(1952- ) UK teacher and author, married to Stan Nicholls (1949- ), who began publishing sf with "Wishbone" in Gollancz-Sunday Times Best SF Stories (anth 1987) edited anonymously; she has used her married name Anne Nicholls for later short fiction. Her first novel, Mindsail (1990) – like all her works it is a Planetary Romance – promisingly describes an alien planet to which the passengers of a crashed human Starship have had to adjust, gradually evolving into fragmented and warring societies in the process. Romance elements – the female protagonist's rather prolonged search for a husband against dogmatic shibboleths regarding genetics enforced by her stratified world – interfere to some extent with the revelations, but the book leaves a vivid memory trace.
In The Brooch of Azure Midnight (1991), a mother and daughter precariously defend an Alien species from exploitation as a new Wormhole technology promises the equivalent of Matter Transmission to an entrepreneurial Terran culture. The Queen Iruna sequence – comprising Dancing on the Volcano (1993) and To Bathe in Lightning (1995) – somewhat less energetically places its protagonist in opposition to a strait Matriarchy, and follows her successful career in terms which conflate sf interests, family romance, and echoes of the Matter of Britain [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. There are reminiscences of Andre Norton's Witchworld in Gay's Planetary Romances, but her evident and competent understanding of this material may have cost her work some spontaneity. A later series, the Masked Rider books beginning with Escape from Edenoi (1996), utilizes genre material in a borderline manner for Young Adult readers, with masked insectoid bikers who romp and ravage. [JC]
collections and stories
- Events / Heatwave (Birmingham, England: Birmingham Science Fiction Group, 2015) as Anne Nicholls, with Stan Nicholls [coll: chap: one story by each, hers being "Heatwave": pb/David A Hardy]
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