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Creator / Esther Friesner

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Esther Friesner (also known as Esther M. Friesner) is a fantasy author best known for her humorous works, though she spans the Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness. Friesner was named Outstanding New Fantasy Writer by Romantic Times in 1986. She won the Skylark Award in 1994. She has been nominated a number of times for the Hugo Award and Nebula Award, winning the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1995 and 1996 for, respectively, "Death and the Librarian" and "A Birth Day". She has also edited a large number of anthologies, perhaps most famously the Chicks in Chainmail series.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, two rambunctious cats, and a fluctuating population of hamsters.

Her website can be found here.

    Her books include: 
  • Chronicles of the Twelve Kingdoms
    • Mustapha and His Wise Dog, 1985
    • Spells of Mortal Weaving, 1986
    • The Witchwood Cradle, 1987
    • The Water King's Laughter, 1989
  • Demons Trilogy
    • Here Be Demons, 1988
    • Demon Blues, 1989
    • Hooray For Hellywood, 1990
  • New York by Knight Trilogy
    • New York by Knight, 1986
    • Elf Defense, 1988
    • Sphynxes Wild, 1989
  • Gnome Man's Land Trilogy
    • Gnome Man's Land, 1991
    • Harpy High, 1991
    • Unicorn U, 1992
  • Majyk Trilogy
    • Majyk by Accident, 1993
    • Majyk by Hook Or Crook, 1994
    • Majyk by Design, 1995
  • Becca of Wiserways
    • The Psalms Of Herod, 1996
    • The Sword Of Mary, 1996

Expanded Universe novels

The Historical Fiction series Princesses of Myth [1]note 

  • Nobody's Princess, 2007
  • Nobody's Prize, 2008
  • Sphinx's Princess, 2009
  • Sphinx's Queen, 2010
  • Spirit's Princess, 2012
  • Spirit's Chosen, 2013
  • Deception's Princess, 2014
  • Deception's Pawn, 2015

Non-series novels

  • Harlot's Ruse, 1986
  • The Silver Mountain, 1986
  • Druid's Blood, 1988
  • Yesterday We Saw Mermaids, 1992
  • Split Heirs (with Lawrence Watt-Evans), 1993
  • Wishing Season, 1993
  • The Sherwood Game, 1995
  • Child of the Eagle, 1996
  • Playing with Fire, 1997
  • E.Godz (with Robert Asprin), 2003
  • Temping Fate, 2006
  • Threads and Flames, 2010

Short Story Collections

  • It's Been Fun
  • Up The Wall & Other Tales of King Arthur and His Knights
  • Death and the Librarian and Other Stories

Anthologies edited

  • Alien Pregnant by Elvis!
  • Chicks in Chainmail
    • Chicks in Chainmail
    • Did You Say Chicks?!
    • Chicks 'n Chained Males
    • The Chick is in the Mail
    • Turn the Other Chick
  • Witches
    • Witch Way to the Mall
    • Strip Maul
  • Vampires
    • Blood Muse
    • Fangs for the Mammaries

Works with their own trope pages include:

Other works contain examples of:

