C. J Cherryh Bio, Age, Wife, Books And Writing style.

C.J Cherryh Biography

C. J. Cherryh “Carolyn Janice Cherry” is an American writer of speculative fiction. She has written more than 80 books since the mid-1970s, including the Hugo Award-winning novels Down below Station of 1981 and Cyteen of 1988, both set in her Alliance-Union universe. 

She has an asteroid, 77185 Cherryh, named after her. Referring to this honor, the asteroid’s discoverers wrote of Cherryh: “She has challenged us to be worthy of the stars by imagining how mankind might grow to live among them.”

C.J Cherryh Age

Carolyn Janice Cherry was born in St. Louis, Missouri, United States on 1st September, 1942. As of 2018, she is 76 years

C.J Cherryh Wife

She is married to her wife a science fiction/fantasy author and artist Jane Fancher. They live near Spokane, Washington. She enjoys skating, traveling and regularly makes appearances at science fiction conventions.

C.J Cherryh Background

Cherryh was born in 1942 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. She began her writing at the age of ten when she became frustrated with the cancellation of her favorite TV show, Flash Gordon.

She has a brother David A. Cherry who is also a science fiction and fantasy artist.

Cherry attended the University of Oklahoma (Phi Beta Kappa), where by in 1964, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin with academic specializations in archaeology, mythology, and the history of engineering. In 1965, she received a Master of Arts degree in classics from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she was a Woodrow Wilson fellow.

After graduating, she taught Latin, Ancient Greek, the classics, and ancient history at John Marshall High School in the Oklahoma City public school system.

She wrote novels in her spare time away from teaching and submitted these manuscripts directly for publication. Initially, she met with little success; indeed various publishers lost manuscripts she had submitted. She was thus forced to retype them from her own carbon copies, time-consuming but cheaper than paying for photocopying.

Cherryh got her breakthrough in 1975 when Donald A. Wollheim purchased the two manuscripts she had submitted to DAW Books, Gate of Ivrel and Brothers of Earth. The two novels were published in 1976, Gate of Ivrel preceding Brothers of Earthby several months (although she had completed and submitted Brothers of Earthfirst). In 1977, the books won her immediate recognition and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Although not all of her works have been published by DAW Books, during this early period she developed a strong relationship with the Wollheim family and their publishing company, frequently traveling to New York City and staying with the Wollheims in their Queens family home. Her novelst have also been published by other companies  including Baen Books, Harper Collins, Warner Books, and Random House (under its Del Rey Books imprint). She published six additional novels in the late 1970s.

Cherry is the writer of the short story “Cassandra” which in 1979, won the Best Short Story Hugo, and she quit teaching to write full-time. She has since won the Hugo Award for Best Novel twice, first for Downbelow Station in 1982 and then again for Cyteen in 1989.

Apart from developing her own fictional universes, Cherry has also contributed to several shared world anthologies, including Thieves’ World, Heroes in Hell, Elfquest, Witch World, Magic in Ithkar, and the Merovingen Nights series, which she edited. Her writing has encompassed a variety of science fiction and fantasy subgenres and includes a few short works of non-fiction.

She has translated several published works of fiction from French into English.Her other books have been translated into Czech, Dutch, French,German, Hebrew, Hungarian,Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish and Swedish.

Writing style

Cherryh uses a writing technique she has variously labeled “very tight limited third person”, “intense third person”, and “intense internal” voice. In this approach, the only things the writer narrates are those that the viewpoint character specifically notices or thinks about. The narration may not mention important features of the environment or situation with which character is already familiar, even though these things might be of interest to the reader, because the character does not think about them due to their familiarity.

World building

Cherryh’s works depict fictional worlds with great realism supported by her strong background in languages, history, archaeology, and psychology.

She creates believable alien cultures, species, and perspectives, causing the reader to reconsider basic assumptions about human nature. Her worlds have been praised as complex and realistic because she presents them through implication rather than explication.

She has described the process she uses to create alien societies for her fiction as being akin to asking a series of questions, and letting the answers to these questions dictate various parameters of the alien culture. Some of the issues she considers critical to take into account in detailing an intelligent alien race are:

  • The physical environment in which the species lives
  • The location and nature of the race’s dwellings, including the spatial relationships between those dwellings
  • The species’ diet, method(s) of obtaining and consuming food, and cultural practices regarding the preparation of meals and eating (if any)
  • Processes which the aliens use to share knowledge
  • Customs and ideas regarding death, dying, the treatment of the race’s dead, and the afterlife (if any)
  • Metaphysical issues related to self-definition and the aliens’ concept of the universe they inhabit


  • The Cherryh Odyssey (2004, ISBN 0-8095-1070-7; ISBN 0-8095-1071-5), edited by Edward Carmien, compiles a dozen essays by academic and professional voices discussing the literary life and career of Cherryh. A bibliography is included.
  • The Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library at Eastern New Mexico University contains a collection of Cherryh’s manuscripts and notes for scholarly research. 
  • Military Command in Women’s Science Fiction: C.J. Cherryh’s Signy Mallory(2000), Part 1, Part 2 by Camille Bacon-Smith.
  • Animal Transference: A “Mole-like Progression” in C.J. Cherry (2011) by Lynn Turner, in Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, 44.3, pp. 163–175.

C. J Cherryh Net Worth

Her net worth is still under review but it will be updated as soon as its clear.