Marks, Laurie J. 1957-
MARKS, Laurie J. 1957-
Born March 27, 1957, in Newport Beach, CA; daughter of Donald Monroe (an engineer and farmer) and Marjory Gretchen (a homemaker and marketing manager; maiden name, Berlin) Marks; partner of Deb Mensinger. Education: Attended Westmont College; Brown University, B.A., 1980; also earned advanced degree. Politics: "Eco-feminist with elements of democratic socialism."
Author. Farm manager of family-owned orange grove, Riverside, CA, 1980-89; farmer in San Luis Obispo County, CA, beginning 1989. Youth Service Center, Inc., secretary, 1985-87; Riverside County Coalition for Alternatives to Domestic Violence, program assistant, 1987-88; Rape Survivors' Support Group, Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, volunteer facilitator, 1988-89; Children's Advocacy Council of Riverside, secretary/coordinator, 1988-89; San Luis Obispo Literary Council, administrative assistant, beginning 1990. University of Massachusetts, Boston, instructor in creative writing, composition, and science fiction.
Science Fiction Writers of America, Massachusetts Teachers Association.
"CHILDREN OF TRIAD" SERIES
Delan the Mislaid, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1989.
The Moonbane Mage, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1990.
Ara's Field, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Dancing Jack, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Fire Logic (Volume One of "Elemental Logic" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2002.
Earth Logic (Volume Two of "Elemental Logic" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Water Logic and Air Logic.
A native Californian transplanted to Massachusetts, Laurie J. Marks writes fantasy novels for young adult readers. She began with Volume One of her "Children of the Triad" series, Delan the Mislaid. The title character of this novel is an outwardly deformed but inwardly gifted creature who finds his true calling when he undergoes a metamorphosis into a member of the Aeyrie, a race of beautiful, winged hermaphrodites. "I wanted to point out that an ugly duckling in one culture may be a swan in another," the author once commented. "My own experiences as a strange, isolated child and my continuing loneliness as an adult were fuel for this story. But I recently realized that it is an incredible, wonderful strength. I taught Delan this lesson too."
Delan the Mislaid was rejected by two publishers, though one of them, DAW Books, encouraged Marks to keep sending her manuscripts. She did, and the resulting trilogy was published between 1989 and 1993. Regarding that novel, Don D'Ammassa of St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers noted that "one of the most difficult tasks in science fiction or fantasy is to write a story in which the protagonist is not a human being without making it difficult for the reader to identify with that character." Marks, the essayist continued, "proved equal to the demand." In D'Ammassa's view, the three books of the "Children of the Triad" series constitute "a genuine trilogy in that the individual books are separate tales and not just sections of a larger work."
In Part Two of Marks's trilogy, The Moonbane Mage, "I asked myself what it is that makes people do the horrible things they do to each other," Marks once commented. "By this time, I had done a lot of work with young people and adults who had been physically or sexually assaulted by people who they loved and trusted. For both my protagonist, Laril, who often behaved badly, and the evil mage, who behaved even worse, the explanation for their behavior was the same: when people are hurt, they tend to hurt others."
The Moonbane Mage centers on Laril, also of the Aeyrie, and heir to the leadership of the race. "Unfortunately," commented D'Ammassa, "Laril is headstrong and thoughtless and commits a crime for which exile is the only suitable punishment." Sent to a distant Aeyrie kingdom, Laril must confront its despotic ruler, Raulyn, who plans to use the race's technological gifts to overtake the world. "The sequel lacks some of the original novelty of the first," decided D'Ammassa, "and the villain lacks real substance, but the rest of the characters are well delineated and the aerial duels are convincing and thrilling."
The author once commented that "both Delan and Moonbane are highly personalized stories of people who have been accidentally caught up in ethnic and/or political conflict and whose decisions and actions can catapult or prevent genocide of one of the world's intelligent species. In both of these books, because the point of view was so narrow, I could only effectively resolve a small part of the larger world conflict. I felt I had to write a third book to really finish the story, and so I wrote Ara's Field, in which the three protagonists represent each of the world's three intelligent species."
Ara's Field takes place in the divided world of the Aeyrie, with the winged race ruling the air, the Walkers dominant on land, and the Mer residing in the sea. "The rivalry among them has often been violent," explained D'Ammassa. Some sanctuary is found on Triad, "where representatives of all three races have found a way to live in uneasy but lasting harmony." However, a series of assassinations results in a framing of the Mer, prompting hero Delan to find the true identity of the killers.
The elements of nature Marks addresses in the "Children of the Triad" books—wind, water, fire, and earth—figure into her later fiction. Her "Elemental Logic" series kicked off in 2002 with Fire Logic, which a Publishers Weekly reviewer observed is "filled with an intelligence that zings off the page." The sole survivor of warfare in the land of Shaftal, Zanja becomes a resistance fighter who uses her gift of fire, manifested in premonitions, to battle the murderous Sainnites. Though a Kirkus Reviews critic was less than enchanted with Fire Logic, saying that the author's "flimsy backdrop and far-fetched plotting doom this [book] to mediocrity," Harriet Klausner of Bookbrowser was more enthusiastic. Fire Logic, she remarked, "is an exciting fantasy tale that has an epic backdrop, but focuses more on the personalities."
"I tend to address a lot of social issues in my writing," Marks once commented. "I am intensely concerned about ecology, world peace, feminism, and issues of violence and victimization. These concerns can't help but shape the stories I write. I tend to work with unusual ideas and characters. For example, the Aeyrie race in my books is a race of hermaphrodites—people who are simultaneously male and female. I take great delight in using these characters to challenge our definitions of 'masculine' and 'feminine.' But my primary goal is to create characters so vibrant and alive that they jump off the page and to then tell their stories in an exciting and satisfying way."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of Fire Logic, p. 461.
Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, September, 1991, review of Ara's Field, p. 26; January, 1993, review of The Watcher's Mask, p. 17; March, 1994, review of Dancing Jack, p. 18.
Lambda Book Report, May, 1994, review of Dancing Jack, p. 40.
Library Journal, March 15, 1989, review of Delan the Mislaid, p. 89.
Locus, March, 1989, review of Delan the Mislaid, p. 19; April, 1990, review of The Moonbane Mage, p. 21; April, 1991, review of Ara's Field, p. 23; June, 1991, review of Ara's Field, p. 31; June, 1992, review of The Watcher's Mask, p. 61; October, 1993, review of Dancing Jack, p. 27; December, 1993, review of Dancing Jack, p. 54; February, 1994, review of Dancing Jack, p. 75.
Publishers Weekly, February 10, 1989, review of Delan the Mislaid, p. 65; April 22, 2002, review of Fire Logic, p. 55.
Science Fiction Chronicle, May, 1989, review of Delan the Mislaid, p. 38; January, 1994, review of Dancing Jack, p. 33.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1990, review of The Moonbane Mage, p. 168; February, 1993, review of The Watcher's Mask, p. 352.
Wilson Library Bulletin, January, 1991, review of The Moonbane Mage, p. 115.
Women's Review of Books, July, 1990, review of The Moonbane Mage, p. 40.
Bookbrowser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (July 16, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Fire Logic.*