Martha Wells

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Martha Wells
Wells at the 2018 Texas Book Festival
Wells at the 2018 Texas Book Festival
Fort Worth, Texas, US
GenreFantasy, science fiction

Martha Wells (born September 1, 1964)[1] is an American writer of speculative fiction. She has published a number of fantasy novels, young adult novels, media tie-ins, short stories, and nonfiction essays on fantasy and science fiction subjects. Her novels have been translated into eight languages.[2]


Martha Wells was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and has a B.A. in Anthropology from Texas A&M University.[1] She lives in College Station, Texas with her husband. She was involved in SF/F fandom in college and was chairman of AggieCon 17.[3]


As an aspiring writer Wells attended many local writing workshops and conventions, including the Turkey City Writer's Workshop taught by Bruce Sterling.[4] She has also taught writing workshops at ArmadilloCon, WorldCon, ApolloCon, Writespace Houston,[5] and was the Special Workshop Guest at FenCon in 2018.[6]

Wells was toastmaster of the World Fantasy Convention in 2017,[7] where she delivered a speech called "Unbury the Future"[8] where she spoke about marginalized creators in the history of science fiction and fantasy, movies, and other media and the deliberate suppression of the existence of those creators. The speech was well-received and generated a great deal of discussion.[9]

During 2018, Wells was the leader of the story team and lead writer for the new Dominaria expansion of the card game Magic: the Gathering.[10]


Wells is known for the complex, realistically detailed societies she creates; this is often credited to her academic background in anthropology.[11][12] Her first published novel, The Element of Fire (1993), was a finalist for that year's Compton Crook Award, and a runner-up for the 1994 William Crawford Award. Her second novel, City of Bones (1995) received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a black diamond review from Kirkus Reviews, and was on the 1995 Locus Recommended Reading List for fantasy. Her third novel, The Death of the Necromancer (1998), was nominated for a Nebula Award.[13] The Element of Fire and The Death of the Necromancer are stand-alone novels which take place in the country of Ile-Rien, which is also the setting for the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy: The Wizard Hunters (2003), The Ships of Air (2004), and The Gate of Gods (2005). Her fourth novel was a stand-alone fantasy, Wheel of the Infinite. In 2006, she released a revised edition of The Element of Fire.[14]

Her fantasy short stories include "The Potter's Daughter" in the anthology Elemental (2006), which was selected to appear in The Year's Best Fantasy #7 (2007).[15] This story features one of the main characters from The Element of Fire. Three prequel short stories to the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy were published in Black Gate Magazine in 2007[16][17] and 2008.[18]

Wells' longest-running fantasy series is The Books of the Raksura which included five novels and two short fiction collections published by Night Shade Books: The Cloud Roads (2011), The Serpent Sea (2012), The Siren Depths (2012), Stories of the Raksura Vol 1: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud (2014), Stories of the Raksura Vol 2: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below (2015), The Edge of Worlds (2016), and The Harbors of the Sun (2017). The series was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Series in 2018[19] and The Edge of Worlds was reviewed in The New York Times.[20]

Wells has also written two young adult fantasy novels, Emilie and the Hollow World and Emilie and the Sky World published by Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry in 2013 and 2014.[21]

She has also written media tie-ins, including Reliquary and Entanglement set in the Stargate Atlantis universe, "Archaeology 101", a short story based on Stargate SG-1 for issue No. 8 (Jan/Feb 2006) of the official Stargate Magazine, and a Star Wars novel, Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge.[22]


Published works[edit]

Stand-alone fantasy novels[edit]

  • City of Bones (1995, ISBN 0-312-85686-5)
  • Wheel of the Infinite (2000, ISBN 0-380-97335-9)


Listed in order of the internal chronology, not by year of publication.

