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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Author Spotlight: Janet Kagan

Book Cover from Amazon

Mrs. Janet Kagan is ... was ... one of my all-time favorite authors; she went to play in the Big Sky in 2008. In her time she managed to write only two full novels for publication and one collection of stories assembled from magazines articles (the overall arc makes the sum even better than its parts, which is very appropriate for Mirabile). The full list of her works can be found here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?1485.

Her demanding scientific dayjob kept her world count unfortunately low but brought a richness to her worldbuilding few writers ever reach. Uhura's Song is arguably the most critically acclaimed of the Star Trek prose. Most people are familiar with her through this work.

My personal favorite is Hellspark (alternately pronounced Hell's Park and Hell Spark - read the book to understand). I love worldbuilding on a sociological level, and this science fiction story truly captures why sociology is important to creating alternate worlds of the science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction genres. People on other planets are not just going to be Americans on strange new worlds, but people being shaped by the worlds as much as the star-travelers are shaping (terraforming) the planets. Hellspark captures both the sociology and the biology of future planetary explorations in ways which hold me spellbound as I read through it for the third or fourth ... and eventually the fiftieth time if my books hold up that long.

Only the Star Trek story is available on Kindle. Maybe if enough interest continues in her other publication, Tor will release them in Kindle format too.

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