Lovers of richly textured worlds and devotees of the wonder evoked by outstanding science fiction: nourish your dreams with multi-award winner Julie Dillon’s stunning cover for Kristin Landon’s Windhome, a distillation of the work’s elegiac beauty! The front cover, with its layout, and a different excerpt of the work, appear at The Qwillery.
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A nuanced exploration of first contact, grounded in science, with a plot rich in external and internal discovery, with vivid characters for whom the reader comes to care deeply, Windhome is The Left Hand of Darkness meets Black Robe with a soupçon of Alien.
Kristin Landon is the author of the very well-received Hidden Worlds trilogy: The Hidden Worlds, The Cold Minds, and The Dark Reaches (Ace Books). Her novelette “From the Depths” appeared in the highly acclaimed science fiction anthology To Shape the Dark (Candlemark & Gleam, 2016). Here’s the absorbing synopsis of Windhome:
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.
And here is the opening of the story:
From the journal of Vika Jai:
They say the sound of the wind in this country never stops. Those who are born here live all their lives hearing its voice. Long ago, the old stories say, the wind drove back the sea, piled stones into mountains, and scoured out a great valley in the heart of the land. Then the wind spoke the land’s name: Shothef Erau. In the language of this world that I know best—the one that my heart now speaks—that name means “the wind’s home.” Windhome. And they say that all the winds of this world are born here.
Summer here is brief and somber—dust, dry breezes, and small, pale flowers. Winter is deadly. The people of Windhome are strong, tenacious, born for the cold. But even they fear the wind of winter: the world-wind, the weather-mother. They fear it, or they die.
In this wide country, on this cold world, so few people remain. Their lives are for each other. Their families are close. Their love is strong and full of patience. But their rules, though few, are not to be broken. And their justice can be bitter. I have seen it. I will never forget.
Still, sometimes, in the long hours of night, I lie awake listening to the world-wind. Stories tell of voices in that wind: the voices of those who have been cast out, and of the unavenged.
But I am of Earth, and to me the wind’s cry is wordless. There are no messages there for me. He is gone, into fire, into death. Even his ashes are gone—scattered in darkness. Borne to the sky on the world-wind.
Candlemark will release Windhome on December 11, 2017. Mark your calendars, and prepare for outward-gazing science fiction at its best.