McMahon, Donna 1959-

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McMAHON, Donna 1959-


Born 1959, in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Education: Capilano College, graduated; Simon Fraser University, B.A.


Home—Shaughnessy and Gibson's Landing, British Columbia, Canada. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Tor Books, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010. E-mail—[email protected].


Worked in public relations, medical writing, and office support for businesses, including Vancouver Art Gallery, Petro-Canada, Reid Crowther, and B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities; QLT, Vancouver, BC, Canada, staff member; writer. Chairman of science-fiction conventions, including V-Con, Banffcon, and Westercon.


Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, SF Canada, B.C. Science Fiction Association.


Dance of Knives, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Contributor to periodicals, including On Spec, Vancouver Sun, Medical Post, and American Libraries Journal.


Second Childhood, a sequel to Dance of Knives.


Donna McMahon is a native of the Vancouver area who writes science fiction based in the Canadian northwest. McMahon finds her inspiration in the urban neighborhoods of Vancouver as well as in news reports of global warming and world economics. Her debut novel, Dance of Knives, begins in 2108, when young Klale Renhardt rejects the repressive tactics of her Fishers Guild and runs off to half-flooded Vancouver seeking her fortune. What Klale finds in Vancouver is a city of rival gangs and vigilante justice run by powerful tong lords who control people by physical and psychological brain manipulation. When Klale finds a job at the KlonDyke bar, she befriends Blade, the personal slave of a criminal named Mr. Choi. As the action unfolds, Klale and her employer Toni struggle to free Blade from his slavery before he runs amok.

McMahon received warm reviews for Dance of Knives, with some critics particularly applauding the maturity of the plot and prose. On Harriet Klausner noted that the author "has written a powerful tale that belies the fact that this is her debut novel." New York Times Book Review columnist Gerald Jonas commended the novel as a "complex narrative—a technologically aware and emotionally wrenching twist on the old tale of Beauty and the Beast," while in Booklist, Roberta Johnson called Dance of Knives a "fiery debut" and a "riveting, exciting novel." Jackie Cassada concluded in Library Journal that the work combines "the rapid-fire appeal of cyber-punk with edgy high-tech sf." According to Tom Easton in Analog: Science Fiction and Fact, McMahon "does a nice job. Her characters are fully and complexly human, and she deals with them well, even as she constructs a tale of reasonable extrapolation and satisfying suspense."

McMahon, who works for a biotechnology firm, divides her time between homes in Vancouver and neighboring Gibson's Landing. She likes to organize science-fiction conventions in the Pacific Northwest.



Analog: Science Fiction and Fact, October, 2000, Tom Easton, review of Dance of Knives, pp. 132-133.

Booklist, July, 2001, Roberta Johnson, review of Dance of Knives, p. 1992.

Library Journal, September 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Dance of Knives, p. 117.

New York Times Book Review, July 29, 2001, Gerald Jonas, review of Dance of Knives, p. 2001.

Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2001, review of Dance of Knives, p. 67.

ONLINE, (June 10, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of Dance of Knives.

Donna McMahon's Home Page, (June 10, 2004).*

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McMahon, Donna 1959-

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