Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Born June 4, 1960, in Oneonta, NY; daughter of Carroll E. (a math professor) and Marian M. (a homemaker; maiden name, Beisser) Rusch; married Randall Thompson (divorced, 1986); married Dean Wesley Smith (a writer), December 20, 1992. Education: University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1982; Attended Clarion Writers Workshop, Michigan State University, 1985. Hobbies and other interests: History, music, film, theater, needlework.
Freelance journalist, 1978-86; WORT Radio, Madison, WI, reporter, 1980-86, and news director, 1983-86; owner, Shire Frame Shop & Galleries, 1981-84; editorial assistant, Wm. C. Brown Publishers, 1984; secretary in Eugene, OR, 1986-89; founder, with Dean Wesley Smith, of Pulphouse Publishing, Eugene, OR, 1987, and editor of Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, 1987-91; editor of Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, 1991-97; freelance author, 1982—.
World Fantasy Award (with Dean Wesley Smith), 1989, for work with Pulphouse Publishing; John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 1990; Locus Award for Best Nonfiction (with Dean Wesley Smith), 1991, for Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook: The Professional Writer's Guide to Writing Professionally; Locus and Homer Award for Best Novella, both 1992, both for Gallery of His Dreams; Hugo Award for Best Editor, 1994; Homer Award for Best Novelette and Readers Choice Award, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, both 1998, both for Echea; Readers Choice Award, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 1998, for Details; Readers Choice Award, Science Fiction Age Magazine, 1998, for Coolhunting; Herodotus Award for Best U.S. Historical Mystery, 2000, for A Dangerous Road; Hugo Award for Best Novelette, 2001, for Millennium Babies; Deadly Pleasures Best Books of 2001 citation, for Smoke-Filled Rooms; Reviewers Choice, Romantic Times, 2000, for Utterly Charming, and 2001, for Thoroughly Kissed; finalist, Endeavor Award, 2003, for The Disappeared.
The White Mists of Power (novel), Roc (New York, NY), 1991.
The Gallery of His Dreams (short novel), Axolotl Press (Eugene, OR), 1991, reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Kevin J. Anderson) Afterimage (novel), Roc (New York, NY), 1992.
Traitors (novel), Roc (New York, NY), 1993.
Heart Readers (novel), Roc (New York, NY), 1993.
Facade (novel), Dell Abyss (New York, NY), 1993.
Alien Influences (novel), Millennium (London, England), 1994.
(Editor, with Edward L. Ferman) The Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction: A 45th Anniversary Anthology, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Sins of the Blood (novel), Dell (New York, NY), 1994.
The Devil's Churn (novel), Dell (New York, NY), 1996.
Star Wars: The New Rebellion (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
(Compiler) Star Wars Diplomatic Corps Entrance Exam, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Kevin J. Anderson) Afterimage; Aftershock, Meisha Merlin (Decatur, GA), 1998.
(Under name Kris Rusch) Hitler's Angel (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
(Under pseudonym Sandy Schofield) Predator: Big Game, Spectra (Dillon, CO), 1999.
The Black Queen, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
The Black King, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.
In the Shade of the Slowboat Man (radio script; adapted from Dean Wesley Smith's story of the same name), produced by Seeing Ear Theatre, 2000.
Coolhunting (electronic book), Fictionwise.com, 2001.
Stories for an Enchanted Afternoon, foreword by Kevin J. Anderson, Golden Gryphon Press (Urbana, IL), 2001.
Little Miracles and Other Tales of Murder, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2001.
(Under pseudonym Kathryn Wesley Kensington) The Monkey King (novelization), Kensington (New York, NY), 2001.
The Retrieval Artist, and Other Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.
The Retrieval Artist: The Disappeared, Roc (New York, NY), 2002.
Fantasy Life, Pocket Star Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Extremes: A Retrieval Artist Novel, Roc (New York, NY, 2003.
Consequences, Roc (New York, NY, 2004.
