Glory Season

Glory Season

by David Brin

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307573469
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/31/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 784
Sales rank: 769,901
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

David Brin is a scientist and the bestselling author of Sundiver, The Uplift War, Startide Rising, The Practice Effect, The Postman, Heart of the Comet (with Gregory Benford), Earth, Glory Season, Brightness Reef, and Infinity's Shore, as well as the short-story collections The River of Time and Otherness. He has a doctorate in astrophysics and has been a NASA consultant and a physics professor.

Read an Excerpt

Twenty-six months before her second birthday, Maia learned the true difference between winter and summer.
It wasn’t simply the weather, or the way hot-season lightning storms used to crackle amid tall ships anchored in the harbor. Nor even the eye-tingling stab of Wengel—so distinct from other stars.
The real difference was much more personal.
“I can’t play with you no more,” her half sister, Sylvina, taunted one day. “ ’Cause you had a father!”
“Did n-not!” Maia stammered, rocked by the slur, knowing that the word was vaguely nasty. Sylvie’s rebuff stung, as if a bitter glacier wind blew through the crèche.
“Did so! Had a father, dirty var!”
“Well … then you’re a var, too!”
The other girl laughed harshly. “Ha! I’m pure Lamai, just like my sisters, mothers an’ grandmas. But you’re a summer kid. That makes you U-neek. Var!”
Dismayed, too choked to speak, Maia could only watch Sylvina toss her tawny locks and flounce away, joining a cluster of children varied in age but interchangeable in appearance. Some unspoken ritual of separation had taken place, dividing the room. In the better half, over near the glowing hearth, each girl was a miniature, perfect rendition of a Lamai mother. The same pale hair and strong jaw. The same trademark stance with chin defiantly upraised.
Here on this side, the two boys were being tutored in their corner as usual, unaware of any changes that would scarcely affect them, anyway. That left eight little girls like Maia, scattered near the icy panes. Some were light or dark, taller or thinner. One had freckles, another, curly hair. What they had in common were their differences.
Maia wondered, Was this what it meant to have a father? Everyone knew summer kids were rarer than winterlings, a fact that once made her proud, till it dawned on her that being “special” wasn’t so lucky, after all.
She dimly recalled summertime’s storms, the smell of static electricity and the drumbeat of heavy rain on Port Sanger’s corbeled roofs. Whenever the clouds parted, shimmering sky-curtains used to dance like gauzy giants across distant tundra slopes, far beyond the locked city gates. Now, winter constellations replaced summer’s gaudy show, glittering over a placid, frost-decked sea. Maia already knew these seasonal changes had to do with movements of Stratos round its sun. But she still hadn’t figured out what that had to do with kids being born different, or the same.
Wait a minute!
Struck by a thought, Maia hurried to the cupboard where playthings were stacked. She grabbed a chipped hand mirror in both hands, and carried it to where another dark-haired girl her own age sat with several toy soldiers, arranging their swords and brushing their long hair. Maia held out the mirror, comparing her face to that of the other child.
“I look just like you!” she announced. Turning, she called to Sylvina. “I can’t be a var! See? Leie looks like me!”
Triumph melted as the others laughed, not just the light-haired crowd, but all over the crèche. Maia frowned at Leie. “B-but you are like me. Look!”
Oblivious to chants of “Var! Var!” which made Maia’s ears burn, Leie ignored the mirror and yanked Maia’s arm, causing her to land hard nearby. Leie put one of the toy soldiers in Maia’s lap, then leaned over and whispered. “Don’t act so dumb! You an’ me had the same father. We’ll go on his boat, someday. We’ll sail, an’ see a whale, an’ ride its tail. That’s what summer kids do when they grow up.”
With that surprising revelation, Leie returned contentedly to brushing a wooden warrior’s flaxen hair.
Maia let the second doll lay in her open hand, the mirror in the other, pondering what she’d learned. Despite Leie’s air of assurance, her story sounded easily as dumb as anything Maia herself had said. Yet, there was something appealing about the other girl’s attitude … her way of making bad news sound good.
It seemed reason enough to become friends. Even better than the fact that they looked as alike as two stars in the sky.
Never understate the voyage we’re embarked on, or what we knowingly forsake. Admit from the start, my sisters, that these partners cleaved to us by nature had their uses, their moments. Male strength and intensity have, on occasion, accomplished things both noble and fine.
Yet, even at best, wasn’t that strength mostly spent defending us, and our children, against others of their kind? Are their better moments worth the cost?
