Elizabeth Bear writes fiction like LeBron James plays basketball. Note the presence of the verbs there. I’m not saying that Elizabeth Bear is the LeBron James of SF&F. James is a four time NBA MVP, two time NBA Champion and Finals MVP, two time Olympic gold medalist, 10 time All Star and the list goes on. Plus professional basketball is a game with rules and teams and a league and competition. But the way LeBron plays the game is similar to the way Bear writes fiction.
LeBron is unusual in the way that he has such a complete game. He can play almost any position on the court and do it a high level. He can shoot (and score) from almost any range. He passes well and receives passes well. He sets or runs through picks and screens. He can post up or step back. He can drive to the basket or catch and shoot. He plays amazing defense and is an impressive shot blocker. And he does all that with smoothness and physicality and with energy and confidence.
Bear does the same with her fiction. She can write almost any genre. She is very good at style, character development, setting and plot. Her prose has a smoothness and physicality (or muscularity) and confidence to it that reminds me of the experience of watching LeBron play. The Eternal Sky trilogy is like a triple double in the way that it shows versatility, dominance and an overall high level of play. This metaphor may only may make sense to me but when it popped in my head there was no denying it.