WITH HUSBAND, DEAN WESLEY SMITH
(Editor) Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook: The Professional Writer's Guide to Writing Professionally, Writers Notebook Press (Eugene, OR), 1990.
(Under pseudonym Sandy Schofield) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Big Game (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Star Trek: Voyager: The Escape (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1995.
(Under pseudonym Sandy Schofield) Aliens: Rogue (novel), Bantam/Dark Horse (New York, NY), 1995.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Long Night (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Star Trek: Klingon! (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Klingon Immersion Studies (CD-ROM), Simon & Schuster Interactive (New York, NY), 1996.
Star Trek: Rings of Tautee (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Invasion! Soldiers of Fear (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.
(Under pseudonym Sandy Schofield) Quantum Leap: The Loch Ness Monster (novel), Ace (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Nina Kiriki Hoffman) Star Trek: Voyager: Echoes (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; The Mist: The Captain's Table, Pocket Books (New York, NY).
Star Trek: Day of Honor—Book Four (novel) Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Double Helix: Vectors, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998.
The Tenth Planet, Del Rey Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Tenth Planet: Oblivion, Del Rey Books (New York, NY), 2000.
X Men, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2000.
Star Trek: Thin Air, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2000.
The Tenth Planet: Final Assault, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2000.
Star Trek Voyager: Shadow, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Roswell: No Good Deed, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Roswell: Little Green Men, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Star Trek Enterprise: By the Book, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2002.
"THE FEY SERIES"
The Sacrifice: The First Book of the Fey, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
The Fey: The Rival, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
The Fey: The Resistance, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.
Victory: The Final Book of the Fey, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.
UNDER PSEUDONYM KRISTINE GRAYSON
Utterly Charming, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Thoroughly Kissed, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Completely Smitten, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Simply Irresistible, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Absolutely Captivating, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 2004.
UNDER PSEUDONYM KRIS NELSCOTT
A Dangerous Road, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Smoke-Filled Rooms, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Thin Walls, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Stone Cribs, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004.
"STAR TREK VOYAGER COMIC BOOK SERIES"
Encounters with the Unknown, Wildstorm Productions (La Jolla, CA), 2001.
Planet Killer: Book One, Wildstorm Productions (La Jolla, CA), 2001.
Planet Killer: Book Two, Wildstorm Productions (La Jolla, CA), 2001.
Planet Killer: Book Three, Wildstorm Productions (La Jolla, CA), 2001.
EDITOR; PULPHOUSE ANTHOLOGIES
Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, Issues One and Two, Pulphouse Publishing (Eugene, OR), 1988.
Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, Issues Three, Four and Five, Pulphouse Publishing (Eugene, OR), 1989.
Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, Issues Six, Seven, Eight and Nine, Pulphouse Publishing (Eugene, OR), 1990.
Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, Issues Ten and Eleven, Pulphouse Publishing (Eugene, OR), 1991.
The Best of Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, Issue Twelve, Pulphouse Publishing (Eugene, OR), 1992.
(Contributor) Margaret Weis, editor, Legends: Tales from the Eternal Archives (collected works), Penguin (New York, NY), 1998.
(Contributor, with others) Star Trek: Invasion! Omnibus (collected works), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.
(Contributor) Star Trek: Day of Honor Omnibus (collected works), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1999.
(Contributor) Strange New Worlds II (collected works), Simon & Schuster, (New York, NY), 1999.
(Author of introduction) Mike Resnick, A Safari of the Mind, Wildside Press (Holicong, PA), 1999.
Also author of Millennium Babies (novella); author, with Dean Wesley Smith, of Klingon! script for computer game, produced in 1996.
Contributor of short stories to anthologies, including Alternate Gettysburgs, edited by Brian M. Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg, Berkley Books, 2002. Contributor of numerous short stories to periodicals, including Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Analog Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Science Fiction Age, and Amazing Stories. Author of several booklets about writing style.
