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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Windhaven - George R. R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle

The planet Windhaven was colonized long ago by people from Earth.    It has low gravity, and near perpetual storms, so some of the colonists used the remains of their ship to build wings, and their descendants became an important link between the islands in this world of vast oceans plagued by storms and deadly monsters.

Maris was born to farmers, but caught the eye of the local flyer, Russ, who had no children of his own.    He adopted Maris, and taught her to her fly.    Maris was a natural flyer, but unfortunately, after he adopted Maris, Russ and his wife had a son, Coll.    By flyer traditional, Russ’s wings must pass to Coll when Coll came of age, even though everyone knew that both Russ and Maris were better flyers, and Coll only wanted to become a singer.

And so, Maris attempted a rather desperate gambit to change tradition, and win her wings.   In doing so, she changed the entire way of life of the flyers of Windhaven.

This story plays out in three distinct episodes over Maris’s life, and it’s fascinating to see what one simple decision that Maris made as a young woman ultimately does to an entire planet.    Maris herself also goes on an interesting journey – the last episode especially was masterfully done, because it’s probably not what a lot of authors would have done to end a hero’s career.    Really interesting book – worth seeking out.

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