(1943- ) US author whose numerous historical novels, beginning with The Firedrake (1966), have explored with striking vividness many of the genuine "alternate worlds" on Earth through the radically unmundane form of the historical novel. One of these, still-born as a tale set in Mongol China, became the sf novel Floating Worlds (1976), a formidably long and complex Space Opera involving conflict in the Solar System between Inner and Outer Planets. A wide range of contrasting societies, on an anarchist Earth and on the Outer Planets themselves, provide a convincing background for the presentation of characters of unusual complexity. The protagonist is a woman, subtly drawn, ambivalent in her motivations, highly believable; on the Outer Planets, the description of the floating cities (see Gravity) is likewise believable, and involving.
Though not sf, Home Ground (1981), which puts an sf writer into a Utopian commune, makes its points in the Recursive mode which has become familiar within the genre. Pillar of the Sky (1985) combines historical research and fantasy in a story centred on Stonehenge. Her series of historical novels with fantasy elements claiming a wide-ranging sequence of triumphs and firsts for the Vikings includes The Soul Thief (2002), The Witches' Kitchen (2004), The Serpent Dreamer (2005), Varanger (2008), The High City (2009) and Kings of the North (2011). [JC]
see also: Women SF Writers.
Cecelia Anastasia Holland
born Henderson, Nevada: 31 December 1943
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