Killough (World 33)
Lee Killough (1942 – ; first SF publication, 1970) is one of the best authors I’ve read at crafting world settings for her stories. And I always enjoy a good mystery, so her series about Janna Brill and Mama Maxwell are among my favorites — cops dealing with criminal misuse of future tech. Deadly Silents also portrays leos (law enforcement officers), this time recruited to a world of telepathic aliens who are definitely not human, despite their appearance.
Her first-contact stories (The Monitor, the Minors and the Shree, Liberty’s World and others) are also good reads, as you encounter each new world through the eyes of an equally new arrival.
Killough’s only collection of short stories (to date) depicts Aventine, a world of artists and artistic wonders. Here you meet virtuosos like Dr. Simha Barnard (the world’s foremost body sculptor who, in a community populated by the Beautiful People, finds artistry in creating grotesqueries); Cybelle Bournais (an actress born with an unforgettable voice); and Eden Lyle (who will stop at nothing to retain her youthful look). The tales of Aventine have an edge I haven’t found in most of Killough’s other stories.
Michael Timon, an Aventine artist, creates arrangements of living, singing crystals. These silicate lifeforms produce tones, chimes, chords, even arpeggios, and are among the most sought-after art in the galaxy.