Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Dying of the Light 2004 tp cover 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)
Dying of the Light 1982 paperback cover

From the Bantam Spectra trade paperback:
      A whisperjewel summoned him to Worlorn, and a love he thought he'd lost.  But Worlorn isn't the world Dirk t'Larien imagined, and Gwen Delvano is no longer the woman he once knew.  She is bound to another man, and to a dying planet that is trapped in twilight, forever falling toward night.  Amid this bleak landscape is a violent clash of cultures in which there is no code of honor - and the hunter and the hunted are often interchangeable.
      Caught up in a dangerous triangle, Gwen is in need of Dirk's protection, and he will do anything to keep her safe, even if it means challenging the barbaric man who has claimed her - and his cunning cohort.  But an impenetrable veil of secrecy surrounds them all, and it's becoming impossible for Dirk to distinguish between his allies and his enemies.  While each will fight to stay alive, one is waiting for escape, one for revenge, and another for a brutal, untimely demise.

From the back of the Timescape paperback:
       An interplanetary fantasy of love and war
       Responding to the call of his lover of years before, Dirk t'Larien traveled long months to Worlorn, a dark, dying world inhabited only by the lost stragglers of a thriving world of the past.
      But he arrived to find Gwen bound to an exiled warrior - banished to Worlorn for the violence of his acts.
      Now the greatest of all dangers was upon Dirk - for in breaking Gwen's bond, he was now brutally hunted for sport by vicious aliens...a living target trapped in the...Dying of the Light

Read for group discussion on January 26, 2005

More covers: Dying of the Light
Dying of the Light 2000 UK cover Analog April 1977 cover Dying of the Light 1990 Baen cover
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

Dying of the Light was serialized in Analog, a well-known science fiction magazine, under the title After the Festival in four parts from April to July 1977.
Amy's summary  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

How we each rated this book
Dan - Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    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
Cheri 4 Barb -
Aaron 8 Cynthia -
Jackie 3 Ron 6
Christine - Deb -
Mike - Stephanie 6
Gary 8 Natalie 4

Our book group has also read the following books by George R.R. Martin:
-- A Game of Thrones   in May 1998

George R. R. Martin (1948-     ) Is a US writer and editor. (His middle initials, R.R., stand for Raymond Richard). He has written short fiction, novels, and for TV. He has edited original and reprint fiction anthologies.

1974 Hugo Award best novella for "Song for Lya"
1979 Hugo Award best novelette for "Sandkings"
1979 Nebula Award best novelette for "Sandkings"
1979 Hugo Award best short story "The Way of Cross and Dragon"
1985 Nebula Award best novelette for "Portraits of His Children"
1987 Bram Stoker Award for "The Pear-Shaped Man"
1989 World Fantasy Award for novella "The Skin Trade"
1997 Hugo Award best novella for "Blood of the Dragon"

A Song of Ice and Fire series:
George R.R. Martin's bestselling epic fantasy series.
--A Game of Thrones (1996)
--A Clash of Kings (1999)
--A Storm of Swords (2000)
--A Feast for Crows (2005)

The anthology Legends (1998) contains "The Hedge Knight", a novella set in the A Song of Ice and Fire world, but a century earlier. It features Dunk, a poor but honorable young man who wants to be more than a mere hedge knight. He goes to Ashford Meadow hoping to win a tourney. A clever boy, Egg, wants to be his squire. Things get complicated when Dunk fights to defend a pretty puppeteer from a cruel Targaryen prince.

Legends II (2003) contains "The Sworn Sword," which continues the adventures of Dunk, a young hedge knight, and his unusual squire, Egg.

Other novels:
--Dying of the Light (1977)
--Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle, 1981)
(Windhaven was reprinted in hardcover in 2001)
--Fevre Dream (1982), a tale of vampires and Mississippi steamboats
--Armageddon Rag (1983), a thriller
--The Ice Dragon (1980), a story published as a short book in 2006
--Shadow Twin (with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham) (2005)

Short fiction collections:
--A Song for Lya and Other Stories (1976)
--Songs of Stars and Shadows (1977)
--Sandkings (1981)
--Songs the Dead Men Sing (1983)
--Nightflyers (1985)
--Tuf Voyaging (1986, linked SF stories)
--Portraits of his Children (1987)
--Quartet (2001, collection of three novellas)
--GRRM: A Retrospective (2003) from Subterranean Press contains novellas, unpublished teleplays, short stories, and commentary
--Dreamsongs: Volume I (2007)
--Dreamsongs: Volume II (2007)

Television work:
Martin was story editor for the TV series The Twilight Zone (1985-1987), and a writer and a producer for Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990). He wrote a number of teleplays for episodes of these series.

Wild Cards series:
Martin created and edited the superhero shared-world anthologies - "mosaic novels" - Wild Cards. The Wild Cards books are being reissued as a trade paperbacks. The books in this linked series are:
#1: Wild Cards - A Mosaic Novel (1987)
#2: Aces High (1987)
#3: Jokers Wild (1987)
#4: Aces Abroad (1988)
#5: Down and Dirty (1988)
#6: Ace in the Hole (1990)
#7: Dead Man's Hand (1990, written by Martin and John J. Miller)
#8: One-Eyed Jacks (1991)
#9: Jokertown Shuffle (1991)
#10: Double Solitaire (1992, a novel by Melinda M. Snodgrass)
#11: Dealers Choice (1992)
#12: Turn of the Cards (1993, a novel by Victor Milán)
The "new cycle" of Wild Cards books are:
#13: Card Sharks (1993)
#14: Marked Cards (1994)
#15: Black Trump (1995)
There is a companion graphic-story Wild Cards series including, #1: Heart of the Matter (1990), #2: Diamond in the Rough (1990), #3: Welcome to the Club (1990) and #4: Spadework (1990)

G.R.R. Martin as editor:
Martin edited New Voices in Science Fiction, Volumes 1-4 (anthologies 1977- 1981), The Science Fiction Weight-Loss Book (1983, with Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg), The John W. Campbell Awards Volume 5 (1984); and Night Visions 3 (1986).

Graphic novels from Martin's works
1987 DC Comics graphic novel adaptation of George R.R. Martin's novella "Sandkings"
HEDGE KNIGHT #1 to #6 - graphic novel/trade paperback of The Hedge Knight (2004) adapted by Ben Avery with pencils by Mike S. Miller.

Our book club's page for A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Aaron's review of A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin on Fantastic Reviews
Aaron's review of A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin on Fantastic Reviews
Official website of George R. R. Martin
SF Site: A Conversation with George R. R. Martin (Nov. 2000)
January Magazine Interview | George R. R. Martin - Entertainment - George R. R. Martin (Apr. 2001)
George RR Martin interviewed - infinity plus (Dec. 2000)
George RR Martin: Dying of the Light - an infinity plus review

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