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Who Am I, Anyway?

I’m always surprised at the similarities reviewers see between my stories and those of other writers. For myself, I have such a blind spot about that. Maybe the author is the last one you should ask.

Here’s the comparison that Library Journal made in last week’s review of Bright of the Sky:

“Reminiscent of the groundbreaking novels of Philip K. Dick, Philip Jose Farmer, and Dan Simmons, her latest volume belongs in most libraries.”


PKD, Farmer, Simmons? That is rich company, and I am thrilled to be favorably compared to them. Dan Simmons writes character-rich stories of huge complexity; perhaps the scale of Bright of the Sky makes that comparison apt. Philip Jose Farmer is an interesting one. Riverworld was an early favorite of mine. I love the depth of his world and his ability to keep mysteries hanging. I take a special pride in burying mysteries in my books and pulling off reversals. Hope it’s not too annoying, but I honestly think people give up on books that they figure out on page 130. Another thing that may be similar in our writing is Farmer’s huge cast in books like The Dark Design.  That’s the kind of story that made me fall in love with the literature. And Philip K. Dick? Man, I’d love to think so but he, I believe, is in a class to himself.

I had a Publishers Weekly review for Tropic of Creation some time ago that compared my work to Frank Herbert and Orson Scott Card. Chalk that up to world-building in the case of the former, and believable alien cultures in the case of the latter? Not sure I see it.  Another PW review  said that The Braided World was reminiscent of the novels of Ursula LeGuin. OK, now I’m in heaven!

I’ll take all these comparisons with a grain of salt. If asked my own opinion, I might say C.J. Cherryh or Robert Silverberg. But then, never ask an author, I guess. I’m also surprised when so many people say I look like Joan Baez. Huh?

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