Joan Aiken, English-born daughter of American poet Conrad Aiken, began her writing career in the 1950s. Working for Argosy magazine as a copy editor but also as the anonymous author of articles and stories to fill up their pages, she was adept at inventing a wealth of characters and fantastic situations, and went on to produce hundreds of stories for Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Vanity Fair and many other magazines. Some of those early stories became novels, such as The Silence of Herondale, first published fifty years ago in 1964. Although her first agent famously told her to stick to short stories, saying she would never be able to sustain a full-length novel, Joan Aiken went on to win the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for The Whispering Mountain, and the Edgar Alan Poe award for her adult novel Night Fall. Her best known children's novel, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, was acclaimed by Time magazine as 'a genuine small masterpiece'. In 1999 she was awarded an MBE for her services to children's literature, and although best known as a children's writer, Joan Aiken wrote many adult novels, both modern and historical, with her trademark wit and verve. Many have a similar gothic flavour to her children's writing, and were much admired by readers and critics alike. As she said 'The only difference I can see is that children's books have happier endings than those for adults.' You have been warned . . .
Ray Aldridge was born in 1948. He has published a three-volume series, The Emancipator, featuring ex-slave investigator Ruiz Aw. The volume titles are The Pharaoh Contract, The Emperor of Everything and The Orpheus Machine. Short stories by Aldridge appeared in Full Spectrum 4 (1993) and The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: A 40th Anniversary Anthology. Among his shorter works are Steel Dogs (1989), Gate of Faces (1991), a Nebula Best Novelette nominee (1992) and The Beauty Addict (1993), a Nebula Best Novella nominee (1994).
Piers Anthony has written dozens of bestselling science fiction and fantasy novels. Perhaps best-known for his long-running MAGIC OF XANTH series, many of which appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List, he has also had great success with THE INCARNATIONS OF IMMORTALITY series and the CLUSTER series as well as BIO OF A SPACE TYRANT and others.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 -1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered a major innovation in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry, and non-fiction.