Candlemark & Gleam is known for finding exciting new voices. Yet an equally integral part of our vision is to give starships to experienced astrogators. So it’s an immense pleasure to be able to tell lovers of SF in the vein of Le Guin, Butler, McDevitt and Arnason that Kristin Landon has chosen us as the harbor for her novel Windhome.
Kristin’s trajectory and mine share parallels: she started reading science fiction at the age of eight, at a time when SF in school libraries was “for boys” and often said so on the spine. She knew better. Reading SF led her to a fascination with science, a degree in chemistry, and work in a research lab that sparked a career in STEM publishing.
While freelancing and caring for three small children, Kristin wrote her first two SF novels. One of these blossomed into a trilogy: The Hidden Worlds, followed by The Cold Minds and The Dark Reaches (published by Ace in 2007, 2008, and 2009, respectively). I read the trilogy after seeing a review at Heather Massey’s Galaxy Express, earmarked Kristin as one of the talents I wanted to showcase—and her story “From the Depths” is now glimmering in To Shape the Dark.
Kristin doesn’t write hard science fiction as such, but she does the math as if she were. She writes SF grounded in scientific fact (within the demands of being able to set the story on other worlds), with plots based on adventure and discovery, peopled with characters as varied and real as she can make them.
“From the Depths” showcases all these attributes. So does Windhome, as you can tell from its synopsis:
Earth has sent out exploratory expeditions in a desperate attempt to discover the nature of the alien force that wiped out at least one extrasolar civilization and now threatens Earth itself. One of the exploratory starships is stealth-attacked by the hostile aliens. The survivors, marooned among the pre-technological inhabitants of the icy world of Windhome, struggle to survive, to understand this harsh world and its few, grim people—and, somehow, to fulfill their mission. Thrown into an unwilling alliance with a Windhome outsider faction, exiled into wilderness, two of the human crew must live by this world’s bitter laws, accept the ways of its people—and eventually make a terrifying choice.
We expect to show Windhome to the world within the next eighteen months, along with vibrant launches from other members of the Candlemark fleet: Justin Robinson, A. M. Tuomala, Anne Johnson, Lise Breakey, Robin Shortt. Keep this frequency open!
Image: The Dark Reaches (starpilots and partners Linnea Kiaho, Iain sen Paolo; cover artist: Craig White)