Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Snow Queen

Manipulating. Exploiting. Blurring of the Lines Between Friend and Foe. Uncovering Hidden Origins. Losing Naiveté. Redeeming People. Breaking Rules. Enforcing Rules. Questioning Ancient Traditions. Preserving the Past. Channeling Change. Prolonging Life.

In the 1980 Hugo Award winning novel The Snow Queen, Joan D. Vinge creates an intricate world that is on the brink of a massive transition. Tiamat, a planet close to a Stargate, is valued by off-worlders for its waters of life, an extract that can prolong life and that is traded for technology. The planet is situated in such a way that it has a cycle of about 250 years. For about 150 years it is accessible by the Stargate, during which time the Winters, a technology loving people reign. But alternating that is a 100 year period when the Stargate is closed, the off-worlders withdraw their technology and the planet reverts to a relatively primitive state while ruled by the Summers.

The novel tells the story of the period leading up to the transition when the world will again be without technology and ruled by the Summers. The plot includes the Snow Queen who schemes to retain her power, an off-worlder policewoman manipulated by both the queen and the off-worlder government, and two cousins discovering their origins and their destinies.

The plot is fresh. The world is fascinating. I am glad I found the book. It is part of a series, which I hope to finish reading at some point.

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