Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club
Dying of the Light (1977)
1978 Hugo Award nominee
1979 August Derleth Award (British Fantasy) nominee
2004 Bantam Spectra trade paperback
288 pages (left)
1982 Timescape (Pocket) paperback
cover art by Rowena Morrill
365 pages (right)
2000 Gollancz UK paperback
cover art by Jim Burns - 320 pages
April 1977 issue of Analog magazine
part 1 of 4 of After the Festival
1990 Baen paperback
cover art by Tom Kidd
George R. R. Martin - Dying of the Light
(Warning! Some spoilers)
Dying of the Light is a science fiction book about clashing cultures, honor, and the bonds that tie people together.
The drifting planet of Worlorn is a moving away from the Wheel of Fire that provides it sunlight. For the decade-long Festival of the Fringe, the planet was terraformed, and fabulous cities were built, each capable of housing tens of thousands, representing different worlds in the Fringe. But now the festival is over, and mere hundreds remain on the darkening world.
Seven years earlier on the planet of Avalon, Dirk t'Larien and his then girlfriend Gwen Delvano, whom he called Jenny, had whisperjewels made for them. Dirk promised to go to Gwen if he received her whisperjewel, so now he travels across space to Gwen, who is on Worlorn.
Gwen is with the Ironjade Gathering. She lives with a pair of men from the violent planet of High Kalavaan, Jaantony Riv Wolf high-Ironjade Vikary, also known as Jaan Vikary, and his teyn, Garse Ironjade Janacek. They live in the festival city of Laretyn, sometimes called the Firefort. Gwen is betheyn, literally heldwife, to Jaan, and co-betheyn to Garse. Both Gwen and Jaan wear heavy jade-and-silver bracelets to symbolize their bond. Jaan and his teyn Garse, each wear equally massive iron-and-glowstone (fire-and-iron) bracelets to symbolize their strong bond.
Gwen is doing ecological research on Worlorn with Arkin Ruark, who is from the pacifist planet of Kimdiss. Jaan and Garse accompanied Gwen to Worlorn to partially because Jaan's interpretation of Kavalar history - Jaan is an historian - made him unpopular on his homeworld.
Gwen and Dirk visit the forests riding sky-scoots. She takes him by aircar to visit four other festival cities. Dirk doesn't know how Gwen feels about him; they have both changed over the years. Gwen is not entirely happy; she has problems with some Kavalar customs. Dirk wonders why he went to Worlorn.
In Laretyn, besides the Ironjades, there are men of more conservative holdfast Braith, who think it's OK to hunt humans that are non-Kavalars because they are "mockmen".
Dirk unintentionally insults one-eyed Bretan Braith and is challenged to a duel. Ruark and Gwen convince Dirk not to fight, but to run away. Gwen goes with Dirk. They hide in the city of Challenge, a single, towering, computer-run building. The next flight leaving the spaceport is in over two weeks. Somehow Bretan Braith and other Braiths locate them, and chase them. The Ironjades, Jaan and Garse, come to the rescue of Gwen and Dirk. Gwen is injured. Jaan does something, despite the objection of his teyn Garse, which the Kalavar deem dishonorable.
Jaan, Gwen, and Dirk go to the city of Kryne Lamiya, where the wind plays sad music on its towers. Gwen slowly recovers. Jaan flys back to Laretyn to rescue Gwen's co-worker, Ruark, but his aircar crashes. The Braith and their huge hounds hunt Jaan through the forest.
The Braiths outnumber them. Dirk goes to Laretyn and pleads with Garse to help save Jaan. Dirk knows Jaan to be a good man. Garse formulates a perilous plan. Dirk becomes one of the hunted. The situation with the extremist Braiths needs to be resolved, and other things put to rest.summary written by
10 Wow! Don't miss it
8-9 Highly recommended
5-6 Mild recommendation
3-4 Take your chances
1-2 Below average; skip it
0 Get out the flamethrower!
U Unfinishable or unreadable
- Skipped or no rating given