Books of the Raksura[edit]

Short stories
  • The Forest Boy (2009) – prequel to The Cloud Roads. In the collection Stories of the Raksura Vol 1
  • The Almost Last Voyage of the Wind-ship Escarpment (2011) – set in the same world. In the collection Stories of the Raksura Vol 2
  • Adaptation (2012) – prequel to The Cloud Roads. In the collection Stories of the Raksura Vol 1
  • Mimesis (2013) – in the anthology The Other Half of the Sky (2013, ISBN 9781936460441)
  • Trading Lesson (2013) – In the collection Stories of the Raksura Vol 1
  • Birthright (2017) – in the anthology Mech: Age of Steel (2013, ISBN 9781941987858)


Young-adult fantasy.

Star Wars[edit]

Stargate universe[edit]

The Murderbot Diaries[edit]

Science fiction novella series:

Other short stories[edit]

  • "Thorns" (1995, Realms of Fantasy)
  • "Bad Medicine" (1997, Realms of Fantasy)
  • "Wolf Night" (2006, Lone Star Stories[1])
  • "Reflections" (2007, Black Gate Magazine)
  • "Holy Places" (2007, Black Gate Magazine)
  • "Houses of the Dead" (2008, Black Gate Magazine)
  • "Revenants" (2012, in the anthology Tales of the Emerald Serpent)
  • "Soul of Fire" (2014, in the anthology Tales of the Emerald Serpent II: A Knight in the Silk Purse)
  • "The Dark Gates" (2015, in the anthology The Gods of Lovecraft)


  • "Don't Make Me Tongue You: John Crichton and D'Argo and the Dysfunctional Buddy Relationship" (2005, Farscape Forever, ISBN 1-932100-61-X)
  • "Neville Longbottom: the Hero With a Thousand Faces" (2006, Mapping the World of Harry Potter, ISBN 1-932100-59-8)
  • "Donna Noble Saves the Universe" (2012, Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who, ISBN 9781935234128)
  • "A Life Less Ordinary: The Environment, Magic Systems, and Non-Humans" (2014, A Kobold Guide to Magic, ISBN 978-1936781287)


  1. ^ a b "Martha Wells: Unburied Future". Locus Online. August 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Martha Wells Bibliography official site
  3. ^ AggieCon 17 Program Book Excerpt
  4. ^ Re:Fiction (September 19, 2017). "Interview with Martha Wells".
  5. ^ "Writers' Family Reunion". Writespace Writing Center.
  6. ^ "FenCon XV – September 21–23, 2018".
  7. ^ "World Fantasy 2017 – An annual gathering and reunion of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of light and dark fantasy art and literature".
  8. ^ "'Unbury the Future': Martha Wells' Full Speech from the 2017 World Fantasy Awards". November 7, 2017.
  9. ^ "World Fantasy Con 2017: A Mixed Montage".
  10. ^ Whitbrook, James. "Scifi Author Martha Wells Is Bringing Magic: The Gathering Back to Where It All Began". io9. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Shaun Farrell interviews Martha Wells for Far Sector SFFH March 2006".
  12. ^ "ActuSF Interview with Martha Wells".
  13. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards Index". Locus. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  14. ^ Revised edition of The Element of Fire
  15. ^ Tachyon Publications: Year's Best Fantasy #7 Archived October 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Table of Contents". Black Gate (10).
  17. ^ "Table of Contents". Black Gate (11).
  18. ^ "Table of Contents". Black Gate (12).
  19. ^ "Press Release: WorldCon 76 Announces 2018 Hugo Award Finalists".
  20. ^ Jemisin, N. K. (April 19, 2016). "Otherworldy: The Latest in Science Fiction and Fantasy". The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  21. ^ "Young Adult Fantasy by Martha Wells".
  22. ^ "Media Tie-ins".
  23. ^ "1998 Nebula Awards" – via
  24. ^ "All Systems Red" – via
  25. ^ "2018 Locus Awards Winners". Locus.
  26. ^ "Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Announced".
  27. ^ "American Library Association announces 2018 youth media award winners".
  28. ^ Barnett, David (2018-08-20). "Hugo awards: women clean up as NK Jemisin wins best novel again". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  29. ^ "2018 Hugo and Campbell Award Finalists". Locus.
  30. ^ Holloway, Samantha. "Book review by Samantha Holloway: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries)". New York Journal of Books. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  31. ^ "Fiction Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved April 10, 2018.

External links[edit]