Kristine Kathryn Rusch

2 Dec

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is an award-winning author who has written fiction in many genres – including science fiction, horror, romance and mystery as well as what she is best known for, fantasy. As if that weren’t enough, she has also found time to edit a number of genre magazines. With all of this on her plate, it constantly surprises me to see that she is able to produce original, inventive and thought-provoking short stories and novels. Take one of her most famous efforts, Hitler’s Angel, which tells the story of Annie, a young American student in the 1970s investigating the death of Hitler’s niece Geli Raubal, who was famously found dead of a gunshot wound in 1931. Although at the time Geli’s death was ruled suicide, the suspicion of murder has always remained and Annie finds and interviews the retired detective in Munich who led the original investigation in the 1930s. Slowly but surely, in a tale often told in flashback by the detective, layer upon layer of mystery surrounding Geli’s death is lifted and the horrifying truth is revealed. I’ve often thought that Hitler’s Angel might make a terrific film, not least because of Rusch’s startling ability to create pictures with her prose and this is a common feature of much of her writing.

For those looking for more traditional fantasy fare, one of Rusch’s most successful series of novels concerns her world of ‘The Fey’. Set in an alternate world which the elf-like Fey, who can be cruel and capricious, have largely conquered, this is a series which is epic in scope, crossing worlds and centuries. Whilst the universe that Rusch presents is richly imagined, what makes these novels stick in my mind is the fact that they are filled with magic, treachery, and unexpected love. These Fey are a million miles away from Tolkien’s elves and are presented with all of the flaws that humans have, but magnified to a dramatic extent. Be warned, Rusch does not stint on the violent, sexual side of the Fey either; the story is often unpredictable and filled with shocking turns of events. For me, though, this is what ensures that the series remains fresh and readable even fifteen years after the first book was published.

As well as historical mystery and fantasy, Rusch is a highly respected science fiction author and has written a number of tie-in novels in the Star Trek, Star Wars and X-Men universes. In my view, however, Rusch’s finest sci-fi work is set in her own created worlds, in particular her stories about Boss, a sort of female Indiana Jones from the future. In Diving into the Wreck and City of Ruins, we are treated to high-adrenaline, imaginative tales of intrigue and danger set in strange galaxies full of weird discoveries for Boss. Boss makes an appealingly no-nonsense first person narrator, which keeps the reader grounded during her otherwise fantastical adventures.

The above is just a snapshot of a writer of extraordinary versatility and I’d recommend that you seek out one of Rusch’s short stories if you’re thinking of reading any of her novel series. If you like what you read, the chances are that you’ll find Rusch’s writing style engaging enough to give her more substantial work a try. Being the nice, kind blogger that I am (!) I thought I’d give you a start. The following link will take you to one of Rusch’s most recently published short stories Unnatural Disaster – enjoy!

4 Responses to “Kristine Kathryn Rusch”

  1. raburcke December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    I shall be on the lookout for this name. for I also am a fan of fantasy. Also looking forward to reading some of your stories.

    • ashsilverlock December 2, 2011 at 10:10 am #

      Thanks so much. I’ve just added a sample from one of my stories under the ‘Books’ section of this site. Do let me know what you think!

  2. Risa December 2, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    I’m really glad you came by my blog which has given me an opportunity to explore yours. I think this might be a good place for me to find new-to-me writers of high fantasy. 😀 I’d never heard of Rusch and Tad Williams until moments ago when I read your posts on them. Thank you for the Rusch-sample. I’ve bookmarked it to read at a more leisurely pace later. I think short stories are the best to be introduced to a new author, and to help one decide if their style and ideas suit.

    I’ve always been curious by people’s fascination of Robert Jordan. Even had my interest in his Wheel of Time series continued beyond Book 5, I doubt I’d have ever ranked him as one of the fantasy greats. I think it’s mainly because I thought he rambled on too much, and his characters, especially his women characters, were horrendously cantankerous!

    Am looking forward to frequenting your blog! 🙂

    • ashsilverlock December 2, 2011 at 11:03 am #

      My pleasure 🙂

      Although I really like his early books, I think I fell out of love with Robert Jordan the more WOT books he wrote. I was saddened when I heard that he died a few years ago, though, and I think that Brandon Sanderson has done an incredible job so far on the last few WOT novels.

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