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Melissa Scott

Lisa Barnett(1960- )
Melissa Scott has won numerous prestigious awards for her fantasy and science-fiction writing. Scott studied history at Harvard College and Brandeis University, and earned her PhD. in comparative history. She resides in New Hampshire. Here’s Melissa Scott’s blog.

Five-Twelfths of Heaven: A trilogy worthy of rediscovery

Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott

The first volume of Melissa Scott's highly-regarded Roads of Heaven trilogy is an unusual SF novel in that it treats indistinguishable-from-magic science pretty much as if it were magic. It's the sort of thing that makes scientific purists (and guys like me) roll our eyes much of the time. If I have a pet peeve, it's when a "science" fiction story hits me with paranormal, unscientific concepts. If that's what you want to write, then just write paranormal fiction. Scott avoids the claptrap trap, however, by defining her ground rules — precisely how these arcane concepts work within her milieu — early on in her story and then assiduously following them. The end result is an imaginative, compelling story for which even hard SF devotees shouldn't have trouble suspending disbelief. Throw in a believable trio of protagonists, solid space opera action, and some surprising social relevance ma... Read More

Silence in Solitude: Splendid space opera escapism

Silence in Solitude by Melissa Scott

Silence in Solitude smartly continues Melissa Scott's Roads of Heaven (Silence Leigh) trilogy, keeping the storyline fresh and invigorating by taking readers down unexpected new paths. This sophomore entry opens with Silence in training on the planet Solitudo Hermae to become the first female magus in history. Her sponsor, the magus Isambard, has agreed to train her in exchange for her taking him along once she discovers how to reach long-lost Earth.

Just to recap, Scott has developed an interesting, but sometimes too complex for its own good, notion of space travel utilizing metaphysical concepts. Spaceships are powered by "harmonics," and must be properly tuned like musical instruments so that they can leave the confines of the material universe and travel throughout "purgatory" (a concept similar to hyperspace). Though hard SF watchdogs will no doubt bristle, it's a... Read More

The Empress of Earth: I’m going to miss Silence Leigh

The Empress of Earth by Melissa Scott

I wish — oh, how I wish — I could say that Melissa Scott's Silence Leigh trilogy ends on its highest possible note. While The Empress of Earth does at long last offer the long-awaited payoff of the journey to Earth, that payoff may disappoint some readers. Some tedious and labored writing and a surprisingly conventional approach to space opera kept me from appreciating the book as well as I did its two prequels, particularly the rousing Silence in Solitude. The appeal of Scott's trio of lead characters is still solid, however. Readers who've made it this far will want to know Silence's destiny. And it's precisely that sort of character appeal that carries you over the novel's lulls.

Having finally won from the Satrap of Inarime, now the new Hegemon, the right to use his ancient portolan guide to find the long-lost star roads back to mothe... Read More

More books by Melissa Scott

Dreamships — (1992-1997) Publisher: A wealthy corporation owner hires a space pilot to track down her insane brother, a man who might have just created the first fully conscious artificial intelligence.

Melissa Scott Dreamships, Dreaming MetalMelissa Scott Dreamships, Dreaming Metal

Points — (1995-2014) With Lisa Barnett. Publisher: Nicholas Rathe is a pointsman, a watchman in the great city of Astreiant, the capital of the Kingdom of Chenedolle. It is the time of the annual trade fair, and the city is filled with travelers, and someone is stealing children. The populace is getting angry and frightened and is looking for someone to blame, especially some foreigner. Nicholas, in the midst of all this, must find the children and save the city.

Melissa Scott Lisa Barnett reviews 1. Point of Hopes 2. Point of DreamsMelissa Scott Lisa Barnett reviews 1. Point of Hopes 2. Point of Dreamsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Stand-alone novel: Melissa Scott The Game Beyond, A Choice of Destinies, The Kindly Ones, The Armor of Light

Melissa Scott The Game Beyond, A Choice of Destinies, The Kindly Ones, The Armor of LightThe Game Beyond — (1984) Publisher: A star-flung empire the prize — in a deadly war of succession.

A Choice of Destinies — (1986) Publisher: What might have happened had Alexander not marched into India, but turned back west? This is the question posed in Ms. Scott’s alternate history. Yet another revolt in Greece (even more serious than the historical revolt of King Agis of Sparta) forces Alexander to turn around and march back home. Having been thwarted then in his bid for India, he turns his interest west instead, to Rome and Carthage.

The Kindly Ones — (1987) Publisher: Orestes was a cruel world, cold and inhospitable. Its first colonists were castaways from a crash landing, clinging to survival through the institution of strict socio-political controls.Melissa Scott The Game Beyond, A Choice of Destinies, The Kindly Ones, The Armor of LightOver the generations life grew somewhat easier, but the code of honour remained. Misdeeds — and errors — were paid for with blood. At one time all miscreants were executed. Now a social death is imposed. Every Oresteian city has a colony of “ghosts”: ostracised citizens who must survive, somehow, without help from the living. But galactic civilisation is spreading — and Orestes is in its path. The old ways are under scrutiny. And though the Oresteian aristocracy will fight for the status quo, they have not reckoned on the power of a thousand ghosts.

Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett The Armor of LightThe Armor of Light — (1988) With Lisa Barnett. Publisher: In a slightly different England, in a slightly different summer of 1593, the Queen of England’s annual horoscope reveals a terrible danger lurking over her northern borders. The King of Scots is threatened by a mysterious wizard, and only the Queen’s champion, Sir Philip Sidney, can hope to avert disaster. Accompanied by the poet and sometime playwright Chrisopher Marlowe — who may or may not be a trustworthy ally — Sidney must find a way to protect King James whether the King wants it or not.Melissa Scott Mighty Good Road, Burning Bright, Trouble and Her Friends

Mighty Good Road — (1990) Publisher: IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED- HIRE IT DONE! What does a big corporation do when a job is too dirty and dangerous for its own employees? Why hire a freelancer, of course. That’s how salvage operators Gwynne Heikki and her sidekick Sten Djuro find themselves commissioned to make their way to the surface of an undeveloped planet where they are to find and return a lost cargo. Dangerous, maybe, and dirty certainly, but the job seemed simple enough–with just enough complication to make it “interesting”: the fact that the cargo locators had failed in the crash; that the place swarmed with dangerous animals; that the worst of those animals was of almost human intelligence and more than human ferocity… But there were a few problems that the company didn’t tell them about… It was almost as if their employers wanted them to fail–and to die in the process.

Melissa Scott Mighty Good Road, Burning Bright, Trouble and Her FriendsBurning Bright — (1993) Publisher: When space pilot Quinn Lioe gets shore leave on the planet of Burning Bright, she finds herself drawn into the world’s mixture of hi-tech games and fascinating political intrigue. Melissa Scott Mighty Good Road, Burning Bright, Trouble and Her Friends

Trouble and Her Friends — (1994) Publisher: India Carless, alias Trouble, managed to stay one step ahead of the feds until she retired from life as a hacker and settled down to run a small network for an artist’s co-op. Now someone has stolen her pseudonym and begun to use it for criminal hacking. So Trouble returns. Once the fastest gun on the electronic frontier, she has been called out of retirement for one last fight. And it’s a killer. Less than a hundred years from now, the forces of law and order crack down on the world of the internet. It is the closing of the frontier. The hip, noir adventurers who got by on wit, bravado, and drugs, who haunt the virtual worlds of the shadows of cyberspace are up against the edges of civilization. It’s time to adapt or die.

Melissa Scott Shadow Man, Night Sky Mine, The JazzShadow Man — (1995) Publisher: Living on a planet where one’s sex is a matter of choice, Warreven, whose decision to be a man precluded his marriage to the planet’s prince, suffers a bizarre identity crisis.Melissa Scott Shadow Man, Night Sky Mine, The Jazz

Night Sky Mine — (1996) Publisher: Ista Kelly, a foundling and the sole survivor of a pirate raid on an asteroid mine, journeys through a complex futuristic society, a world in which one’s official identity is all important, in search of her own true identity.

Melissa Scott The Shapes of Their HeartsThe Shapes of Their Hearts — (1998) Publisher: On the planet Idun, a computer tape of the uploaded mind of a prophet has been allowed to merge with an AI. The result is both a religious icon, a godlike being venerated by the faithful, and a powerful terrorist — with its computer avatars wreaking havoc off-planet. This is a god of whom many copies exist. Anton Tso is the human who must come up with a way to stop the terrorism without killing God. Melissa Scott Shadow Man, Night Sky Mine, The Jazz

The Jazz — (2000) Publisher: Tin Lizzy, a young woman techie with a criminal past, and Keyz, a teenage boy who used his parents access codes to borrow a Hollywood studios editing program, are on the run across the altered landscape of 21st century America from the studio police, and a megalomaniac CEO. The jazz is the new artform of the Internet in the new century.


Speculative fiction by Melissa Scott & Jo Graham

The Order of the Air  — (2012-2015) Melissa Scott & Jo Graham. Publisher: In 1929 archeologists began draining Lake Nemi in search of the mysterious ships that have been glimpsed beneath its waters since the reign of Claudius. What they awakened had been drowned for two thousand years. For a very good reason. Veteran aviator Lewis Segura has been drifting since the Great War ended, fetched up at last at the small company run by fellow veterans and pilots Alma Gilchrist and Mitchell Sorley, assisted by their old friend Dr. Jerry Ballard, an archeologist who lost his career when he lost part of his leg. It’s a living, and if it’s not quite what any of them had dreamed of, it’s better than much that they’ve already survived. But Lewis has always dreamed true, and what he sees in his dreams will take them on a dangerous chase from Hollywood to New York to an airship over the Atlantic, and finally to the Groves of Diana Herself….

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