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Windhaven

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Written by George R.R. MartinAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by George R.R. Martin and Lisa TuttleAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Lisa Tuttle



eBook

List Price: $11.99

eBook

On Sale: April 29, 2003
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-553-89719-7
Published by : Bantam Bantam Dell

Audio Editions

Read by Harriet Walter
On Sale: October 16, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-35977-1
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fantasy (71) science fiction (59) fiction (41) sf (23) flight (6)
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

George R. R. Martin has thrilled a generation of readers with his epic works of the imagination, most recently the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling saga told in the novels A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords. Lisa Tuttle has won acclaim from fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy alike -- most recently for her haunting novel The Pillow Friend. Now together they gift readers with this classic tale of a brilliantly rendered world of ironbound tradition, where a rebellious soul seeks to prove the power of a dream.

The planet of Windhaven was not originally a home to humans, but it became one following the crash of a colony starship. It is a world of small islands, harsh weather, and monster-infested seas. Communication among the scattered settlements was virtually impossible until the discovery that, thanks to light gravity and a dense atmosphere, humans were able to fly with the aid of metal wings made of bits of the cannibalized spaceship.

Many generations later, among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, who bring news, gossip, songs, and stories. They are romantic figures crossing treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms that could easily dash them from the sky to instant death. They are also members of an increasingly elite caste, for the wings -- always in limited quantity -- are growing gradually rarer as their bearers perish.

With such elitism comes arrogance and a rigid adherence to hidebound tradition. And for the flyers, allowing just anyone to join their cadre is an idea that borders on heresy. Wings are meant only for the offspring of flyers -- now the new nobility of Windhaven. Except that sometimes life is not quite so neat.

Maris of Amberly, a fisherman's daughter, was raised by a flyer and wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. By tradition, however, the wings must go to her stepbrother, Coll, the flyer's legitimate son. But Coll wants only to be a singer, traveling the world by sea. So Maris challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen on the basis of merit rather than inheritance. And when she wins that bitter battle, she discovers that her troubles are only beginning.

For not all flyers are willing to accept the world's new structure, and as Maris battles to teach those who yearn to fly, she finds herself likewise fighting to preserve the integrity of a society she so longed to join -- not to mention the very fabric that holds her culture together.

Excerpt

Maris rode the storm ten feet above the sea, taming the winds on wide cloth-of-metal wings. She flew fiercely, recklessly, delighting in the danger and the feel of the spray, not bothered by the cold. The sky was an ominous cobalt blue, the winds were building, and she had wings; that was enough. She could die now, and die happy, flying.

She flew better than she ever had before, twisting and gliding between the air currents without thought, catching each time the updraft or downwind that would carry her farther or faster. She made no wrong choices, was forced into no hasty scrambles above the leaping ocean; the tacking she did was all for joy. It would have been safer to fly high, like a child, up above the waves as far as she could climb, safe from her own mistakes. But Maris skimmed the sea, like a flyer, where a single dip, a brush of wing against water, meant a clumsy tumble from the sky. And death; you don't swim far when your wingspan is twenty feet.

Maris was daring, but she knew the winds.

Ahead she spied the neck of a scylla, a sinuous rope dark against the horizon. Almost without thinking, she responded. Her right hand pulled down on the leather wing grip, her left pushed up. She shifted the whole weight of her body. The great silver wings -- tissue thin and almost weightless, but immensely strong -- shifted with her, turning. One wingtip all but grazed the whitecaps snapping below, the other lifted; Maris caught the rising winds more fully, and began to climb.

Death, sky death, had been on her mind, but she would not end like that -- snapped from the air like an unwary gull, lunch for a hungry monster.

Minutes later she caught up to the scylla, and paused for a taunting circle just beyond its reach. From above she could see its body, barely beneath the waves, the rows of slick black flippers beating rhythmically. The tiny head, swaying slowly from side to side atop the long neck, ignored her. Perhaps it has known flyers, she thought then, and it does not like the taste.

The winds were colder now, and heavy with salt. The storm was gathering strength; she could feel a trembling in the air. Maris, exhilarated, soon left the scylla far behind. Then she was alone again, flying effortlessly, through an empty, darkening world of sea and sky where the only sound was the wind upon her wings.

In time, the island reared out of the sea: her destination. Sighing, sorry for the journey's end, Maris let herself descend.

Gina and Tor, two of the local land-bound -- Maris didn't know what they did when they weren't caring for visiting flyers -- were on duty out on the landing spit. She circled once above them to catch their attention. They rose from the soft sand and waved at her. The second time she came around they were ready. Maris dipped lower and lower, until her feet were just inches above the ground; Gina and Tor ran across the sand parallel to her, each beside a wing. Her toes brushed surface and she began to slow in a shower of sand.

