Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Douglas, Carole Nelson

(1944-    ) US writer known for her sf and for a considerable amount of fantasy. She began her publishing career with a historical romance, Amberleigh (1980); her first work of genre interest is the Kendri and Irissi or Sword and Circlet sequence: Six of Swords (1982), Exiles of the Rynth (1984), Keepers of Edanvant (1987), Heir of Rengarth (1988) and Seven of Swords (1989). The series begins in a thinned (> Thinning) Earth from which Irissi, the last survivor of a Pariah-Elite race with Talents which has vanished along with all Magic, must attempt to escape, with her Companions (including a wise Cat); the second volume follows the cast through a Portal into another land, but the sequence begins to assert itself only with the final three volumes, which work as a trilogy, and which introduce, in the evil sorcerer Geronfrey, a formidable enemy. The remainder of the long tale depicts the strife between Irissi and the malicious Wizard. There are discussions and manifestations of power, suffering and Bondage, but the general sense is that ambitious goals have not fully been realized.

The Taliswoman sequence – Cup of Clay (1991) and Seed Upon the Wind (1992) – is more formidably constructed, and subjects its female protagonist to Veil, an Otherworld run according to a strictly enforced misogyny; moreover, the Littlelost – children abused and abandoned because they are "imperfect" – are exiled from society. The protagonist (in a plot-move typical of CND) begins to argue with and eventually to share her life and adventures with a man who is, in a sense, her Double, and from whose Quest she supplants him. In the second volume, the two redeem Veil, which had become desiccated through the loss of its cup. There are moments throughout when substantive issues are faced directly.

CND has also written two series whose fantasy content, though subdued, is central. The Irene Adler sequence – Good Night, Mr Holmes (1990), Good Morning, Irene (1991), Irene at Large (1992) and Irene's Last Waltz (1994) – is Gaslight Romance. concerning the one woman who fascinated Sherlock Holmes. The Midnight Louie sequence – Crystal Days (1990), Crystal Nights (1990), Catnap: A Midnight Louie Mystery (1992), Pussyfoot: A Midnight Louie Mystery (1993), Cat on a Blue Monday (1994) and Cat in a Crimson Haze (1995) – is told (though only partially in the first two) from the point of view of Midnight Louie, a sentient Cat. [JC]

Carole Nelson Douglas

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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.