Star Trek: Klingon! was adapted to audiocassette, Simon & Schuster Audio (New York, NY), 1996.
Work in Progress
More novels in the "Retrieval Artist" series and the "Smokey Dalton" series.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch must go dizzy deciding which hat to put on in the morning before attacking her word processor. There is Kristine Rusch, author of over two dozen highly acclaimed science fiction and fantasy novels, novellas, and numerous short story collections, including The White Mists of Power, The Gallery of His Dreams, Traitors, Sins of the Blood, Alien Influences, The Black King and series such as "Retrieval Artist" and "Fey," and winner of most of the impressive awards in those genres from the Hugo to the John W. Campbell Award; there is Rusch the editor, cofounder of Pulphouse and editor at the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and writer of Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook: The Professional Writer; there is Rusch who collaborates with her husband, novelist Dean Wesley Smith, on franchise novels, novelizations, and tieins of the "Star Wars," "Star Trek" and "Roswell" series, among a host of others; there is the pseudonymous Rusch, writing popular romance novels under the name of Kristine Grayson; and there is yet another pseudonymous Rusch, writing as Kris Nelscott, who has produced a highly popular and well-received series of detective novels featuring the black PI Smokey Dalton. As Kilian Melloy noted on Infinity Plus, "A writer as productive and wide-ranging as Rusch needs a roster of pen names to go with her torrent of output."
And a torrent it has been, with over sixty works racked up since publication of her first book in 1990. A prolific and popular writer, Rusch has had a great deal of influence on the genres of science fiction and fantasy writing toward the end of the twentieth century. "In less than a decade," noted Sydonie Benet in St. James Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers, "she has risen from relative obscurity to a highly regarded presence as both an editor and an author." Responding to a question from Melloy about how she is able to produce so much in so many genres, Rusch quipped, "I have no life." Then more seriously, she replied, "I love to write and I write quickly. I was trained to meet deadlines when I was a journalist. That, combined with my typing speed, really means that I don't mind working several hours every day. Most writers don't work that many hours, so they don't get as many pages. But the key, really, is that I love to write."
From Editing to Writing
The daughter of a college math professor, Rusch grew up in a literate home; two of her elder siblings became English professors. She learned to read at three and finished her first short story when she was seven. "I wrote my first novel during lonely nights in junior high school," Rusch commented in St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. "Escaping to other worlds has always attracted me; I cannot see this changing." Rusch took the route of a writer instead of academia, with stops in radio, retail, and office work. Working as a freelance journalist and news director, she learned the value of meeting deadlines, of working under time constraints. At age twenty-six, Rusch had completed the prestigious Clarion Science Fiction Workshop and an experimental writing course in Taos, New Mexico. In 1987 she published her first story, in Aboriginal Science Fiction, but more importantly, with Dean Wesley Smith, she cofounded Pulphouse Publishing.
For many years, Pulphouse's primary project was the publication of Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, a book-length anthology that came out quarterly. They also published other projects within or about the speculative fiction field, including a collaboration between Rusch and Smith on the nonfiction Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook: The Professional Writer's Guide to Writing Professionally, which garnered them an award from Locus magazine. After Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine went on hiatus—to return briefly in the mid-1990s in a more conventional magazine format—Rusch served as the editor of another popular outlet for speculative fiction, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, until the middle of 1997. In 1991, she published her first full-length novel, The White Mists of Power. Since then, Rusch has penned numerous other novels under a variety of names and edited several anthologies.
