Finalist, 1985 John W. Campbell Award
Preliminary ballot, 1989 Nebula Award
Year's Best SF Recommended Author, 26th and 27th Annual Collections (2009 and 2010)
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Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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Elissa Malcohn began writing science fiction after Star Trek went off the air in 1969. New York's 1972 Star Trek convention saw her schlepping dozens of used books bought for a dime or a quarter apiece on the subway home to Brooklyn. That year she also received a Read Magazine Creative Writing Award, her first of various prizes. She took out her first magazine subscription, to Galaxy, which supplied her first (and exciting!) rejection slip.
Her work extends over 30+ years and across dozens of publications.
In 2007 Aisling Press published her novel Deviations: Covenant. To read about publication changes, see this blog entry.
Covenant was re-released in March 2009 and subsequent series books have followed. See Elissa's website for more info and additional publications news.
Elissa is a participant in Operation E-Book Drop, delivering free e-books to servicemen and women in the coalition Armed Forces; and Shadow Forest Authors, a fellowship of authors and supporters for charity.
Praise for the Deviations Series:
"If you are looking for something different with a great story line, I would suggest reading these books. They are very well written and draw the reader into the story, possibly against their will." -- Rachel Baker, Old Musty Books
"This is a dark series with a hidden deeper meaning. Malcohn’s books are a look at the world we live in. This is not an easy read but it is an important read."
-- Debra, at Goodreads.
"Rather than stuff judgements of right and wrong down the reader's throat, Malcohn asks questions, and leads the reader to find his own answers. Further, she develops the ideas of right and wrong from her characters' points of view, and the points of view of her various cultures....Get the whole series, and allot a large chunk of time for reading them, because once you pick them up you won't want to put them down." -- Wingborn, at HubPages
"If you're looking for a tale that clearly defines good guys and bad guys, this is not your read. But if you're looking for a story filled with immense heart, rich character development, vivid world building and -oh, by the way- is nothing short of great, old fashioned storytelling, you cannot do better than Malcohn's 'Deviations' series." -- K.L. Nappier, at Manybooks
"The world is rich, believable and consistent. The situation is brimming with potential. And I, for one, have never read anything quite like it." -- Scott T. Barnes, editor, New Myths
Praise for Covenant:
"Without sensationalized graphic violence or the glamorized pornography of pulp romance novels, Ms. Malcohn achieves what good science fiction/fantasy is intended to do. She has created a believable world, with characters with whom you can empathize, in a good story that is well and eloquently told....I give Deviations: Covenant five stars out of five." -- David Roth, Examiner
"Rich character development and fascinating central conflict quickly addict the reader to this story....the moral issues are so compelling, so thought-provoking, you’ll thank the author for presenting this perspective." -- Lady Emily, Redbud Book Club
"Take Ms. Elissa Malcohn ... whose novel Covenant shows some killer talent, and reminds this reader of that paragon of science fiction and fantasy: Robert Silverberg; and her oeuvre doesn’t stop there." -- Julianne Draper, Examiner
"This novel is the first in a projected series, and there is definitely enough material for series of books, series of movies, television series, fan-fic, etc. ... I recommend the novel & the author." -- reviewer Jean Roberta
"This book is a must read for any literary enthusiast. Elissa does a wonderful job in creating this world where the Masari and Yata live in this symbiotic relationship that is based upon ritualistic cannibalism (hence the term Covenant). In spite of the subject matter the novel is not some horrific blood bath, but a thoughtful look into the relationship between these two people groups. This balance that was created by the Covenant to preserve both races is threatened by forces from outside and within their own hearts to free themselves of this enslavement to their DNA and ecology, but may lose their societies should it be successfully destroyed. As heart wrenching as the Covenant is, extinction is worse. Join this journey of faith, doubts, heroic actions, and questionable ethics as this saga is played out upon the backdrop of this primordial world where anything can happen..." -- Glenda Finkelstein, writing here
"I state this with all due honesty and with as little bias as humanly possible. Read this woman's work. She's one of the best indie writers out there." -- K.L. Nappier, commenting here
"This is just the kind of book I like: too good to put down, but when it's over, you wish there were more and are sorry to see it end..." -- Gypsy Wynd, on Amazon
"Malcohn has built a very interesting and very well developed central conflict, and the development of the story is second to none..." -- Alan Petrillo, on Amazon
"The author's tone coaxes and guides the reader to judge the ethics of the situation instead of dictating right and wrong. Without revealing the surprising plot, I can say that the story had me creeped out at first, in the way many vampire novels do. But it has a much higher path to it. It's so well-written that once you're caught up in the action, you can't put the book down." -- FatChickDancing, on Amazon
"This novel is, in a word, riveting." -- L.W. Rogers
Elissa's novelette "Lazuli" (Asimov's, Nov. 1984) made her a finalist for the 1985 John W. Campbell Award for best new science fiction writer. Her story "Moments of Clarity" (Full Spectrum, Bantam, 1988) reached preliminary ballot for a Nebula (given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and was nominated for a Locus Award. "This one story is worth the price of the entire book," wrote Bruce D. Arthurs in the November, 1988, Out of This World Tribune.
