Their names were Lancelot, Elaine, Percivale, Gawain, Modred, Lynette and Vivien, but they were not characters from legend. They were made people, clone servants designed to suit the fancy of their opulent owner, the Lady Dela Kirn. And they worked aboard the Maid, an anachronistic fantasy of a spaceship, decorated with swords, heraldic banners, old-looking beams masking the structural joints, and lamps that mimicked live flame.
They lived in a kind of dream, and had no idea of their origins, their prototypes in those old, old story tapes of romance, chivalry, heroism and betrayal.
Until a wandering instability, a knot in time, a ripple in the between sucked them into a spatial no-man's-land from which there seemed to be no escape. And they were left alone, with the borrowed personas of their ancient namesakes, to face a crisis those venerable spirits were never designed to master.
C. J. Cherryh (born 1942) is the pen name of Carolyn Janice Cherry, a multiple-award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer. She currently resides in Spokane County, Washington.
Cherryh is pronounced ”Cherry”. The author appended a silent ”h” to her real name because her first editor felt that ”Cherry” sounded too much like a romance writer.
The asteroid 77185 Cherryh has been named in her honour.