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Naomi Kritzer

Naomi Kritzer was born in North Carolina, grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and also lived in Indiana and Houston, Texas before she turned five. She spent a year living in London when she was 13. She moved to Minnesota to attend college, and hasn’t left. She and her husband and have two daughters and three cats. Learn more at her website.


Fires of the Faithful: Sad, frightening, stirring

Fires of the Faithful by Naomi Kritzer

Eliana’s music-conservatory education is uneventful until Mira and the new song arrive. Mira is her new roommate; Eliana is drawn to her but suspects she is lying about her past. The song — a catchy little ditty about a murderous stepmother –may actually be a cover for a controversial idea. Then the inquisitors of the Fedeli show up at the conservatory, looking for heretics. Eliana is shocked and angered when a friend is executed —— and shocked again when she learns the secret cause behind a famine that has been plaguing the land.

Fires of the Faithful is set in an alternate Italy of roughly the Renaissance period. It follows Eliana as she leaves the conservatory behind, travels through the devastated countryside, and eventually becomes a rebel leader. A music student may seem like an unlikely revolutionary, but Naomi Kritzer shows how her peasant common se... Read More

Catfishing on CatNet: A clowder of catastrophes, catalysts and catharsis

Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer

In this worthy Nebula (Andre Norton Award) finalist by Naomi Kritzer we meet Steph, a girl who has spent most of her life on the run with her mother. According to her mom, Steph’s abusive father is extremely dangerous and, after spending a couple of years in jail for arson, he’s stalking them. Steph and her mom keep fleeing to small towns, trying to get lost, but eventually her mom gets nervous again and wants to move on. This means that Steph keeps starting at new schools and never has time to settle in and make friends. Her mom, anxious and paranoid, is not a good source of comfort or companionship.

Steph’s only source of stability is CatNet, a social media site where users are assigned by the site’s administrators to chat rooms called Clowders. At CatNet, Steph is known as LittleBat and she has... Read More

Magazine Monday: Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2012

The best story in the May/June issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is the novella, “”Maze of Shadows” by Fred Chappell. And isn’t it lovely that a man who has won numerous literary prizes, is known for his poetry and essays, and was the poet laureate of North Carolina, is writing fantasy? And writing it beautifully, as well. The novella is one of his series about Falco, who is training to become a shadow master under the tutelage of Maestro Astolfo. A shadow master is one who works with shadows belonging to people and animals to create traps for the eyes, to harm and to help. The commission at issue in this story is one received from a baron, who wishes to have a chateau booby-trapped to protect his most precious possession. Falco does not know what this treasure is, but he creates a masterpiece of misdirection, one certain to lead any thief to his certain death. But a blind man easily defeats the maze, returning with Astolfo’s te... Read More

Magazine Monday: Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November/December 2012

The November/December 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is a mixed bag. Some of the fiction is excellent; some is not.

The best story in this issue is Naomi Kritzer’s “High Stakes,” a novelette that is a sequel to “Liberty’s Daughter” from the May/June 2012 issue (about which I said that I hoped there would be sequels). The setting for the story is a fictional, near future group of platforms and decommissioned cruise ships and other floating flat places in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that serve as home for several groups who found existing governments distasteful. The narrator, Rebecca, is a high-schooler whose father has a position of importance, though we never learn exactly what it is. We do know that he is highly invested in keeping things as they are on the seasteads, and that includes bonded labor — indenture... Read More

Magazine Monday: Asimov’s, April/May 2013

The April/May 2013 issue of Asimov’s leads off with a difficult but exciting novella by Neal Asher entitled “The Other Gun.” It portrays a complicated universe in which humanity has found itself at war with a race called the prador, which is ruthless, merciless and completely uninterested in compromise. It has already exterminated several species when it runs into humans, and a survivor of one of those wars, a member of a hive species, has allied itself with humans. The narrator of this tale is a parasitologist and bio-synthesist who was working on a biological weapon to be used against the prador when he was reassigned to work for the Client, as he knows the survivor of another species. The Client has somehow managed to steal a prador cargo ship, and is using it to hunt down pieces of a doomsday weapon called a farcaster that had been broken up and scattered across the galaxy. The narrator no longer has a human body in any sense that we... Read More

SHORTS: Robson, Shoemaker, Levine, Emrys, Maberry, Kritzer

Here are some of the stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. For the next few weeks we'll be focusing on 2015 Nebula-nominated short fiction.

Waters of Versailles by Kelly Robson (2015, free at, $0.99 for Kindle). Nominated for the 2015 Nebula Award (Novella).

Waters of Versailles centres on an unorthodox protagonist in Sylvain de Guilherand. Sylvain... Read More

SHORTS: Kritzer, Valentine, Robson, McClellan, Reed

Our feature exploring free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read that we want to share with readers.

“Field Biology of the Wee Fairies” by Naomi Kritzer (2018, free at Apex Magazine, $2.99 Kindle magazine issue)When Amelia turns fourteen, everyone assures her that she’ll catch her fairy soon. Almost every girl catches a fairy, and the fairy will give you a gift if you promise to let her go. The gift is always something like “beauty or charm or perfect hair or something else that made boys notice you.” What n... Read More

SHORTS: Bolander, Kritzer, Padgett, Moore & Kuttner

SHORTS: Our exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few Hugo-nominated stories we've read recently. (Due to Mother's Day and other life events, SHORTS appears on a Wednesday this week.)

“The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat” by Brooke Bolander (2018, free at Uncanny Magazine, $3.03 Kindle magazine issue). 2019 Hugo award nominee (short story).

I was intrigued by the title of “The ... Read More

SHORTS: Hugo and Locus Award finalists

This week's SHORTS column features some of the 2021 Locus and Hugo award finalists in the novelette and short story categories.

“Wait for Night” by Stephen Graham Jones (2020, free at

Chessup is a day laborer working as part of a crew outside of Boulder, Colorado, helping to clean up a creek that was filled with trash in the aftermath of a flood. At the end of the day, looking to borrow a battery from the crew’s bulldozer to jumpstart his old car, Chessup finds something very old tangled up in the roots of a tree that the bulldozer had pulled down.

With visions of selling his discovery to a pawnbroker for cash, Chessup sets about removing it from the tangle of tree roots. He’s about to leave when his co-worker Burned Dan, who wears a bandanna over his face l... Read More

More books by Naomi Kritzer

Dead Rivers — (2004-2006) Publisher: The tale of an impetuous young woman, freeborn in a world of slavery and magic — twenty-year-old Lauria is the favorite aide to Kyros, a powerful military officer. On his authority, she is messenger, observer, and spy. But now she is entrusted with a mission more dangerous than any that have come before Freedom’s Gate. After years of relative peace, word has come to Kyros’s compound that the bandit tribe known as the Alashi is planning an offensive. It is up to Lauria to infiltrate the Alashi by posing as an escaped slave — a charge that requires she serve in the household of a neighboring officer. From there, she will stage an escape and continue on in her guise as a runaway. But posing as a slave — a virgin concubine, no less — may prove the least of her troubles. For even if she does escape and the Alashi do accept her, how can this freeborn woman convince them she is slave, not spy? And, worse, what if her own views are gradually changing, calling everything she believes about her world into question?

Naomi Kritzer review Dead Rivers 1. Freedom's Gate 2. Freedom's Apprentice 3. Freedom's SistersNaomi Kritzer review Dead Rivers 1. Freedom's Gate 2. Freedom's Apprentice 3. Freedom's SistersNaomi Kritzer review Dead Rivers 1. Freedom's Gate 2. Freedom's Apprentice 3. Freedom's Sisters