What people are saying about...
"Judgment at Naioth" in She Nailed A Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror (Dybbuk Press, 2010)
"'Judgment at Naioth,' by Elissa Malcohn, begins with the image of a road that might have once been a river, evoking a sense of history and continuum immediately, but we’re then thrown into this modern, industrial world as a leather-clad girl dismounts her motorcycle to enter 'the navel of Yahweh,' a seedy warehouse-turned-nightclub. Once in the club she meets with the 'sallow-faced' Solomon with 'sticks...for arms and legs,' and we learn of the girl's rape, a prophesy for revenge, and talk of opening the slit between worlds. Strange and fascinating, the story blends the old and the new so well that I believe the old might have found that 'slit' into the new." -- Patricia Esposito, November Drift
"My absolute favorite of the anthology is Elissa Malcohn’s 'Judgment at Naioth,' a fantastic short about an Israel existing in a different time and place where the Philistines are a major drug gang and David is an aging musician in a dance club populated by prophets who are kept addicted to drugs. His eldest son Amnon is a ruthless mayor and his favorite son Absalom is among the denizens of the club. Solomon, a prophet in this strange world, has told David’s daughter Tamar that David must die to set the world right again; in another world David is a king whose forty-year reign is prosperous for his people. Ms. Malcohn has put an exciting spin on the Biblical story of King David with this one." -- Nick Cato, The Horror Fiction Review
"Flotsam" in Asimov's, October/November 2009
"As a young girl Mercedes discovered a biological 'impossibility' in the polluted coastal waters of her city. The discovery, and the way it was denied haunts her throughout her life in the working class world of the US-Mexican border. Working blue collar jobs, she spends her free time researching the impossibility she’s sure she remembers from childhood. An excellent story, which does particularly well at blending the story of Mercedes as a person between cultures into an sf story." -- Matt Bruensteiner, Garbled Signals
"Powerful, centered on a strong and memorable character." -- Lois Tilton, The Internet Review of Science Fiction
"Malcohn has given us a beautiful story." -- Sam Tomaino, SFRevu
"Flotsam" is on the recommended reading list in The Year's Best Science Fiction, 27th Annual Collection.
"Hermit Crabs" in 2009 Hugo Award-winner Electric Velocipede, issue #14
"There’s much to like about 'Hermit Crabs,' and I can see why the editors kicked off the issue with it." -- Marshall Payne, in The Fix
"'Hermit Crabs' by Elissa Malcohn is a strong opener and still resonates with me once I was through with the magazine. It features strong characterization and has that powerful, inevitable ending." -- Charles Tan, Bibliophile Stalker
"At first, I thought: 'Oh, no! another SF crab story!' Then I began reading and I thought: 'Oh, no! another depressed teen suicide story!' But unexpectedly, the more I progressed into the story, the more I enjoyed it; the characterization is good, the flashback structure is well done, the ending is surprising and satisfying. A valuable discovery for me..." -- Fabrice Doublet, on the Night Shade Books message boards
"Hermit Crabs" is on the recommended reading list in The Year's Best Science Fiction, 26th Annual Edition.
"Arachne" in 2009 IPPY Silver Medalist Riffing on Strings (Scriblerus Press)
"[M]y favorite is a psychedelic Greek-mythology-based short story called "Arachne," by Elissa Malcohn, first printed in Aboriginal Science Fiction way back in 1988 -- but you can see what has me all squeally." -- N.K. Jemisin
"Elissa Malcohn's story about Arachne, based on the Greek myth, was awesome." -- David C. Kopaska-Merkel
"Memento Mori" in 2009 Bram Stoker Award winner Unspeakable Horror (Dark Scribe Press)
"Standout stories include (but are certainly not limited to): 'Black Annis' by Joy Marchand, the tale of a true faerie who desperately wants to protects a pair of gay lovers; 'Memento Mori' by Elissa Malcohn, about a lover who comes back from the grave for her mate; 'I Am the Shadow that Walks There' by Michelle Scalise, a World War II era tale of love and devastating loss; and 'Memory Box' by Reesa Brown, a tale whose true darkness hits suddenly and unrelentingly. Unspeakable Horrors [sic] is highly recommended for all libraries." -- Michele Lee, Monster Librarian
"Out of 23 stories, you're bound to find one or two that suit you less than others, but Liaguno and Helder's batting average is pretty high. It's hard to beat Jameson Currier's Lovecraftian 'The Bloomsbury Nudes,' the pro-gay teenboy revenge scenario of Joy Marchand's 'Black Annis,' the beyond-the-grave poetry of Elissa Malcohn's 'Memento Mori' or the teen jack-off session gone horribly wrong in C. Michael Cook's 'The Boys of Bald Cave.'" -- Jerry Wheeler, Out In Print: Queer Book Reviews
A four-time Rhysling Award nominee for best speculative poetry of the year, Elissa edited the Science Fiction Poetry Association's journal Star*Line from 1986-1988. In 2008 she was keynote speaker at the conference of the Florida State Poets Association and was on the faculty of the Florida Writers Association conference.
More information is on her website, Malcohn's World.