This is a beta version of NNDB
Search: for

C. J. Cherryh

C. J. CherryhAKA Carolyn Janice Cherryh

Born: 1-Sep-1942
Birthplace: St. Louis, MO

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Author

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Cyteen and Downbelow Station

Author C.J. Cherryh is best known for such novels as Cyteen (Hugo 1988), Downbelow station (Hugo 1989), Sunfall, The Dreaming Tree, Hellburner, Foreigner and Fortress in the Eye of Time. She is considered one of the foremost writers of "hard science fiction", exploring the implications of technology on individuals and society. She is noted for her expert control of language as well as her impressive imagination and her warped and subtle wit.

Born in St. Louis an adorable Shirley Temple look-alike, complete with blonde ringlets and dazzling smile, she grew up amidst the privations and shortages associated with the Second World War. She was precocious, independent, and always ahead of her age group. By the age of seven she had supposedly read her way through half the local library, at which point her family (now expanded to include little brother David and relocated to Lawton, Oklahoma) got its first television. She spent hours glued to televised broadcasts of Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Tom Corbett. When Cherryh was ten she began to write her own stories. And when she was sixteen, she would take off in the family car -- with the excuse of taking little David to the movies -- and zip off with her girlfriends to see the latest science fiction or adventure thriller.

After high school she attended college at the University of Oklahoma, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Latin. She went on to John Hopkins University, completing her M.A. in classics with a specialty in Roman law. As is so often the case, all this accomplishment led to few employment opportunities. Cherryh returned home to live with her parents and teach ancient history and Latin at the local high school. Her brother David, who found himself in her class in his senior year, remembers her as delightful teacher, who used all her wit as a storyteller to bring the past alive: "You did not just learn that Caesar fought in Gaul; you learned why he was there, who his enemies were in the Senate, what the economic situation was in Rome, how politics in Africa and the Middle East affected his decisions."

Cherryh did not give up her writing through all this however, but publication eluded her. She kept sending off manuscripts and getting them back, often so tattered and abused that she would have to retype them, often improving them in the process. In one instance her manuscript had been utterly lost, and it being her only copy she was forced to recreate the entire novel from scratch -- all of which she claims sharpened her skills as a writer and editor.

Finally, her Gate of Ivrel was accepted by DAW Books and published in 1976. So well crafted was it that she was awarded the John W. Campbell award in l976 for Best New Writer of the Year. She won a Hugo for her short story "Cassandra" three years later. Numerous other awards were to follow including the Hugo Awards for Down Below Station (1982) and Cyteen (1988); the latter also won the Locus Award for best science fiction novel.

Cherryh has since published more than 50 books, works of such complexity and length that her productivity astonishes many other writers in her genre (her Hugo-nominated Cuckoo's Egg took her only two weeks to write). Speed aside, she also brings to her plots and characters a complex and carefully thought out political, scientific, and psychological background/history, and her stories spin forth illuminating the repercussions on character and society -- all while telling an interesting tale. Cherryh fans admit she is a "hard read" but point out that you will never see the world the same way after reading one of her novels.

Brother: David A. Cherryh (artist)

    University: BA Latin, University of Oklahoma (1964)
    University: MA Classics, Johns Hopkins University (1965)

    Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Hugo 1982 for Downbelow Station
    Hugo 1985 for Chanur's Venture
    Hugo 1987 for Cuckoo's Egg
    Hugo 1989 for Cyteen

Official Website:

Author of books:
Gate of Ivrel (1976)
Brothers of Earth (1976)
Hunter of Worlds (1977)
Well of Shiuan (1978)
The Faded Sun,Kesrith (1978)
The Faded Sun, Shon'Jir (1979)
Fires of Azeroth (1979)
Hestia (1979)
The Faded Sun, Kutath (1980)
Serpent's Reach (1980)
Downbelow Station (1981)
Sunfall (1981)
Wave Without a Shore (1981)
Ealdwood (1981)
Merchanter's Luck (1982)
Port Eternity (1982)
The Pride of Chanur (1982)
The Dreamstone (1983)
The Tree of Swords and Jewels (1983)
Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983)
Voyager in Night (1984)
Chanur's Venture (1984)
The Kif Strike Back (1985)
Angel with the Sword (1985)
Cuckoo's Egg (1985)
Chanur's Homecoming (1986)
The Gates of Hell (1986, with Janet E. Morris)
Visible Light (1986)
Glass and Amber (1987)
Legions of Hell (1987)
Kings in Hell (1987, with Janet E. Morris)
Exile's Gate (1988)
The Paladin (1988)
Cyteen (1988)
Rusalka (1989)
Rimrunners (1989)
A Dirge for Sabis (1989, with Leslie Fish)
Wizard Spawn (1989, with Nancy Asire)
Reap the Whirlwind (1989, with Mercedes Lackey)
Chernevog (1990)
Yvgenie (1991)
Heavy Time (1991)
Hellburner (1992)
The Goblin Mirror (1992)
Chanur's Legacy (1992)
Faery in Shadow (1993)
Foreigner (1994)
Tripoint (1994)
Fortress in the Eye of Time (1995)
Invader (1995)
Rider at the Gate (1995)
Inheritor (1996)

Create a map starting with C. J. Cherryh
Requires Flash 7+ and Javascript.

Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile

Copyright ©2019 Soylent Communications