Scott, Melissa

Tagged: Author

(1960-    ) US writer who began publishing sf with her first novel, The Game Beyond (1984), a Space Opera of some resonance which uses analogies with the Roman Empire – familiar since the early Foundation stories (1951-1953) of Isaac Asimov – with considerable skill (> History in SF). In 1986 she won the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer, at least in part for Five-Twelfths of Heaven (1986), first volume of the Silence Leigh sequence which continued with Silence in Solitude (1986) and The Empress of Earth (1987), all three assembled as The Roads of Heaven (omni 1988). As with her first novel, these adventures of aspiring space-pilot Silence Leigh capably marshal echoes of Earth – in this case alchemy and astrological symbols – to enrich Space-Opera routines, including several close calls with various enemies, a patch of slavery and an ongoing quarrel with an inimical Galactic Empire. The main weakness lies in Scott's attempts to enfilade Feminist arguments into a traditionally conceived venue without seeming to think their implications through in that context; the main strengths, perhaps, lie in the power of the main characters' longing to find old Earth and in the ironies attendant upon their eventual success. The Astreiant sequence with Lisa A Barnett [see Checklist] is fantasy.

The Kindly Ones (1987), whose title and plot evoke Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy (458 BCE), specifically its third play, Eumenides, in an interstellar setting, competently depicts a cruelly rigid society in a solar system of some interest. Mighty Good Road (1990) sets a hired scavenger ship on a planet where the dominant Alien species is extraordinarily vicious. The Dreamships sequence, comprising Dreamships (1992), Burning Bright (1993) and Dreaming Metal (1997), sets an AI on a Faster-than-Light ship, very competently examining the nature of a sentience slaved to travel the stars; in the sequels, taxing experiences are undergone on an alien planet dominated by a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game; the planet Burning Bright is colourfully evoked. Trouble and her Friends (1994), though it breaks no new ground, does very competently traverse Cyberpunk territory, and the eponymous Trouble is an attractive protagonist; The Jazz (2000), though not a sequel, examines through twenty-first century lenses a Cyberpunk world where the theft of an experiment Computer program leads to a well-executed chase across Near Future America. Shadow Man (1995) is set in a world where Taboos and legal coercions govern interrelations amongst the five Sexes existing on the planet Hara (> Gender) just at a point when Faster Than Light concourse will once more be possible across the human galaxy. Scott has been relatively inactive since about 2000, regrettable because of her strong narrative impulse, and because she has brought to the tale of Virtual Reality a saving energy. She has, however, contributed some Ties to the Stargate: Atlantis (2004-2009) Television series of Military SF adventures governed by the eponymous Stargates, beginning with Homecoming (2010) with Jo Graham; and Lost Things (2012) with Jo Graham, which is not a tie, may begin a series of fantasies set in a modestly Steampunk 1920s, where gods and goddesses are discovered beneath Lake Nemi. [JC]

Melissa Scott

born Little Rock, Arkansas: 7 August 1960

died

works

series

Silence Leigh

Astreiant

Dreamships

Star Trek

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Voyager

Stargate: Atlantis

  • Homecoming (Decatur, Georgia: Fandemonium Books, 2010) with Jo Graham [tie to the series: Stargate: Atlantis: pb/Lindsay Allen]
  • Allegiance (Decatur, Georgia: Fandemonium Books, 2011) with Amy Griswold [tie to the series: Stargate: Atlantis: pb/]
  • Secrets (Decatur, Georgia: Fandemonium Books, 2012) with Jo Graham [tie to the series: Stargate: Atlantis: pb/]

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