/]
  • Dangerous Deceptions (New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013) [Palace of Spies: hb/]
  • Assassin's Masque (New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016) [Palace of Spies: hb/]

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