  • Action Girl: Becca eventually becomes this in The Sword of Mary.
  • After the End: Implied to be the setting of the Becca of Wiserways books.
  • Alternate Universe: Several examples.
  • Bridezilla: The Wedding of Wylda Serene starts with the narrator talking about his sister's bridezilla antics, which eventually leads to her being forced to ask one of the decorators to be a bridesmaid, thus kicking off the backstory. People later start to suspect that the title character is like this because she insists on having the wedding at the Club, but it later turns out that she was put up to it by her mother, who insisted that Wylda get the wedding that she never did.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: In the Gnome Man's Land series, the father of the main character went out for a Sunday Times and never came back. It was later revealed that he'd spent the six years he'd been gone as the Champion of the Fey.
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  • Corrupt Corporate Executive - in The Sherwood Game.
  • Deconstruction
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: The Protagonist of "The Beau and the Beast" is supposed to be sacrificed to Lord Cthulhu but instead they run away to Gretna Green to get married.
  • Dungeon Bypass: In Elf Defense, our heroes are stuck in a magical semi-sentient hedgemaze, which has just separated the college professor being pursued by a dragon from the elven prince who actually knows how to fight a dragon. No problem: the Welsh au pair calmly picks up a sword and proceeds to chop her way through the first hedge in the way. The maze, not being stupid, immediately opens a clear path for her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A man offered his four year old daughter to the dragon in New York By Knight, which proved to be a bad idea. This dragon was far more traditional about its sacrifices.
  • Fantastic Fragility: In Elf Defense, an elf explains that "only the Infinite is infinite" — which means anything not the Infinite has to have a weakness. (Specifically in this case, an elven vulnerability to Latin.)
  • Fashion-Based Relationship Cue: In The Sword of Mary, Becca is tricked into wearing a paper flower that indicates she's a lesbian, potentially getting her in trouble with the law. Different flower colors indicate different interests at an underground bar.
  • Forbidden Zone: Becca of Wiserways series.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Happens to two of the protagonists of Harpy High; since one of them has a physically abusive father, the other one acquires a little more understanding than he wanted.
  • Freeing the Genie: In Wishing Season
  • Gay Bar Reveal: In Demon Blues, one of the straight characters stumbles into a gay bar crying about the girl he can't get, proceeds to get so drunk he doesn't catch on, and when the bartender is worried about him, gets taken home by a chivalrous time-traveling Richard The Lion Heart. He pieces it all together the next morning.
  • Good Old Ways: Becca of Wiserways.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: In Split Heirs, the King's people believe that twins are a sign of infidelity, so when Queen Artemisia gives birth to triplets, she gives two of them to a nurse who gives them to two other families to raise as commoners. The rest of the book is a hilarious deconstruction of Prince and Pauper tropes, especially since she accidentally gave both boys to the nurse forcing her to raise the girl as the prince.
  • Historical Fantasy: Child of the Eagle. Venus appears to Marcus Brutus and convinces him to thwart the assassination of Julius Caesar.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Megan, the protagonist of Harlot's Ruse.
  • House Fey: In the Gnome Man's Land series, Tim Desmond's mother's Russian ancestry causes a bannik (a household domestic sprite) to move in, which ends up driving her crazy with its obsessive cleanliness.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In Druid's Blood, magic works, so powerfully that the Druids stopped the Roman invasion and (presumably) any later invasions and kept Britain Celtic, but by the 19th Century London and the British look pretty much the same apart from details — teleported scrolls instead of telegrams, Beltane fires in Trafalgar Square (they did fight Napoleon, he was a Gaulish Druid), Queen Victoria as a witch, etc. But this is strictly Rule of Funny, since the point is to set a Sherlock Holmes adventure in a Celtic fantasy world.
  • Jackass Genie: in Wishing Season
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Towards the end of Harpy High, the main character's mother starts dating Dr. Faustus and drawing a comic strip called Mr. Mephisto which, in the words of the main character's best friend, is about "this wizard and this demon and they go around with this fat orange kitten that thinks all these funny things and eats lasagna and—"
  • The Magic Goes Away: Yesterday We Saw Mermaids
