Pseudonym of New Zealand-born author Cherry Barbara Grimm (1930-2002), in Australia 1954-1976, in Germany until 1997, then in New Zealand until her death. After publishing short fiction and poetry she turned to sf, and chose the name Wilder. The themes of her first published sf story, "The Ark of James Carlyle" in New Writings in SF 24 (anth 1974) edited by Kenneth Bulmer, are the gradual rapprochement of, and changes in, human and Alien after First Contact. These themes recur in the well realized Torin series – comprising The Luck of Brin's Five (1977), winner of a Ditmar Award, The Nearest Fire (1980) and The Tapestry Warriors (1983), all first published for the Young Adult market – which focuses on the relationship between a human surveyor who crashes on the planet Torin (see Colonization of Other Worlds) and the native family known as Brin's Five which thinks of him as its "luck".This luck turns out to provide a series of opportunities for the native species to change for the better, with the young protagonists fruitfully – though perhaps rather conventionally – opening each other's eyes to the wonders of the world aborning. The Rhomary Land sequence comprising Second Nature (1982) and Signs of Life (1996) describes castaway society on the planet Rhomary, focusing on the last human to maintain an archival record of the human past, and upon a vanished Forerunner species. The Rulers of Hylor sequence beginning A Princess of the Chameln (1984) is fantasy. Her only singleton, Cruel Designs (1988), is a horror tale involving the occult set in contemporary Germany.
Wilder's most significant late achievements may lie in complexly achieved short stories like "Something Coming Through" (Winter 1983/1984 Interzone) and "The Decline of Sunshine" (Winter 1987 Interzone), in which a wry mythopoeic vein shines through; stories in this vein are assembled in Dealers in Light and Darkness (coll 1995). Wilder's work, notable for its narrative skill, evocative style and rounded characterization, should have long since given her a higher reputation. [JC/MMacL/PN]
see also: Anthropology; Australia; Children's SF; New Writings in SF; Pastoral; Strange Plasma.
Cherry Barbara Grimm
born Auckland, New Zealand: 3 September 1930
died Wellington, New Zealand: 14 March 2002
Rulers of Hylor
about the author
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