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Lowachee, Karin 1973-

LOWACHEE, Karin 1973-

PERSONAL: Born January 17, 1973, in Georgetown Guyana; Education: Attended York University. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, art, music, Web site building.


ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Shawna McCarthy, The McCarthy Agency, 7 Allen St., Rumson, NJ 07760. E-mail—[email protected]


CAREER: Novelist and teacher. Community Learning Centre, Rankin Inlet, Canada, adult literacy teacher, 2000-01.

MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America.


AWARDS, HONORS: Warner Aspect First Novel Contest winner, 2002, for Warchild.


WRITINGS:

Warchild (novel), Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Burndive (novel), Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.


Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including On Spec. Contributor of music reviews to online magazine Marsdust.


WORK IN PROGRESS: Third novel in trilogy.


SIDELIGHTS: Canadian author Karin Lowachee found publishing success with her first novel, the science fiction work Warchild. The 2002 novel is a coming-of-age story set in the twenty-second century about a young boy who suddenly finds himself a slave, then is trained by his new captors as a spy and saboteur. As the winner of the Warner Aspect First Novel contest, Warchild was selected from more than one thousand entries as a work showcasing the writing of a talented first-time author of novel-length science fiction. Describing the novel as drawing readers into "a milieu of space pirates, humans vs. aliens, and a young boy becoming a warrior before his time," Crystalline Sphere reviewer James Schellenberg praised Lowachee's fiction debut as an "interesting, carefully constructed meditation on war and the people caught up in it."


When readers meet Joslyn Musey, he is eight years old and living with his parents on the family's trading ship Mukudori. Attacked by pirates led by the murderous Falcone, the trading ship is lost, the adults on board brutally murdered, and Jos enslaved. Although kept alive due to Falcone's interest in him, Jos eventually escapes, but only to what at first seems an even worse fate when he is captured by members of a race of aliens known as the striviirc-na or "strivs." As Gerald Jonas noted in his New York Times Book Review appraisal of Warchild, the strivs are perhaps not as bad as Jos was led to believe after all; they seem to be "peace-loving but steel-willed folk who are defending themselves against irrational aggression" by humans. The strivs bring Joslyn to their own planet, Aaian-na, where with the help of human allies known as "sypms" they take several years to train him in martial arts, weaponry, and a different mindset. Although inclined to be ungrateful and not always resilient in the face of setbacks, Jos is eventually won over to the strivs' way of thinking, and agrees to follow the orders of a high-ranking symp named Niko to infiltrate one of Earth's military ships as a spy. Although already having proved himself to be an effective combatant in the striv army, once aboard the Earth ship Macedon the now fourteen-year-old Jos begins to question the strivs' motives. Experiencing qualms about betraying the government of his parents in the strivs' continued defensive war against the humans, Jos must learn to follow his own instincts.


While Jonas praised Lowachee for her "ambition," he maintained in his New York Times Book Review piece that in her novel "the forces of good and evil are too clearly labeled" to provide Jos the opportunity to confront and resolve the involved internal conflict required in a coming-of-age novel. Reviewing War-child in Library Journal, Jackie Cassada found the book to present a "poignant tale of survival and courage," and she praised in particular Lowachee's "polished storytelling and convincing worldbuilding." In an online review for BookBrowser, Harriet Klausner also had praise for Lowachee, noting that the novelist's "thrilling story line cleverly balances plenty of action with full character development."


Born in South America and raised in Canada, Lowachee has always enjoyed traveling, and her varied life experiences helped her in creating the futuristic settings for Warchild. Discussing novel writing in an online interview with Samantha Ling for Strange Horizons, Lowachee explained that character development is one of writing's greatest fascinations for her. "Jos, the main character [of Warchild], is just a bundle of issues," Lowachee explained. "I find that fun and exciting. World building is fun but also a bit of a chore for me. Places are neat but ultimately what draws me to writing (and reading) are the people—all their facets, inconsistencies, opinions, and morals. I like dealing in grey areas."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, April 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Warchild, p. 127.

New York Times Book Review, February 24, 2002, Gerald Jonas, review of Warchild, p. 19.



ONLINE

BookBrowser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (February 11, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Warchild.

Crystalline Sphere,http://home.golden.net/~csp/ (June 19, 2002), James Schellenberg, review of Warchild.

Karin Lowachee Web site,http://www.karinlowachee.com/ (May 15, 2003).

SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (July, 2002), Alexander von Thorn, interview with Lowachee.

Strange Horizons,http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (June 3, 2002), Samantha Ling, interview with Lowachee; (January 6, 2003) Brian Peters, review of Warchild.

Time Warner Bookmark,http://www.twbookmark.com/ (January 5, 2003), "Karin Lowachee."

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