Fear Is a Cold Black: The Early Science Fiction of Kate Wilhelm by Kate Wilhelm
If you are in a plague-ridden spaceship with no idea what is killing off your passengers and crew one by one, what do you do? How will you deal with the panic and the fear, and your own feelings of despair that you may not be able to save the people you love? The protagonist's sense of helplessness in this story--one of Kate Wilhelm's early science fiction work--leaps off the page, making it clear why Wilhelm is considered one of the great writers of her time. She provides psychological depth to her characters, and although the themes may be common, they are never trite. Most of the stories in this collection of her early work are about love. However these present a vastly different picture of love from the clich�s of romance novels. It is forbidden love developing in a tense evacuation of a planet under threat of extinction, the ultimate sacrifice of love vis-�-vis a lifelong ambition to go into space, and the love taking roots in the heart of a solitary man for his robot wife. It is also the love of two people who have been shunned all their lives for their difference, and the love of monks for their God and their mission, willing to be together for hundreds of years with only a card game to stave off their boredom on their long space travels. More than just love stories, though, this collection talks about what it means to be fully human. Wilhelm deftly shows how, in the age of space travel and android beings, we can hold on to our humanity.