In the same year that Rusch won Best New Writer acclaim, Pulphouse published her novella The Gallery of His Dreams. This tale, some eighty pages in length, concerns the historical figure Mathew Brady, famed for his photographic record of the U.S. Civil War. In his dreams, Brady travels through time to photograph the horrors of more modern wars, such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, and the massacre at My Lai in Vietnam. Tom Easton, reviewing The Gallery of His Dreams in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, observed that Rusch "is quite explicit in contrasting Brady's vision of his work as the production of cautionary documents with the visions of his contemporaries, of his photographs of death and destruction as commercial commodities . . . of those photographs as art." In the same article, Easton also reviewed The Best of Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, an anthology which Rusch edited during roughly the same period. He described it as "good stuff, the best of a good series. Often outrageous and provocative. Always interesting." Edward Bryant in the Bloomsbury Review labeled it "a fine anthology." In a previous issue of Analog, Easton described Rusch's nonfiction collaboration with
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
Smith, Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook, as "thorough, useful discussions" of issues pertaining to writers in the genre.
In The White Mists of Power, readers become acquainted with Bard Byron, who is really the long-lost prince of Kilot, and his traveling companion Seymour, an inexpert magician. War in Kilot between the upper and lower classes is predicted by the magical being Cache Enos, but young Byron has a plan to preserve his country despite the fact that his father, the king, dies before Byron can be identified as the true prince. Voice of Youth Advocates reviewer Denice Thornhill wrote, "I just loved this book and have raved about it to several people." She went on to note the story's "good characters that grow," and called it "a must buy." Publishers Weekly liked The White Mists of Power as well, citing Rusch's "beguiling characters" and describing it as "a fine first novel."
Rusch collaborated with Kevin J. Anderson on the 1992 novel Afterimage. The plot of this tale hinges on the existence of shape shifters who can help people jump from one body to another. One such being is able to save the life of Rebecca, who was left for dead after being assaulted and raped by the Joan of Arc killer. Unfortunately, she is spirited into the body of the last image left upon her mind—that of her attacker. She must conceal her temporary form from the police while she seeks a way to return to her old body. Jody Hanson in Kliatt thought Afterimage was "an excellent, thoroughly enjoyable book," though she did caution readers about the graphic rape scenes. Hanson felt, however, that these were not gratuitous depictions, but rather that they helped readers understand "the horror of these crimes."
Traitors, Rusch's next novel, was published in 1993. Its protagonist, Diate, reluctantly gives up his talent for dance, a compromise he makes in order to live in safety among the island people of Golga. On Golga he waits for the right time to seek revenge upon the rulers of his native land, who he believes slaughtered all his family members. Observing that the novel contains "elements both modern and medieval," Kliatt reviewer Joseph R. DeMarco wrote that "what [Diate] does to fulfill his desire for revenge is laid out neatly" by Rusch. A Science Fiction Chronicle reviewer described Traitors as "entertaining" and "a well concocted mix."
With Edward L. Ferman, the previous editor of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Rusch edited 1994's Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction. Gary K. Wolfe in Locus recalled that the magazine from which the anthology sprang "was bending traditional genre boundaries decades before . . . others broadened the scope of the competition," cited many stories as worthy of attention, and concluded: "In all, this latest addition to a distinguished series honors both the magazine's rich tradition and its interesting new directions." Deborah A. Feulner, writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, wrote that "readers . . . will be pleased with the variety of stories presented."
Rusch tried her hand at vampire fiction in the 1994 novel Sins of the Blood. This book proposes that in the United States everyone acknowledges the existence of vampires. In some states, they are treated as victims of disease; in others, they are legally hunted down and killed, primarily through the efforts of bounty hunters. One such killer is the protagonist in Sins of the Blood, a woman whose own father is a vampire. During the course of the novel, she seeks to find her long-estranged brother and protect him from joining the vampiric world. A Science Fiction Chronicle contributor noted "the well delineated central character" of Sins of the Blood, and described Rusch's vampire world as "tantalizing."
