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Lynn Abbey

Lynn AbbeyAKA Marilyn Lorraine Abbey

Born: 18-Sep-1948
Birthplace: Peekskill, NY

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Thieves World

Author Lynn Abbey is best known for her role, along with ex-husband Robert Asprin, in creating, editing, and contributing to the Thieves World anthologies. Abbey is also the author of several historical novels, including Daughter of the Bright Moon, Jerlayne, Out of Time, The Black Flame, and Behind Time. She has written several gaming-based novels for TSR (now part of Wizards of the Coast).

Abbey became interested in storytelling at an early age, inventing adventures for her imaginary characters and jotting them down. Despite this interest she entered college, at the University of Rochester, intending to major in the hard sciences. She soon "migrated" to the humanities, earning both her B.A. and M.A. in European history. Abbey scrapped her plans to acquire a Ph.D. in the field when a school advisor apprised her of the limited career options then available to Ph.D. in her field.

Abbey switched fields to become a drudge in the world of mainframe computer programming. She worked for an insurance company for a time until, in 1976, she was drafted into service of the city of New York to help make sense of its bankruptcy crisis. Abbey spent countless hours translating battered punchcards into the more "modern" data storage medium of magnetic tape. The end result was computerized proof of what the city already knew: its expenses grossly exceeded its income. The state of New York was forced to intervene, with financial aid, to prevent the curtailment of basic services like sanitation, police, and fire.

After concluding her efforts on behalf of the city of New York, Abbey relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she met science fiction legend Gordon R. Dickson. Designated by sci-fi buff friends to fetch Dickson from the airport for a local sci-fi convention, Abbey departed, only to awaken some hours later in a hospital emergency room: her car's brakes had failed en route, somewhere along the airport access road. Confronted with Abbey's injuries, which included a fractured skull, the kind-hearted Dickson offered to make the experience up to her by offering to read any writing she might have produced. Abbey was thrilled to make good on her childhood dream, and showed him her work. Dickson, who later confessed she had shown very little promise, stuck by her efforts at rewrite, instructing her along the way until she surprised him by creating a genuinely good first chapter for her novel.

That novel was discarded, but thanks to Dickson's introductions in writing and publishing circles, in 1978, Abbey's career was on its way. Ultimately Abbey married Robert Asprin and the two developed the Thieves World concept, inviting fellow sci-fi authors to contribute tales set in their invented universe. The series became immensely popular, but as time went by the convoluted changes, characters, and plots developed over time by the various authors (and sometimes factions of authors) made the books impossible to enjoy as stand alone works. As the series grew in size, fans balked at having to read all eleven or so anthologies just to understand the stories included in the latest installment.

Abbey and Asprin dissolved the Thieves World project, but when they divorced in 1993 Abbey was left with custody of the project. For years Abbey insisted Thieves World was not merely on hiatus but absolutely finished. But eventually the wistful prodding of fans and peers wore her down enough to make her reconsider, and in April of 2002 Sanctuary, Abbey's own novel-length Thieves World story relaunched the saga. In November of that year the first new Thieves World anthology appeared.

Father: Ronald Lionel Abbey (insurance industry)
Mother: Doris Lorraine DeWees
Husband: Robert Asprin (author, div. 1993)

    University: BA, University of Rochester (1969)
    University: MA European History, University of Rochester (1971)

Official Website:

Author of books:
Thieves World: The Face of Chaos (1983, Ace:with Robert Asprin)
Thieves World: Storm Season (1982, Ace:with Robert Asprin)
Out of Time (2000, Ace)
Behind Time (2001, Ace)
Taking Time (2004, Ace)
Catwoman: Tiger Hunt (1992, Warner Books:with Robert Asprin)
Forge of Virtue (1991, Warner Books)
Temper of Wisdom (1992, Warner Books)
Unicorn and Dragon (1987, Avon Books)
Conquest (1988, Avon Books)
Guardians (1982, Ace)
Daughter of the Bright Moon (1979, Ace)
The Black Flame (1980, Ace)

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