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Friedman, C S

(1957-    ) US costume designer (until 1996) and author who sometimes writes as Celia or Celia S Friedman; much of her work is fantasy. Her first fiction, though, the Azean Empire sequence comprising In Conquest Born (1987) and The Wilding (2004), is a far-flung interstellar Space Opera; Planetary Romance elements surface when the two main vying civilizations – the Azeans (who specialize in mind-controlled Weapons including Telepathy) and the high-tech warrior Braxins – are focused upon (see Genetic Engineering). The obsessional nature of the long War between the two cultures is perhaps more vividly and complexly conveyed in the first volume, which weaves together a tapestry of connected tales whose effect is cumulatively powerful.

Though some Planetary Romances elements are threaded through the Coldfire Trilogy beginning with Black Sun Rising (1991), the sequence is essentially fantasy, as is the Magister Trilogy beginning with Feast of Souls (2007), where the focus is more on Magic. The Young Adult Dreamwalker sequence beginning with Dreamwalker (2015) can be understood as sf, given its protagonist's travel into at least one Alternate World, her adventures beginning when she discovers that her DNA does not match her parents'. The series might be deemed Equipoisal through the fact that the governing cohort of the world she has landed in possess paranormal powers.

Friedman's singletons are both of sf interest. The Madness Season (1990), set centuries after a successful Invasion of Earth by a Hive-Mind civilization, focuses, again Equipoisally, on an Immortal Vampire protagonist, who fights back. This Alien Shore (1998) is set in a relatively distant period, contextualized through backstory references to a long Future History over the course of which humanity's exploitation of the universe has been halted due to the unviable Mutations inevitably generated by Faster Than Light travel. By the time the tale begins, workarounds have been developed. The worlds made once again available include Earth itself, the Solar System, Space Habitats and colony planets (see Colonization of Other Worlds). There is a widespread use of Computers, surgically installed at birth, which enhance fleshly powers, though risks abound. Further sf adventures displaying the complexity Friedman is capable of would be welcome. [JC]

Celia S Friedman

born New York: 12 January 1957



Azean Empire

The Coldfire Trilogy

The Magister Trilogy


The Outworlds

individual titles


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 04:13 am on 22 June 2024.