Mother Nature works by a logic, a harsh code, that served when we were beasts, but no more. Now we grasp her tools, her art, down to its warp and weft. And with skill comes a call for change. Women—some women—are demanding a better way.
Thus we comrades sought this world, far beyond the hampering moderation of Hominid Phylum. It is the challenge of this founding generation to improve the blueprint of humanity.
—from the Landing Day Address, by Lysos
Sharply angled sunlight splashed across the table by Maia’s bed, illuminating a meter-long braid of lustrous brown hair. Freshly cut. Draped across the rickety night-stand and tied off at both ends with blue ribbons.
Stellar-shell blue, color of departure. And next to the braid, a pair of gleaming scissors stood like a dancer balancing on toe, one point stabbed into the rough tabletop. Blinking past sleep muzziness, Maia stared at these objects—illumined by a trapezoid of slanting dawn light—struggling to separate them from fey emblems of her recent dream.
At once, their meaning struck.
“Lysos,” Maia gasped, throwing off the covers. “Leie really did it!”
Sudden shivers drew a second realization. Her sister had also left the window open! Zephyrs off Stern Glacier blew the tiny room’s dun curtains, driving dust balls across the plank floor to fetch against her bulging duffel. Rushing to slam the shutters, Maia glimpsed ruddy sunrise coloring the slate roofs of Port Sanger’s castlelike clan houses. The breeze carried warbling gull cries and scents of distant icebergs, but appreciating mornings was one vice she had never shared with her early-rising twin.
“Ugh.” Maia put a hand to her head. “Was it really my idea to work last night?”
It had seemed logical at the time. “We’ll want the latest news before heading out,” Maia had urged, signing them both for one last stint waiting tables in the clan guesthouse. “We might overhear something useful, and an extra coin or two won’t hurt.”
The men of the timber ship, Gallant Tern, had been full of gossip all right, and sweet Lamatian wine. But the sailors had no eye for two adolescent summerlings—two variant brats—when there were plump winter Lamais about, all attractively identical, well-dressed and well-mannered. Spoiling and flattering the officers, the young Lamais had snapped their fingers till past midnight, sending Maia and Leie to fetch more pitchers of heady ale.
The open window must have been Leie’s way of getting even.
Oh, well, Maia thought defensively. She’s had her share of bad ideas, too. What mattered was that they had a plan, the two of them, worked out year after patient year in this attic room. All their lives, they had known this day would come. No telling how many dreary jobs we’ll have to put our backs to, before we find our niche.
Just as Maia was thinking about slipping back between the covers, the North Tower bell clanged, rattling this shabby corner of the sprawling Lamai compound. In higher-class precincts, winter folk would not stir for another hour, but summer kids got used to rising in bitter cold—such was the irony of their name. Maia sighed, and began slipping into her new traveling clothes. Black tights of stretchy web-cloth, a white blouse and halter, plus boots and a jacket of strong, oiled leather. The outfit was more than many clans provided their departing var-daughters, as the mothers diligently pointed out. Maia tried hard to feel fortunate.
While dressing, she pondered the severed braid. It was longer than an outstretched arm, glossy, yet lacking those rich highlights each full-blooded Lamai wore as a birthright. It looked so out of place, Maia felt a brief chill, as if she were regarding Leie’s detached hand, or head. She caught herself making a hand-sign to avert ill luck, and laughed nervously at the bad habit. Country superstitions would betray her as a bumpkin in the big cities of Landing Continent.
Leie hadn’t even laced her braid very well, given the occasion. At this moment, in other rooms nearby, Mirri, Kirstin, and the other summer fivers would be fixing their tresses for today’s Parting Ceremony. The twins had argued over whether to attend, but now Leie had typically and impulsively acted on her own. Leie probably thinks this gives her seniority as an adult, even though Granny Modine says I was first out of our birth-momma’s womb.
Fully dressed, Maia turned to encompass the attic room where they had grown up through five long Stratoin years—fifteen by the old calendar—summer children spinning dreams of winter glory, whispering a scheme so long forming, neither recalled who had thought it first. Now … today … the ship Grim Bird would take them away toward far western lands where opportunities were said to lay just waiting for bright youths like them.
That was also the direction their father-ship had last been seen, some years ago. “It can’t hurt to keep our eyes open,” Leie had proposed, though Maia had wondered, skeptical, If we ever did meet our gene-father, what would there be to talk about?
Tepid water still flowed from the corner tap, which Maia took as a friendly omen. Breakfast is included, too, she thought while washing her face. If I make it to kitchen before the winter smugs arrive.