In 1996, Rusch began an epic work about an evil people known as "the Fey" with The Sacrifice. Rusch's protagonists actually look like humans and can even interbreed with them, but in fact they are shape-changers and, as Donald Watt noted in a London Times review, they are "ruthless sadistic megalomaniacs." In the first novel, the target of the
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
Fey is the magical Blue Isle, and Prince Rugar, the son of the Black King of the Fey, leads the attack. Because of the Blue Isle's magic, the attackers are repulsed by its denizens, but the Fey are unlikely to give up their quest for world domination. Though she warned readers about what she saw as "gruesome" warfare descriptions, Karen Ellis of Kliatt recommended The Sacrifice, saying that "the diversity of characterization, as shaped by contrasting cultures, is fascinating." Reviewing the second book in the series, The Fey: The Rival, Watt found the novel "chilling." Though not part of the "Fey" series, The Black Queen features Arianna, queen of the Fey, who rules over a realm filled with intelligence and honest power. Then an evil force attacks her mind, threatening to transform her and her kingdom.
As for the origins of the Fey, Rausch told Interzone interviewer Jayme Lynn Blaschke that "I just tend to accumulate weird facts. . . . I got the idea for The Fey somewhere in 1981 or '82, but it wasn't anything really developed." When she began work in earnest, Rusch described the work to her editor as "a Hundred Years' War. Now, if you've read [the series] you realize I haven't gotten anywhere close to a hundred years." As she began volume one of the series, Rausch said she realized "I'd started in the wrong place. Essentially, I'd started in year fifty of my hundred years' war, and to explain what was going to happen, I had to go back. So really, we're talking 150 years, but I don't want to scare people."
In Alien Influences, Rusch posits an Earth colony on the distant world Bountiful, whose indigenous forms of life, the Dancers, teach the colonizing children to communicate with each other empathically. When numerous children are brutally murdered, an investigation is mounted, and it is found that other children actually perpetrated the crime. Blame is ultimately thrust onto the Dancers, who have had too much contact with these children, it is thought. This leads to the suppression and eradication of the Dancers. One of these children subsequently spends his life getting to the bottom of the mystery, finally discovering it was the executive of the colony who was actually behind the tragedy, for he wanted an excuse to get rid of the disruptive Dancers. A contributor for Publishers Weekly thought that it was Rusch's "examination of the heights and depths of the human spirit . . . [that] engages and ultimately satisfies" the reader. Gerald Jonas, writing in the New York Times Book Review, also had praise for the novel, noting that though Rusch gets "too close to her characters," the book is "otherwise well-conceived and well-executed." In Coolhunting, Rusch turns her sci-fi sensibilities to a the near future in a "fascinating and thought-provoking novella," according to Charles De Lint, writing in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Here she tells the story of Steffie Storm-Warning who searches out the next "in" or cool thing as she comes to terms with her own past. Such focus on character over mere plot is indicative of Rusch's writing. As Melloy observed, "Rusch follows her characters home, in story after story, and finds, in their families and frustrations, the most truly alien settings of all: the places where they live."
From Franchise Fiction to Romance and Beyond
In the same year The Sacrifice hit bookstands, Rusch also published a novel in the popular "Star Wars" series created by filmmaker George Lucas. Titled The New Rebellion, the story takes familiar characters such as Princess Leia Organa Solo into the first year that former leaders of the evil empire are allowed to hold seats in the Senate. Booklist contributor Roland Green assured readers that "everybody snatches triumph from the jaws of disaster in the nick of time and in the approved fashion." Rusch described her "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" tie-in books to Blaschke as "the ultimate fan fic[tion]." Such sagas, she added, "have taken over our love of space opera in many, many areas. Kids will come in and they'll start reading those books first." Speaking with Mellow, Rusch added that such writing differs from her own writing in numerous ways: "The world and characters are assigned. So all we can really work with is plot. I think if you remove character, voice, and world-building from my fiction, you're left with the least innovative part of my writing."
