Nazarian, Vera 1966-
Nazarian, Vera 1966-
Born 1966, in the former Soviet Union; immigrated to the United States, 1976, naturalized U.S. citizen, 1999. Education: Pomona College, B.A., 1988. Hobbies and other interests: Painting, other arts and crafts, playing guitar, singing.
Writer. Has held various jobs dealing with technology. Member of band Normal Conquest.
Paintings shown in "Brand XXV Anniversary Exhibition," Brand Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA, 1995; "Art Addiction '96," Wirtz Gallery, Miami, FL, 1996; "LoneStarCon 2 Art Show, Worldcon '97," San Antonio, TX; and others.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, Network of Visionary Artists.
Dreams of the Compass Rose (novel), Wildside Press (Berkeley Heights, NJ,) 2003.
Lords of Rainbow, or, The Book of Fulfillment (novel), Betancourt (Doylestown, PA), 2003.
Vera Nazarian: Short Stories, Volume 1 (e-book), Fictionwise.com, 2003.
The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass (novella; limited edition), PS Publishing (Hornsea, East Yorkshire, England), 2005.
The Duke in His Castle (novella; limited edition self-illustrated), Papaveria Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2006.
Salt of the Air (short stories and novellas), Prime Books (Holicong, PA), 2006.
Contributor of short stories to anthologies, including Sword and Sorceress, Darkover, and Beyond the Last Star, and to magazines, including MZBFM, Talebones, On-Spec, Visionair SF, Maelstrom SF, Colonies SF, Jabberwocky, and Fantasy Magazine.
Author's work has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Czech, Hebrew, and Hungarian.
Vera Nazarian writes science fiction and fantasy stories that draw on such sources as myths, fables, and her Armenian and Russian heritage. On her Web site she describes herself as "arguably the only Armenian-Russian professional speculative fiction writer working in English today." When she was eight years old, she and her parents left what was then the Soviet Union and immigratedto Lebanon, Greece, and Italy before settling in the United States in 1976, when she was ten. She had her first short story published when she was seventeen, in an anthology edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley, whom she characterizes as a mentor. She continued to write extensively while working full-time in technology and performing in a band, selling numerous stories to magazines and anthologies, before publishing booklength works.
She once described her writing to interviewer Lazette Gifford for the online journal Vision: "What I write is heroic hopeful fiction of the imagination, fables and metaphors that present the world as a multilayered onion of realities, and my underlying eclectic philosophy." Her exposure to various cultures and facility for languages—she speaks several—has influenced her writing by giving her "an acceptance of many possibilities, an open-ended permanent state of wonder," she continued, adding: "Fiction of the imagination in all its flavors—also called speculative fiction—is the only ‘genre’ without boundaries."
Some reviewers considered first book, Dreams of the Compass Rose, to be on the boundary between a novel and a short-story collection. Nazarian, in her interview with Gifford, called it a "collage novel," in which the stories "flow one into the other and shape a greater story meta-arc of meaning when read in order." The rose of the title, she told Gifford, "is a unifying symbol, a metaphor of life's directions." The book, set in an alternative universe, follows numerous characters as they go in many directions, taking on challenges, dealing with moral issues, and seeking truth. Her effort received praise from several critics. The tales "are engaging and resonant, creating a new mythology that feels so right" that it seems it could have been based on actual events, commented Charles De Lint in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. A Publishers Weekly contributor thought this "morality tale about the temptation of illusion and the price of truth" featured "vital themes and engaging characters." Roland Green, writing in Booklist, remarked that Nazarian's "imagery is rich, vivid, and memorable" and summed up the work as "singularly appealing."
Her second novel, Lords of Rainbow, or, The Book of Fulfillment, is set in a world where color has not existed for many years. For protagonist Rahne, a female warrior, a struggle against evil forces is intertwined with a quest to restore color. Some critics found the story imaginative. In Library Journal, Jackie Cassada noted that Nazarian has created "a unique fantasy world." Cassada also found the novel marked by "fluid storytelling and vividly drawn characters." Meanwhile, Romantic Times Online reviewer Jen Exum complimented Nazarian's "innovative premise, consistent world-building, and appealing heroes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2002, Roland Green, review of Dreams of the Compass Rose, p. 1514.
Library Journal, May 15, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of Lords of Rainbow, or, The Book of Fulfillment, p. 131.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February, 2002, Charles De Lint, review of Dreams of the Compass Rose, p. 36.
Publishers Weekly, March 18, 2002, review of Dreams of the Compass Rose, p. 82; October 2, 2006, review of Salt of the Air, p. 43.
Romantic Times, March, 2003, Jen Exum, review of Lords of Rainbow, or, The Book of Fulfillment.
Strange Horizons,http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (January 18, 2006), Martin Lewis, review of The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass.
Vera Nazarian Home Page, http://www.veranazarian.com (January 4, 2007).
Vision,http://www.fmwriters.com/ (March 1, 2002), Lazette Gifford, interview with Vera Nazarian.