Welcome back to this weekly series featuring women who write science fiction and fantasy. To find more posts in this series, check the tag “SFF Female Author Project.”
March 5th – Karin Lowachee
Karin Lowachee is perhaps best known for her science fiction novel Warchild, which won the Warner Aspect First Novel prize in 2001. Warchild remains one of the best science fiction novels I’ve ever read, a haunting coming of age story about a young boy healing from a traumatic childhood. Be warned, it is an extremely dark book. In addition to Warchild and its sequels, Karin Lowachee has also published a fantasy novel, The Gaslight Dogs, and has had short stories included in various anthologies.
Recommended starting place: Warchild, a space opera novel focusing on the effects of war on child psychology.
March 6th – Martha Wells
Martha Wells has one of the best imaginations I’ve ever encountered in fantasy fiction. She uses her background as an anthropologist to craft some of the most original fantasy cultures I’ve ever read, and her prodigious imagination extends to the biology and physical landscapes her characters encounter. This year will mark the end of her Raksura series, the tale of scaled shapeshifters inhabiting an entirely non-human world. However, given her vast back list full of similarly impressive books, I have faith that Martha Wells will continue to create wonderful works of fiction.
March 7th – Michelle West/Michelle Sagara
Michelle Sagara is an author of young adult and adult urban fantasy novels. Under the name “Michelle West,” she also publishes epic fantasy. The sheer quantity of material Michelle Sagara’s written is mind boggling, and I’ve only scratched the surface of her back list. She’s got a YA series, a fourteen book long urban fantasy series, and four separate epic fantasy series. What I most love about her work is how she has such a quantity and variety of female characters and includes relationships between them. Her epic fantasy work is some the best I’ve every read for female characters.
Recommended starting place: The Broken Crown, the beginning of a six book long epic fantasy saga.
March 8th – Susanna Clarke
Susanna Clarke has a relatively short bibliography. She’s only had one novel published, Jonathan Stange & Mr Norrell, and a collection of related short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories. Yet for such few published works, Susanna Clarke has had tremendous success. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell won the World Fantasy Award and was later excellently adopted into a BBC miniseries. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a historical fantasy novel where two magicians return magic to a Regency England.
Recommended starting place: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intricate historical fantasy novel.
March 9th – Intisar Khanani
Intisar Khanani is a relatively successful indie author who writes YA fantasy. She’s likely best known for her novel Thorn, a retelling of the fairy tale “The Goose Girl.” She is currently writing an ongoing fantasy series about a girl with hidden magical powers who’s going up against the mage council and an evil wizard who’s manipulating it. Her books are fun, her female characters have agency, and her worlds are beautifully described. She’s among my most favorite indie authors.
Recommended starting place: Sunbolt, the beginning of a YA fantasy series.
March 10th – Claire North/Kate Griffin/Catherine Webb
Catherine Webb practically has a pen name for every subgenre she writes. She writes YA fantasy under her own name, Catherine Webb. Under the name Kate Griffin, she writes urban fantasy novels which take place in a magical version of London. As Claire North she writes adult speculative fiction that is often hard to define in terms of an explicit subgenre. Her Claire North titles usually have a “what if” question at their center – such as “what if” everyone forgot you as soon as they met you?” (The Sudden Appearance of Hope).
March 11th – Diana Wynne Jones
Have you ever seen the movie Howl’s Moving Castle? Did you know it was a book first? If yes, than you’re probably already familiar with the work of Diana Wynne Jones, an acclaimed children’s and YA fantasy author. If not, than it’s high time you give something by her a try. She has an extensive back list which even I haven’t read all of yet. Her work has easy appeal to many different age groups thanks to her charming but flawed characters and imaginative stories.
Recommended starting place: Howl’s Moving Castle, a fairy-tale like YA novel, Deep Secret, an adult sci-fi novel taking place at a con, or The Dark Lord of Derkholm, a YA novel where inhabitants of a fantasy world have to deal with quest seeking tourists from our world.