A change of pace for Rusch was her 1998 historical fiction, Hitler's Angel, which began, the author told Blaschke, as "a historical, alternate history novella. Hitler's niece was murdered, in his apartment, under suspicious circumstances in 1931. If that case had been solved and Hitler had been found guilty—I have no doubt he was guilty of that murder—the entire history of the Western world would've been changed, and millions of lives would've been saved." In her tale, Rusch has a young American, Annie Pohlmann, visit with the famous German detective, Fritz Stecher, for her dissertation in criminology. She wants to hear his version of the unsolved death of Hitler's niece, Geli Raubal, that ended the detective's illustrious career. Set in 1972, just before the fateful Olympic Games and the terrorist killings of Israeli athletes, the action jumps between the contemporary world and 1931, when Raubal died. While Library Journal's Laurel Wilson found the novel—essentially an interview interspersed with flashbacks—a "muddled mess," other reviewers were more positive. Booklist's Gilbert Taylor felt that Rusch "effectively portrays
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
Stecher's procedural investigation into a Nazi coverup." A critic for Publishers Weekly, however, wished that Rusch had broadened her canvas: "Instead of locking Stecher and Annie in Stecher's dismal apartment, this novel might have been not just promising (which it is) but complete."
Rusch entered the romance field in 2000 with the novel Utterly Charming, and followed that novel up with several more titles in the same vein: Thoroughly Kissed, Completely Smitten, Simply Irresistible, and Absolutely Captivating, all written under the pseudonym of Kristine Grayson. Chameleon-like, Rusch takes on the trappings of a romance novelist without missing a beat. But as she noted to Melloy, these novels are not really that distant from her other works. "My romance novels . . . are really fantasy novels with romance in them," she noted. "We just happened to sell them to romance. But they have a huge fantasy content—Greek myths come to life, lots of magic." In Simply Irresistible, for example, the mythic Three Fates appear at the apartment door of psychic Vivian Kineally to seek protection from a mysterious enemy. Asked by the Fates to find Dexter Grant to help out, Vivian finds a soul mate in the bargain. A lover of comic books, Vivian also discovers that the superheroes and super-villains of those pages might actually be based on reality, in this "enchanting blend of sweet romance, mythology and magic," as Booklist critic John Charles described the novel. Charles also noted that Grayson/Rusch "puts her own unique magical stamp on figures from Greek myths and fairy tales." Similarly, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly thought this same novel was "zany and over-the-top," as well as "playful" and a "delight." Kineally and the Fates turn up again in Absolutely Captivating, enlisting the aid of the psychic's CPA brother, Travers, in another "captivating, mad-cap ride," according to Booklist's Nina C. Davis.
Rusch turns mystery and detective writer with two other series. With the "Retrieval Artist," she blends science fiction and mystery. Based on a Hugonominated novella, the first in the series, The Disappeared, finds detective Miles Flint with three cases of intergalactic crime to deal with. Children have been kidnapped by aliens, a lawyer is on the run, and three dead bodies have turned up on the moon. Flint and his partner, Noelle DeRicci, soon discover that the three cases have something in common, and they have to get to the bottom of the mystery before events spiral out of control. Terrence Miltner, writing in Booklist, felt that Rusch presented an "entertaining blend of mystery and sf, a solid police drama." In the second volume of the series, Flint, now retired, works as a Retrieval Artist, tracking down outlaws called the Disappeared. His first case is to look into the death of another Retrieval Artist; meanwhile, a death occurring during a marathon on the moon turns out to be connected to Flint's case. Booklist's Roland Green called the novel an "exemplary futuristic detective thriller," while Kliatt's Ginger Armstrong noted that the "plot moves smoothly as chapters alternate between Flint's investigations." Armstrong further commented, "Readers of police procedurals as well as fans of SF should enjoy this mystery series."
More detective drama is served up in Rusch's tales of the African American private investigator Smokey Dalton, books set in the late 1960s. Writing under the name Kris Nelscott, Rusch opened the series in 2000 with the Edgar-nominated A Dangerous Road. Smokey, living in Memphis in the midst of racial tensions, is investigating why he has been named one of the beneficiaries in a white person's will in Chicago; his search takes him into his past and into the tragic death of his old buddy, Martin Luther King, Jr., as events threaten to sweep him and his investigation away. A contributor for Publishers Weekly praised the novel for offering more than a mere "puzzle." Instead, the book "encourages self-examination about identity, responsibility and the consequences of choices." Booklist's Bill Ott felt that "this has the makings of an outstanding series."