  • The Nudifier: The dragon from New York By Knight causes the intended victim's clothes to vanish in order for her to be properly presented as an offering.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: In The Sherwood Game, a programmer creates a VR Robin Hood game, and creates a specific rule that his character is the only one who can kill the Sheriff of Nottingham. He comes to regret this when he has to play the game with the safeties off.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Demon Trilogy.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Demon Trilogy.
  • Pantheon Sitcom: Temping Fate has gods and anthropomorphic personifications (e.g. the Fates) like this, with rebellious teenage demigods, curmudgeonly elder gods, and so on.
  • Poke the Poodle: In Demon Blues, the hero is a college kid who for various reasons (like trying to rescue his roommate and impress his succubus girlfriend) is looking to acquire demonic magical power, which can only be earned through acts of evil. So he spends much of the book hunting for evil to do that won't, you know, hurt anybody...
  • The Power of Rock: In Unicorn U., the apocalypse is averted with the power of samba.
  • Prince and Pauper: Parodied and subverted all to heck in Split Heirs, in which there are two paupers and the prince is actually a girl raised as a boy.
  • Pun-Based Title: New York by Knight, Elf Defense Hooray for Hellywood, Split Heirs
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: Split Heirs tells the story of a queen who gives birth to triplets, two boys and a girl. However, her husband's people have the belief that multiple births stem from infidelity, so she asks her loyal retainer to take away the daughter and youngest son to be raised elsewhere, so the king would never find out about the triplets' birth. Alas, the retainer messes up, and take the two boys instead. By the time the queen discovers the mistake, it is too late, and she is forced to raise her daughter as a prince, and heir to the throne.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx
    • The riddle is the reason that the members of the Club in The Wedding of Wylda Serene accepted the sphinx that one of their members brought, figuring that everyone knew the answer, so no one would get eaten. Then she learned some new ones...
    • In Sphynxes Wild, the sphinx—currently operating as a Greek heiress in Atlantic City—is the villain, and not until the hero finally answers her new riddle can she be defeated.
  • Robin Hood: The Sherwood Game is about a Cyberspace game featuring the Robin Hood characters; it gets complicated when Instant A.I.: Just Add Water! kicks in. (Though things don't get really bad until the Corrupt Corporate Executive shows up.)
  • Sex Bot: The RobinHood program in The Sherwood Game gets downloaded into a pleasure android.
  • Shout-Out: The title characters of Death and the Librarian were inspired by some Discworld figurines she had on her desk (though the story has nothing to do with Discworld).
  • Sinister Minister: Played for comedy in Hooray for Hellywood, televangelist "Sometime" Joseph Lee is in fact the demon Raleel.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: From the very funny, pun-laden Majyk series to the post-apocalyptic Crapsack World of Becca of Wiserways.
  • Sterility Plague: In Becca of Wiserways, some sort of unspecified Depopulation Bomb in the past has made it so that women only get their periods once per year.
  • Talking Animal: A magically-talking cat in Wishing Season
  • Teenage Wasteland: Becca of Wiserways encounters one.
  • Urban Fantasy: The New York By Knight trilogy, Demon Trilogy and Gnome Man's Land Trilogy, The Sherwood Game
  • Villain Over for Dinner: In Elf Defense, protagonist divorce lawyer Sandra Horowitz finds her mother having lunch with elven king Kelerison (whose ex-wife she's representing), who immediately has worked up all of her mom's Jewish Mother guilt against her.
  • Wishing for More Wishes: Played with in Wishing Season. It is standard for a genie to say that wishing for more wishes isn't allowed in his or her preamble, but Brilliant, but Lazy Student Genie Khalid forgets on his first time out, and is enslaved by a mortal for several years till he is rescued.
  • Wishplosion: In the second half of Wishing Season, a Jinn will be free to wreak havoc as soon as the hero uses his half-wish (he only gets half of what is stated in the wish), so he wishes for the Jinn to be free. This ends up with the Jinn being free of the spell that made him grant wishes, but married to a very nagging demoness.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Elf Defense includes among its minor characters a classic Tolkien/Shakespeare-style elf maiden whose speech is unexpectedly punctuated with the occasional bit of Yiddish. When called on it, she abashedly admits to dating a dybbuk (a possessing demon of Jewish myth).
  • Young Future Famous People: The Princesses of Myth series, about historical or semihistorical (or straight-up mythical) princesses of history during their childhood and young adulthood. So far she has taken on Helen of Troy, Nefertiti of Egypt, Himiko of Yamatai/Japan, and Maeve of Connacht/Ireland.

Alternative Title(s): Esther M Friesner


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