Carolyn Janice Cherry (born September 1, 1942), better known by the pen name C. J. Cherryh, is an American writer of speculative fiction. She has written more than 80 books since the mid-1970s, including the Hugo Award–winning novels Downbelow Station (1981) and Cyteen (1988), both set in her Alliance–Union universe, and her Foreigner series. She is known for worldbuilding, depicting fictional realms with great realism supported by vast research in history, language, psychology, and archeology.
Cherryh (pronounced "Cherry") appended a silent "h" to her real name because her first editor, Donald A. Wollheim, felt that "Cherry" sounded too much like a romance writer. She used only her initials, C. J., to disguise that she was female at a time when the majority of science fiction authors were male.
Her brother David A. Cherry is a science fiction and fantasy artist.