Johnson, Kij 1960-

views updated

JOHNSON, Kij 1960-

PERSONAL: Born January 20, 1960, in Harlan, IA; daughter of David P. (a pastor) and Elizabeth (a librarian and bookstore owner) Johnson; married Chris McKitterick (a writer and university faculty member), July 4, 1999. Ethnicity: "Norwegian." Education: St. Olaf College, B.A. (ancient British history), 1982. Hobbies and other interests: history, origami.

ADDRESSES: Home—2110 Elmwood, Lawrence, KS 66046. Office—Department of English, Wescoe Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Writer and editor. Tor Books, New York, NY, managing editor, 1990-92; Dark Horse Comics, Milwaukie, OR, collections editor, 1992-94; Wizards of the Coast, Renton, WA, managing editor, creative director, research and development, 1995-2000; MIcrosoft, Redmond, WA, contracted project director, Microsoft Reader E-Book Project; University of Kansas, Lawrence, associate director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, 2001—. Final judge for Theodore A. Sturgeon Award, with James Gunn and Frederik Pohl, 1997—.

MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America, Science Fiction Research Association, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.

AWARDS, HONORS: Theodore A. Sturgeon Award for best short story of the year, Center for the Study of Science Fiction, 1995, for "Fox Magic"; Crawford Award for best new fantasist of the year, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, 2001.

WRITINGS:

(With Greg Cox) Dragon's Honor ("Star Trek: The Next Generation" series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.

The Fox Woman, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Tales for the Long Rains (e-book short-story collection), Scorpius Digital, 2001.

Fudoki, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor of short stories to science-fiction and fantasy periodicals, including Amazing Stories, Analog, Duelist, Realms of Fantasy, and Fantasy and Science Fiction.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A third book set in Heian Japan (with the fox woman and Fudoki) for Tor Books; two-book "Kylen" series, set in enlightenment England and Turkey.

SIDELIGHTS: Kij Johnson cowrote one installment of the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, then her fantasy, The Fox Woman, the first novel in a projected three-book series. The story is an expansion of Johnson's award-winning "Fox Magic," which is based on a ninth-century Japanese fairy tale. Kaya no Yoshifuji is a nobleman who retreats to his country estate with his wife, Shikujo, and his young son after failing to secure a court position. There he is seen by Kitsune, a young fox who falls in love with him and uses magic to transform herself into a human.

The story, which Booklist reviewer Sally Estes considered "haunting," unfolds through the journals of the three main characters and follows the seasons. Its use of poetry and traditional lore drew particular praise. A Publishers Weekly writer called the book "A meditation on poetry, ritual, and humanity" and a "literate, magical, and occasionally grotesque love story." In Locus, Faren Miller hailed the novel as a "moving examination of passion and the gaining of hard-won knowledge," concluding that the story "entirely escapes the constraints of standard fairy tales . . . to stand entirely on its own as a celebration of that far from mundane thing we call life."

Johnson told CA: "I find myself especially influenced by nonfiction writings, particularly diaries, journals, and letters of Fanny Burney and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; the Monogatari and diaries of Heian and Kamakura-era Japanese noblewomen; Samuel Pepys's diaries; and Gilbert White's natural history of Selborne. I can't read much fiction when I'm writing, since it starts to flavor my work, but I will turn to Jane Austen, Daniel Defoe, and Patrick O'Brian. If they change my writing, so much the better for me."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2000, Sally Estes, review of The Fox Woman, p. 887.

Kliatt, May, 1996, Hugh M. Flick, Jr., review of Dragon's Honor, p. 18.

Library Journal, January, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of The Fox Woman, p. 167.

Locus January, 2000, Faren Miller, review of The Fox Woman, p. 25.

Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January, 2000, Charles De Lint, review of The Fox Woman, p. 36.

Publishers Weekly, December 20, 1999, review of The Fox Woman, p. 60.

ONLINE

Kij Johnson Home Page,http://www.sff.net/people/kij-johnson (November 29, 2002).

Kij Johnson Online Journal,http://www.livejournal.com (August 21, 2003).

Speculon,http://www.speculon.com/ (January, 2001), Trent Walters, interview with Johnson.

About this article

Johnson, Kij 1960-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article