Pseudonym of US author Wendy Kosak (1963- ) whose work typically interfuses fantasy, weird fiction and sf, sometimes gaining Equipoisal sharpness through the process. She began to publish with her first series – the Ukia Oregon sequence comprising Alien Taste (2001), which won the Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award for best first novel, Tainted Trail (2002), Bitter Waters (2003) and Dog Warrior (2004) – whose protagonist, after being raised by wolves, is trapped by humans and treated initially as a feral child, though he soon becomes an ace private investigator in Pittsburgh, making use of what seem to be Superpowers. It is soon revealed that he is half-Alien, that he is psychically twinned to an older brother with more powers than he possesses, and that Earth is an arena in where various factions contend. Spencer won a John W Campbell Award for best new writer in 2003, primarily for this work.
The Elfhome/Steel City sequence beginning with Tinker (2003) is set a similar Near Future Pittsburgh, though in this case within an Urban Fantasy frame where the mundane and the faerie domains Crosshatch [for this term and Urban Fantasy see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], and romantic interests come close to dominating. The Nikki Delany sequence beginning with Eight Million Gods (2013) is also Urban Fantasy, set this time in a mildly noirish Japan.
Spencer's first singleton, A Brother's Price (2005) could be understood – or could possible be deciphered – as sf, though the sex-reversal world depicted, where males are a deprecated but valuable minority, serves mainly as backdrop for the tale of a teen-aged boy who is about to be sold off as a husband (see Women in SF). Endless Blue (2007) is a Space Opera in a galaxy-spanning frame, with Faster Than Light ships missing in action, Pocket Universes fortunately accessible, and with Invasions and Aliens galore. Spencer is an author whose exuberant imagination does not always prevail over her obedience to the requirements of the romance genre, though shafts of free cognition illuminate all her work. [JC]
born Evans City, Pennsylvania: 1963
- Alien Taste (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2001) [Ukia Oregon: pb/Fred Gambino]
- Tainted Trail (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2002) [Ukia Oregon: pb/Steve Stone]
- Bitter Waters (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2003) [Ukia Oregon: pb/Steve Stone]
- Dog Warrior (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2004) [Ukia Oregon: pb/Steve Stone]
- Tinker (New York: Baen Books, 2003) [Elfhome/Steel City: hb/Bob Eggleton]
- Wolf Who Rules (New York: Baen Books, 2006) [Elfhome/Steel City: hb/Kurt Miller]
- Steel City Magic (New York: Science Fiction Book Club, 2006) [omni of the above two: Elfhome/Steel City: hb/Bob Eggleton]
- Elfhome (New York: Baen Books, 2012) [Elfhome/Steel City: hb/Clyde Caldwell]
- Wood Sprites (New York: Baen Books, 2014) [Elfhome/Steel City: hb/Stephen Hickman]
- Project Elfhome (New York: Baen Books, 2016) [coll: Elfhome/Steel City: hb/Dave Seeley]
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