Welcome to another week of women writers of science fiction and fantasy. This week, I’m featuring the letter S — Lisa Smedman, Wen Spencer, and Nancy Springer. A reminder that although I’m only talking about one work by each of these women, they all have much more to read! As always, if the work of any of the authors sounds interesting to you, please do check them out — and if you have enjoyed something by them that I haven’t mentioned, let me know in the comments.
“Los Muertos” by Lisa Smedman
“Los Muertos” is an intense military SF story, one that mixes matter-transfer technology with politics. If matter transfer causes a slight fugue state, is that a liability, or does it make someone a soldier more likely to follow orders? A rather dark and all-too-believable look at possible consequences.
This story, for Writers of the Future, was one of Smedman’s earliest works. It’s haunting, and I think it’s going to stay with me. I might check out some of her more recent work as well, whether some of her Forgotten Realms novels, other short stories, or her original novels, to see if they are as dark and piercing.
Catch up with Lisa Smedman on-line at www.lisasmedman.topcities.com.
Tinker by Wen Spencer
Tinker lives in Pittsburgh, but a rather different Pittsburgh than I’ve driven through. Elfhome, the land of the elves, has taken over much of the city, and magic runs rampant. Most of the time. Occasionally, the hyperphase gate that links Earth and Elfhome gets shut down so Pittsburgh can get back in touch with the rest of North America. On just such a day, Tinker meets Windwolf, fleeing before a pack of wargs.
I don’t know which attracted me more to this book: Spencer’s deft interconnection of science and magic, crafting a unique world from a place she clearly knew; her detailed and complex characters; or the delightful kinks in the plot. I do know that once I started reading, I didn’t want to put the book down until I was finished. I also have the sequel, Wolf Who Rules, and I’m excited that the third book in the series, Elfhome, was sent off to the publisher in May.
I haven’t yet read her Ukiah Oregon books, but they’re definitely on my TBR list.
You can find Wen Spencer at her site, www.wenspencer.com.
“Iris” by Nancy Springer
“Iris” is a short Christmas story, a tale of hope and joy and letting go of fear. Springer caught my me with her descriptions, from how it feels to outlive everyone to the detritus of ordinary lives. At one point in the story, I thought perhaps that the narrator was turning into a hoarder, but the story makes rainbows out of trash. A couple items she described threw me momentarily (Do they still make cap guns? And I thought the paper was red, not blue.), but it’s a lovely story.
Nancy Springer’s Website is www.nancyspringer.com.