Rusch/Nelscott continued the Smokey Dalton series with Smoke-Filled Rooms. Here, Smokey is on the run in the company of a boy who knows the identity of the real assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., and they land in Chicago at the time of the Democratic Convention. Once again, Smokey is caught up in the jaws of history, with the antiwar movement protestors filling the city. "Nelscott does a superb job of using a familiar historical moment to dramatize an intimate human drama," wrote Booklist's Bill Ott. In Thin Walls, Smokey is still in Chicago, now going by the name of Bill Grimshaw. He investigates the deaths of nine blacks, while also juggling developments in her private life in this "fine entry in an outstanding series," as Ott described the novel in Booklist. A critic for Publishers Weekly, reviewing the same title, felt that "Nelscott handles this busy plot with aplomb." Abortion is the focus of the 2003 addition to the series, Stone Cribs, and Smokey, a.k.a. Bill Grimshaw, investigates the underground abortion market to get to the bottom of a revenge homicide. A critic for Kirkus Reviews thought that the various elements of this historical mystery "take this crackerjack series to new heights." More praise came from a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who called the novel "remarkable," and Booklist's Ott dubbed this fourth installment "another winner in a high-class crime series."
If you enjoy the works of Kristine Kathryn Rusch
If you enjoy the works of Kristine Kathryn Rusch, you might want to check out the following books:
Diane Carey, Star Trek Destiny, 1995.
Mercedes Lakey, Magic's Pawn, 1994.
Karin Lowachee, Burndive, 2003.
Christine Smith, Contact Imminent, 2003.
"If you look at most of my fiction," Rusch told Melloy in her interview, "you'll see the tendency to fuse. And usually it's mystery or sf with something else. When I do mystery combined with sf, it's easy—if I'm staying in the here and now. But if I'm worldbuilding, it's tough." Rusch, whether writing under her own name, that of Kristine Grayson, or as Kris Nelscott, has shown that worldbuilding is not merely a science fiction description. Equally talented in sci fi, fantasy, horror, romance, or detective novels, Rusch is, in the final analysis, a novelist first and foremost. As she told Christopher Hennessey-DeRose in a SciFi.com interview, "I'm staying busy and happy and writing a lot, which please me no end."
Biographical and Critical Sources
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, edited by David Pringle, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, 4th edition, edited by Jay D. Pederson, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Analog Science Fiction & Fact, September, 1991, review of Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook: The Professional Writer's Guide to Writing Professionally, p. 161; May, 1992, Tom Easton, review of The Gallery of His Dreams, p. 161.
Bloomsbury Review, December, 1991, Edward Bryant, review of The Best of Pulphouse, p. 27.
Booklist, October 1, 1996, Roland Green, review of Star Wars: The New Rebellion, p. 292; April 15, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, review of Hitler's Angel, p. 1392; July, 2000, Bill Ott, review of A Dangerous Road, p. 2014; April 15, 2001, Roland Green, review of Stories for an Enchanted Afternoon, p. 1543; July, 2001, Bill Ott, review of Smoke-Filled Rooms, p. 1989; June 1, 2002, Terrence Miltner, review of The Disappeared, p. 1698; August, 2002, Bill Ott, review of Thin Walls, pp. 1932-1933; September 1, 2002, Terrence Miltner, review of The Retrieval Artist, p. 71; December 15, 2002, John Charles, review of Simply Irresistible, p. 738; June 1, 2003, Roland Green, review of Extremes, p. 1755; January 1, 2004, Nina C. Davis, review of Absolutely Captivating, p. 836; February 15, 2004, Bill Ott, review of Stone Cribs, p. 1033.
