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Marta Randall

Marta Randall’s first story was published in 1972 in Michael Moorcock’s New Wave anthology, NEW WORLDS 5. Since that time she has written 8 novels (one a Nebula nominee), over 20 pieces of short fiction (one a Nebula nominee), and various pieces of non-fiction. She has taught writing since the early 1970’s at the University of California Extension and various Clarion workshops. She served one term as Vice-President and two terms as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and has become a highly-skilled cat-herder.

Born in Mexico City, she grew up in Berkeley, California, and lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area. Finding life on earthquake faults tedious, she now lives on the side of an active volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i with two dogs and four cats. She was asked to promise not to turn into a Crazy Cat Lady but is still thinking about that.


Mapping Winter: A character and a world that will stick with me

Mapping Winter by Marta Randall

Mapping Winter (2019) is Marta Randall’s reworking of her 1983 novel, The Sword of Winter. (Randall talks more about the story behind the book here.) Its release as Mapping Winter was followed shortly by the all-new sequel The River South, with the two novels making up the RIDERS GUILD series. It’s a secondary-world fantasy, but without magic; I was about two-thirds of the way through the book when I realized, “Huh, I don’t think there’s been any magic!” What it does have is a nation poised between feudalism and industrialization.

The Riders are a venerable organization of messengers who travel around the country of Cherek. They bring the news, spread proclamations, and are responsible for... Read More

The River South: Beautiful and challenging

The River South by Marta Randall

Iset, nicknamed Shrug, is the daughter of Kieve Rider, the heroine of Marta Randall’s Mapping Winter. Please note that this review contains some spoilers for Mapping Winter.

The River South (2019), the second RIDERS GUILD book, picks up Iset’s story starting when she is thirteen. This isn’t a warm and fuzzy mother-daughter relationship. Kieve left Iset with the Guild as an infant, and now has been missing for many years. The novel opens with a kidnapping or assassination attempt on Iset as she’s holed up in one of her favorite hiding places.

This attack draws the attention of the Lord of Kyst and his lover, Daenet, who are stra... Read More