Sheri S. Tepper (1929-2016)

Author Sheri S. Tepper, 87, died October 22, 2016. Tepper was a prolific author of SF, best known for her feminist and ecological themes, with major titles including The Gate to Women’s Country (1988) and Grass (1989).

She was born Shirley Stewart Douglas on July 16, 1929 near Littleton CO. She married for the first time at 20 and had two children, but divorced in her late twenties, and spent ten years as a single mother working various jobs, including a clerical position with international relief agency CARE. In the late ’60s she married Gene Tepper. From 1962-86 she worked at Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood in Colorado, eventually rising to executive director. She left that position to become a full-time writer, and for many years ran a guest ranch in Santa Fe NM.

Her first publications were poems and children’s stories in the early ’60s under the name Sheri S. Eberhart, including poem “Lullaby, 1990” in Galaxy (12/63). She then took a long break from writing, returning in the ’80s. The first SF novel she wrote, standalone The Revenants, appeared in 1984, but her first published books were in the True Game series: King’s Blood Four (1983), Necromancer Nine (1983), and Wizard’s Eleven (1984). She wrote two other trilogies in that world: The Song of Mavin Manyshaped (1985), The Flight of Mavin Manyshaped (1985), and The Search of Mavin Manyshaped (1985), and Jinian Footseer (1985), Dervish Daughter (1986), and Jinian Star-Eye (1986). The Marianne trilogy is Marianne, the Magus and the Manticore (1985) Marianne, the Madame and the Momentary Gods (1988), and Marianne, the Matchbox and the Malachite Mouse (1989). The Ettison series has Blood Heritage (1986) and The Bones (1987). The Awakeners was first published in two volumes as Northshore (1987) and Southshore (1987). The Marjorie Westriding/Arbai series includes Grass (1989), Raising the Stones (1990), and Sideshow (1992). The Plague of Angels series is A Plague of Angels (1993), The Waters Rising (2010), and Fish Tales (2014), the latter also connected to the True Games world.

She wrote many standalone novels, including The Revenants (1984), After Long Silence (1987; as The Enigma Score, 1989), Locus Award winner Beauty (1991), Shadow’s End (1994), Gibbon’s Decline and Fall (1994), The Family Tree (1997), Six Moon Dance (1998), Singer from the Sea (1999) The Fresco (2000), The Visitor (2002), The Companions (2003), and The Margarets (2007). She wrote horror under the name E.E. Horlak, and mysteries as A.J. Orde and B.J. Oliphant.

Many of her novels were shortlisted for major awards, including the Clarke, the Tiptree, the Hugo, and the Campbell Memorial Award. Though she wrote short fiction only rarely, her novella “The Gardener” (1989) was a World Fantasy Award finalist. She received a World Fantasy life achievement award in 2015.