Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Dalkey, Kara

(1953-    ) US writer, a member of the Scribblies from its founding in early 1980; she began publishing work of genre interest with "The Hands of the Artist" for Liavek (anth 1985) ed Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, and wrote some further stories for this Shared-World series. She began publishing novels with the Sagamore sequence – The Curse of Sagamore (1986) and The Sword of Sagamore (1989) – an initially light-hearted spoof of the Dynastic Fantasy, set in a nicely realized Fantasyland. The Curse dooms its bearer to become monarch of the Kingdom of Euthymia; the Humour of the first volume turns on the current heir's reluctance to don the mantle. The second features a somewhat more serious Quest for the now-missing sign of the curse, whose long-dead original generator, Sagamore himself, makes an appearance as Revenant and Companion.

Of more interest are KD's singletons. The Nightingale (1988) was published in the Fairy Tales series ed Terri Windling; it is based on "The Nightingale" by Hans Christian Andersen. Like its fellows, DK's rewritten version is both a Twice-Told tale and a Revisionist Fantasy, recasting the original and also examining it. The original nightingale is "played" here by a young girl whose singing entrances the Emperor of 9th-century Heian Japan, but whose actions are governed by a malign Ghost. She exorcizes the ghost and saves the Emperor from fatal illness through her song. DK's second singleton, Euryale (1988), is set in Rome in the 2nd century BC. Euryale is a Gorgon who has turned her lover to stone and is searching for a cure; also, as a minor Avatar of the Goddess, she is immured in the conflicts which eventually see patriarchal Gods – here represented by the male-oriented Athena – take charge. [JC]

Kara Mia Dalkey


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.