Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Natalia Mazova



First off, the woman's name is really spelled Nataliya Mazova. But since Natalia is a pretty standard English transliteration of the name, I'm going with that.

Natalia Mikhailovna Mazova doesn't seem to have a webpage. From various convention photo pages, I gather that she lives in St. Petersburg. She co-wrote Golden Sun (2002), a pirate/fugitive princess fantasy set on the terraformed Moon, with Dmitri Volodikhin. Some of the stories included in her first novel, The Green Flame's Confession (2002), have been up on the net since 1997 at least. So she's pretty much a fan turned pro.

She does have three reviews up on ozon.ru, one of which schools the young Mercedes Lackey for Arrow's Flight with a precision and thoroughness that I wish had come under Lackey's own eyes many years ago.

It also includes the following pithy remark: "For some reason, when they take up feminism -- from Ursula Le Guin to Marion Zimmer Bradley -- they all try to trample their heroines into the mud, to make them almost man's property, in order to show how women then rise from the mud and do man's work...the fight for women's rights is more important for the author than those rights themselves...."

Mazova also has two essays up, both of which are well worth reading or translating: "The Fairy Tale Couple, or the Icebergs of Domestic Fantasy" (ie, Russian fantasy), and "Cross on the Mountain, or the Lord God's Secret Service". In the latter, she goes into the importance of religion and the "regressor" in contemporary Russian ideals, and mentions the existence of a "sacral fantasy" subgenre. Definitely something to look into. Elsewhere we find her essay "Bronze Dragon and Silver Lynx, or The Sociologist Knows Everything".

Also, she and Volodikhin have a gaming essay up on olmer.ru -- "To Return with Fire in Your Palms: Fantasy in the Role-Playing Game Subculture". This begins with the authors important to LARPs, and then goes on to mention many of Russia's distinguished gamer-filkers by name -- though in their fanfic-writing personas. They go on to analyze what makes "internal" gamer literature work for gamers (and not for outsiders), and why people write that way (to maximize emotional involvement). But unlike many surveys of fanfic, it ends in the hope of learning how to transfer the good bits of fanfic to outside literature, and its ideals to the world. They call it the dream of bringing back this "invisible fire" from the other side in your hands, and changing the conditions here so that it will never go out.

Finally, many of Mazova's Tolkien poems are still available on the Net under her handle Tallae, at numenore.nm.ru and Elinor's Archive.

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