Easton, M(alcolm) Coleman 1942–
Easton, M(alcolm) Coleman 1942–
(Clare Coleman, a Joint Pseudonym)
PERSONAL: Born 1942; partner of Clare Bell (a writer).
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Jove Books, Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
CAREER: Writer. Worked in computer science and engineering research.
NOVELS; WITH PARTNER, CLARE BELL, UNDER JOINT PSEUDONYM, CLARE COLEMAN
Daughter of the Reef, Jove (New York, NY), 1992.
Sister of the Sun, Jove (New York, NY), 1993.
Child of the Dawn, Jove (New York, NY), 1994.
Masters of Glass, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1985.
Iskiir, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1986.
The Fisherman's Curse (sequel to Masters of Glass, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1987.
Swimmers beneath the Bright, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1987.
Spirits of Cavern and Hearth, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.
SIDELIGHTS: Fantasy writer M. Coleman Easton writes under his own name as well as under the joint pseudonym Clare Coleman when collaborating with partner and writer Clare Bell. Easton's first novel, Masters of Glass, and its sequel, The Fisherman's Curse, are set in medieval times in an agrarian fishing culture. The first volume introduces the Vigens, skilled craftsman of glass beads created to match the eye color of various animals that the hunters can then control and capture. The pigments used in matching these colors are becoming scarce, particularly astablak, used to duplicate the eye color of the Lame Ones, hairy mutants that live in the forest and feed on human flesh. Substitutes prove to be ineffective, and those who are killed include the apprentice of Watnojat, the master glassmaker. Pelask, father of the dead apprentice, curses any young man Watnojat takes in to replace his son, and so the glassmaker finds a talented helper in Kyala, a niece with whom he seeks the rare pigment. They find it in the possession of Untmur, another Vigen who has been using it to control people. Kyala ultimately casts the beads that destroy the Lame Ones after Watnojat dies during his quest to join Ormek, the great glassmaker.
Reviewing Masters of Glass, Tom Easton wrote in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact that "the tale is one of quest and struggle and victory, of intellectual honesty and of magic as a technology as subject to resource shortages as any other." Kathy Fritts acknowledged in Voice of Youth Advocates that the novel "is well-constructed, smoothly written, and has convincing characters."
In The Fisherman's Curse, Kyala is faced with ending Pelask's curse, which has manifested itself through a sea monster that is ravishing the fishing villages. She is aided by Bremig, a woodcarver who loves her, but in the end, she must vanquish the monster alone.
Iskiir is an "Arabian Nights" type of fantasy in which stone monoliths have crushed Iskiir's village, leaving him the only survivor. With the help of Dajnen, a sorcerer who knows the old magic, Iskiir moves to the city to live with his cousin, Yeniski, and falls in love with Adeh. When the monoliths threaten the city, Iskiir is the only one who knows where to seek help and ultimately learns that he has magical powers, as does Adeh.
In Swimmers beneath the Bright a bacteria called Spore threaten to destroy mankind, until cyborgs were developed whose blood does not play host to the threat. The Cyborgs founded an untainted world, Safehold, and developed, to inhabit it, a race of swimmers who can destroy Spore if it finds its way to the new land. The cyborgs then go into a deep sleep in their starships orbiting Safehold, and remain that way for eight millennia. One surviving cyborg ultimately awakes to find that their swimmers, who are now seen as sinful, are being dominated by kings who are exploiting the resources of the sea. She also discovers that Spore is threatening from a nearby island.
Spirits of Cavern and Hearth features the Hakhans, farmers who live in the warmer south, and the Chirudaks, nomads from the north. Both tribes have outgrown their lands, creating the basis for the story's conflict. The Chirudaks, unlike the Hakhans, possess a strong spirituality, but it is Yakol Kolmi, a Hakhan physician who suffers from a strange illness that rejuvenates both his body and his mind, who is able to interact with the spirits of cavern and hearth, who finds the common ground between the two peoples. Publishers Weekly reviewer Sybil Steinberg called Easton's fantasy "a low-key, charming tale."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, February, 1986, Tom Easton, review of Masters of Glass, p. 177; March, 1988, Tom Easton, review of Swimmers beneath the Bright, pp. 178-185.
Booklist, January 1, 1987, Roland Green, review of The Fisherman's Curse, p. 686.
Fantasy Review, July, 1985, David Nixon, review of Masters of Glass, p. 18; September, 1986, Patricia Hernlund, review of Iskiir, p. 22; January, 1987, Jacqueline Wytenbroek, review of The Fisherman's Curse, pp. 35-36.
Kliatt, spring, 1986, Maureen C. Denison, review of Iskiir, p. 20; April, 1987, Avila Lamb, review of The Fisherman's Curse, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly, October 7, 1988, Sybil Steinberg, review of Spirits of Cavern and Hearth, p. 108.
Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 1985, Kathy Fritts, review of Masters of Glass, p. 266; August, 1986, Mary Purucker, review of Iskiir, p. 161; April, 1989, John O. Christensen, review of Spirits of Cavern and Hearth, p. 40.