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SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Tanith Lee

RIP Tanith Lee (1947-2015), a UK writer whose married name since 1992 was Tanith Lee Kaiine, though she continued to write under her own name; she began to publish work of genre interest with "Eustace" in The Ninth Pan Book of Horror Stories (anth 1968) edited by Herbert van Thal. Her first books were fantasies for children, beginning with The Dragon Hoard (1971); and then, beginning with The Birthgrave (1975), she focused primarily on Science Fantasy and pure fantasy for adults, often set in Planetary Romance venues where sf understories are varyingly emphasized, and sometimes ignored completely. Both these areas of concentration – children's stories and pure fantasy – lie outside the central focus of this encyclopedia, but it can be said that she was an inventive and fertile writer, that she encompassed her primary theme – the ethical and sexual initiation of an adolescent character into a volatile world s/he herself will shape, often through renunciation – in a wide variety of modes, and that, although her work differs vastly in tone and subject matter from that of C J Cherryh, both writers share a daunting comprehensiveness. Lee, however, never assembled her various singletons and series into one shared universe . . .

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