This is the latest in a recurring series! For more about the series, please read the original post on Marta Randall, or subsequent posts on Dorothy Heydt, Barbara Hambly, Jane Yolen, Suzy McKee Charnas, Sherwood Smith, Nisi Shawl, Pamela Dean, Gwyneth Jones , Caroline Stevermer, Patricia C. Wrede, Lois McMaster Bujold, Nancy Kress, Diane Duane, Candas Jane Dorsey, Greer Gilman,Robin McKinley,Laurie Marks, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Rosemary Kirstein.
Karen Joy Fowler’s speculative genre credentials are impeccable, and her mimetic genre credentials are also impeccable. It’s easy to immerse in her writing, knowing that when she applies a trope from one genre set or another, it’s on purpose, it’s all deliberate. Her work is as speculative as a particular piece needs it to be, no more and no less, but the range on that is huge, from the entirely mimetic Jane Austen Book Club to the first contact novel Sarah Canary.
Fowler has won bunches of awards, the World Fantasy, the Nebula, the PEN/Faulkner. But she also was one of the founders of another, the Otherwise Award which was formerly named the Tiptree. (It’s kind of a big deal.) That kind of appreciation of others shines through in her fiction and makes it more insightful and bigger-hearted. I’m never sure what I’m going to get in a Karen Joy Fowler story, but that’s actually the appeal–it is literally never “oh, this again,” it’s always a different balance and a different angle.