Bookwatch, May, 1991, review of Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook, p. 6; April, 1992, review of The White Mists of Power, p. 6.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1991, review of The Best of Pulphouse, p. 896; August 1, 2002, review of Thin Walls, p. 108; November 15, 2003, review of Stone Cribs, p. 1343..
Kliatt, November, 1992, Jody Hanson, review of Afterimage, pp. 18-19; January, 1995, p. 19; March, 1996, Karen Ellis, review of The Sacrifice, p. 20; January, 2004, Ginger Armstrong, review of Extremes, pp. 24-25.
Library Journal, November 15, 1991, review of The White Mists of Power, p. 111; April 1, 1998, Laurel Wilson, review of Hitler's Angel, p. 125; July, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Black Queen, p. 143; August, 2000, Rex E. Klett, review of A Dangerous Road, p. 165; October 1, 2002, Michael Rogers, review of Thin Walls, p. 132; December, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Stone Cribs, p. 171.
Locus, February, 1991, review of Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook, pp. 38, 58; March, 1991, review of Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook, p. 25; May, 1991, review of Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook, p. 29; June, 1991, review of The Best of Pulphouse, p. 29; July, 1991, review of The Gallery of His Dreams, pp. 23, 27, 48; September, 1991, review of The White Mists of Power, p. 25; October, 1991, review of The White Mists of Power, p. 15, and The Best of Pulphouse, p. 52; December, 1991, review of The White Mists of Power, p. 55; January, 1992, review of The White Mists of Power, p. 59; September, 1992, review of Afterimage, p. 62; October, 1992, review of Afterimage, p. 23, and The Best of Pulphouse, p. 54; October, 1994, Gary K. Wolfe, review of Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction, p. 58.
Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October, 1992, review of The White Mists of Power, p. 23; May, 1998, Charles De Lint, review of Alien Influences, pp. 21-22; February, 2002, Charles De Lint, review of Coolhunting, pp. 37-38.
New York Times Books Review, February 1, 1998, Gerald Jonas, review of Alien Influences, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly, August 16, 1991, review of The Best of Pulphouse, p. 51; October 4, 1991, review of The White Mists of Power, pp. 84-85; October 28, 1996, review of Star Wars: The New Rebellion, p. 63; September 29, 1997, review of Alien Influences, p. 86; March 16, 1998, review of Hitler's Angel, pp. 53-54; September 24, 2001, review of Little Miracles and Other Tales of Murder, p. 73; August 12, 2002, review of Thin Walls, p. 281; November 25, 2002, review of Simply Irresistible, p. 49; December 15, 2003, review of Stone Cribs, p. 56.
Science Fiction Chronicle, April, 1991, review of Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook, p. 30; August, 1991, review of The Gallery of His Dreams, p. 24; November, 1991, review of The Best of Pulphouse, p. 33; March, 1992, review of The White Mists of Power, pp. 20, 30; August, 1992, review of Afterimage, p. 49; October, 1993, p. 36; February, 1995, p. 38.
Times (London, England), April 19, 1872, Donald Watt, review of The Fey: The Rival, p. 12.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1992, Denice Thornhill, review of The White Mists of Power, pp. 46-47; December, 1994, Deborah Feulner, review of Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction, pp. 282-283.
Bookbrowser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (July 17, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of The Retrieval Artist: The Disappeared.
Infinity Plus,http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (August 26, 2003), Kilian Melloy, "An Interview with Kristine Kathryn Rusch."
Interzone,http://www.sfsite.com/ (December, 1998), Jayme Lynn Blaschke, "A Conversation with Kristine Kathryn Rusch."*
SciFi.com,http://www.scifi.com/ (March 10, 2004), Christopher Hennessey-DeRose, "Kristine Kathryn Rusch Creates SF Universes-and Invades Old Ones."
Westerco 52,http://www.webwitch.com/westercon52/ (March 10, 2004).*