Christian, Deborah (Teramis)
CHRISTIAN, Deborah (Teramis)
CAREER: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, former manager of information systems; former practicing psychic; activist and public speaker; designer of role-playing games. Military service: Has served in the U.S. Army.
Kar Kalim (fantasy novel), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Truthsayer's Apprentice (first novel in the "Lore-giver" series), Tor Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Contributor of short stories to Profusion Magazine and Fatbrain.com. Author of several fantasy role-playing games and sourcebooks and of erotic fiction under pseudonym Teramis.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Warlord's Adjutant and Splintegrate, the latter as part of the "Mainline" series.
SIDELIGHTS: By the mid-1990s, Deborah Christian had enjoyed an eclectic range of professions, starting with a role in the U.S. military and then working as a systems analyst, a psychic, and a designer of role-playing games. Eventually, however, she turned to writing fantasy and science fiction. The author is particularly well known for her debut novel, Mainline, a sci-fi action tale/fantasy that explores the nature of time and alternate branches of probability. Her assassin heroine, Reva, is able to travel to parallel time-lines, which allows her to quickly appear inside a target reality, complete her assignment, and vanish. Aside from the chaotic professional hazards one would expect to befall Reva, her particular lifestyle also comes equipped with another critical snag: it keeps her alone, adrift, and struggling to recognize her true self. "Christian's well-articulated, cleverly constructed plot hurtles along at a blistering pace," commented one Kirkus Reviews contributor, who called Mainline "a debut of splendid promise." Booklist reviewer Carl Hays had a similar impression: "Hers is an exciting new voice that should engage a wide range of readers, from military enthusiasts to cyberpunk fans."
Christian's second novel, Kar Kalim, departs from the science fiction elements of Mainline and into more conventional fantasy. The sorceress narrator, Inya, acts as a master of portals to other worlds, and she reluctantly accepts the persistent young Murl Amrey as her apprentice. Dispatched into one of the portals to retrieve a rare crystal for Inya, he returns several years later as the powerful Kar Kalim, conquerer of the world, and takes the sorceress captive. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "Inya's easy capitulation and last-minute realization of her many errors make her an unconvincing heroine." On the other hand, Library Journal contributor Susan Hamburger asserted that "Christian's insights into the abuse of power make her second fantasy thriller a rousing good morality tale."
The Truthsayer's Apprentice is the first installment of Christian's planned Loregiver series, in which the hero, Dalin, is a young apprentice in search of the raiders who killed his master and robbed him of his magical robe of office. Dalin's mission is to avenge the Truthsayer's death and track down the enchanted cloak. This particular revenge quest, said one Publishers Weekly reviewer, is again a more conventional fantasy than Mainline, one that "calls up all the usual Old Norse paraphernalia—shape-shifters, selkies, dwarfs, [and] runestones." Jackie Cassada concluded in Library Journal that The Truthsayer's Apprentice is "a good choice for most fantasy collections."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 1996, Carl Hays, review of Mainline, p. 1681.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1996, review of Mainline, p. 494.
Library Journal, August, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of Kar Kalim, p. 141; December, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Truthsayer's Apprentice, p. 192.
Publishers Weekly, May 27, 1996, review of Mainline, p. 70; July 14, 1997, review of Kar Kalim, p. 70; November 29, 1999, review of The Truthsayer's Apprentice, p. 56.*