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Glory Season 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
brainshades on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A forgettable book stuck in between the first and second Uplift Trilogies.Brin's typical world building prowess shines brightly, but the characters are weak and in the end I didn't care what happened to them as long as the book finally ended.
Karlstar on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I really enjoyed this novel, even as the premise was disturbing. On the planet Stratos, men are few and are genetically altered to only be interested in women during very few months, keeping them docile. They are also severely restricted in what jobs they can have. There are no marriages. Most women procreate by cloning, 'sparked' with the assistance of men, but that's all. The book is about exploring the ramifications of such a society, and particularly about the few non-clone women who have almost as few rights as the men. While the premise was disturbing, I though Brin treated it well. The ending was a little weak, it almost felt like another book was intended.
ewalrath on LibraryThing 10 months ago
It bothers me so much that there will never be a sequel to this book. And the developments in cloning since this book were written have rendered it's premise unlikely. But the story of a clone society with men and conventionally-born women as oppressed minorities on a far-away planet was very thought provoking to me when I was 16 and had held up well to multiple readings.
StormRaven on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Set on Stratos, a planet ruled by women who have genetically altered themselves and the tiny minority of men in their society, this novel marks Brin's attempt to write in the science fiction subgenre of "feminist science fiction". Most of the time, this genre is also "utopian feminist science fiction", and the fact that this book isn't seems to have ticked off a lot of a feminist science fiction writers.There are certainly grounds to criticize the book - it is a little overbroad in painting gender sterotypes, but arguably that is becauss most of the women are clones (although the main character and her twin sister are not, they are second class "vars"). The book is also overlong, and somehow it feels rushed. A fair amount of time is spent with the characters noodling about with the game "Life", which is supposed to be the passion of the seafaring men of the planet, which to me, stretches credulity (since, for most people, Life gets tedious after a reasonably short time).The novel focuses on the adventures of Maia - one of a pair of twin "vars", cast out of her comfortable clone-run family business with her twin to find their fortunes. The comfortable, semi-technological utopia that has been set up on the world has been disrupted by a visitor from the outside - a man from the starfaring culture that exists offworld. Maia travels for a bit, finding out that some people are tyrrng to upset the current society by eliminating the men of the world entirely. Maia is kidnapped, escapes with the help of Renna, the off-worlder, has a bunch of adventures in which she learns that everything about her world is not what she assumed. She discovers off-world technology that appears to have been suppressed by the ruling elite and becomes a political symbol (most especially to a crew of virtuous men who she had helped earlier), finally coming out against those in power to try to pull Stratos out of its enforced technological backwardness.As I wrote before, this novel is not a great novel - it paints with a broad brush, the villains are a little too transparent, many characters seem to behave in irrational and nonsensical ways; however, it still does a good job at confronting and deflating the silly "feminist utopias" that many science fiction authors are fond of. It is also, at its core, a pretty good story without referencing the political and social commentary.
dishdasha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An engaging adventure story in an interesting social background. There are many unique points in this novel:* What if human can self-clone in addition to mating as means to replicate?* "Traditional" underdog adventure story in which the main character is treated unfairly.* The game of Life as a universal computing machine.David Brin somehow blends these ingredients to result in a really interesting story.My complaint is the rushed feel to parts 3 & 4 of the novel. And the ending does not feel satisfying to me. Overall a great read.
rudyleon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really hated this book. I picked it up because Brin and Suzy Charnas got into a heated discussion about the book on a discussion list I was on, and I was intrigued. Brin wanted to write a feminist utopian novel and got all irate and obnxious when folks who write and read feminist spec fic found it offensive and declared that it missed its mark. I have to agree. This book reads very much as a male view of what a woman would find to be utopian -- and as such reflects perhaps a bit too much of his limited understanding of 'what women want' and how we sees women in the world.But points for trying, right?
leld on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Regardless of gender, people are people. We are cruel, we love, we war and oppress, we find joy. We want to know our purpose and to find a place to be happy.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Not only was this a major page-turner, but it is a thought provoker as well. I think women in particular will love this story of a young girl living in a distant world where women rule, and men are barely more than mules. If i have to criticize, i would say David Brin wasn't quite sure how to end this story, or maybe it wasn't the ending i wanted. But the only difficult part was seeing the odd creatures described, and understanding the alien terms used in this book. I think a second reading would prove worthwhile.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I read this book, I couldn't get past the slow first fifty pages. When I finally managed it the second time around, I discovered quite possibly the best book I've ever read. I didn't find the story to be all that sexist; if anything, it only points out how truly foolish sexism is. I was also dragged into the story of Maia, Leie and Renna, and I fell in love with all of them. I can't recommend this book enough. By far my favorite of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This intense story of an adolescent girl named Maia will get you turning pages faster than you ever have before. It is full of puzzles you will help her solve as well as enemies you will fight with her. Definitely a monumental sci-fi novel of our time.