Martha Wells was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1964 and has a B.A. in Anthropology from Texas A&M University. She has published seven fantasy novels, two Stargate Atlantis tie-in novels, and several short stories. Her novels have been translated into eight languages.
Wells' first published novel, The Element of Fire (1993), was a finalist for that year's Compton Crook Award, and a runner-up for the 1994 William Crawford Award. Her second novel, City of Bones (1995) received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a black diamond review from Kirkus Reviews, and was on the 1995 Locus Recommended Reading List for fantasy. Her third novel, The Death of the Necromancer (1998), was nominated for a Nebula Award. The Element of Fire and The Death of the Necromancer are stand-alone novels which take place in the country of Ile-Rien, which is also the setting for the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy: The Wizard Hunters (2003), The Ships of Air (2004), and The Gate of Gods (2005). Her fourth novel was a stand-alone fantasy, Wheel of the Infinite. In 2006, she released a revised edition of The Element of Fire which is also available in HTML on her website.
Her fantasy short stories include "The Potter's Daughter" in the anthology Elemental (2006), which has been selected to appear in The Year's Best Fantasy #7 (2007) . This story features one of the main characters from The Element of Fire. Three prequel short stories to the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy were published in Black Gate Magazine in 2007 and 2008.
Wells is known for the complex, realistically-detailed societies she creates; this is often credited to her academic background in anthropology.
In February 2006, she published Reliquary, a novel set in the Stargate Atlantis universe. Another Stargate Atlantis novel, Entanglement, was published in spring 2007. Wells also wrote "Archaeology 101," a short story based on Stargate SG-1 for issue #8 (Jan/Feb 2006) of the official Stargate Magazine. (See Stargate literature)
She has recently sold two new fantasy novels to Night Shade Books. The first, The Cloud Roads (ISBN 978-1-59780-216-1), will be published in 2011, and the sequel, The Serpent Sea, will follow in 2012.