Finally she stopped, lying prone on the cool, dry sand. She felt silly. A downed flyer is like a turtle on its back; she could get on her feet if she had to, but it was a difficult, undignified process. Still, it had been a good landing.

Gina and Tor began to fold up her wings, joint by foot-long joint. As each strut unlocked and folded back on the next segment, the tissue fabric between them went limp. When all the extensors were pulled in, the wings hung in two loose folds of drooping metal from the central axis strapped to Maris' back.

"We'd expected Coll," said Gina, as she folded back the final strut. Her short dark hair stood out in spikes around her face.

Maris shook her head. It should have been Coll's journey, perhaps, but she had been desperate, longing for the air. She'd taken the wings -- still her wings -- and gone before he was out of bed.

"He'll have flying enough after next week, I expect," Tor said cheerfully. There was still sand in his lank blond hair and he was shivering a little from the sea winds, but he smiled as he spoke. "All the flying he'll want." He stepped in front of Maris to help her unstrap the wings.

"I'll wear them," Maris snapped at him, impatient, angered by his casual words. How could he understand? How could any of them understand? They were land-bound.

She started up the spit toward the lodge, Gina and Tor falling in beside her. There she took the usual refreshments and, standing before a huge open fire, allowed herself to be dried and warmed. The friendly questions she answered curtly, trying to be silent, trying not to think, This may be the last time. Because she was a flyer, they all respected her silence, though with disappointment. For the land-bound, the flyers were the most regular source of contact with the other islands. The seas, daily storm-lashed and infested with scyllas and seacats and other predators, were too dangerous for regular ship travel except among islands within the same local group. The flyers were the links, and the others looked to them for news, gossip, songs, stories, romance.

"The Landsman will be ready whenever you are rested," Gina said, touching Maris tentatively on the shoulder. Maris pulled away, thinking, Yes, to you it is enough to serve the flyers. You'd like a flyer husband, Coll perhaps when he's grown -- and you don't know what it means to me that Coll should be the flyer, and not I. But she said only, "I'm ready now. It was an easy flight. The winds did all the work."

Gina led her to another room, where the Landsman was waiting for her message. Like the first room, this was long and sparsely furnished, with a blazing fire crackling in a great stone hearth. The Landsman sat in a cushioned chair near the flames; he rose when Maris entered. Flyers were always greeted as equals, even on islands where the Landsmen were worshipped as gods and held godlike powers.

After the ritual greetings had been exchanged, Maris closed her eyes and let the message flow. She didn't know or care what she said. The words used her voice without troubling her conscious thought. Probably politics, she thought. Lately it had all been politics.

When the message ended, Maris opened her eyes and smiled at the Landsman -- perversely, on purpose, because he looked worried by her words. But he recovered quickly and returned her smile. "Thank you," he said, a little weakly. "You've done well."

She was invited to stay the night, but she refused. The storm might die by morning; besides, she liked night flying. Tor and Gina accompanied her outside and up the rocky path to the flyers' cliff. There were lanterns set in the stone every few feet, to make the twisting ascent safer at night.
George R.R. Martin|Lisa Tuttle

About George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin - Windhaven

Photo © Parris

George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons—as well as Tuf Voyaging, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Dying of the Light, Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle), and Dreamsongs Volumes I and II. He is also the creator of The Lands of Ice and Fire, a collection of maps from A Song of Ice and Fire featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts. As a writer-producer, Martin has worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. He lives with the lovely Parris in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

About Lisa Tuttle

Lisa Tuttle - Windhaven

Photo © Emily Murray

Lisa Tuttle was born and raised in Houston, Texas, won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1974, and now lives with her husband and daughter on the west coast of Scotland. Her first novel, Windhaven, was written with George R. R. Martin. Other novels include Lost Futures, which was short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, The Pillow Friend, and The Mysteries.
Praise

Praise

Praise for Windhaven:

"A powerful flight of the imagination ... wrought by a pair of writers noted for excellence."—Roger Zelazny

"Told with a true storyteller's voice: clear, singing, persuasive, and wonderfully moving. They have made a mythic land and peopled it with unforgettable characters. It is a book for adults and children who have dreamed of flying with their own wings, and for story listeners of all ages for whom dreams are as potent as realities. A truly wonderful book."—Jane Yolen

"It's a romance. It's science fantasy. It's beautiful."—A.E. van Vogt

"The pace never slackens, shifting easily from moments of almost unbearable tension to others of sheer poetry and exhilaration. Martin and Tuttle make wonderful professional music together."
-- Fort Worth Star-Telegram


For George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones:

"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant."-- Robert Jordan

"A grand feast and pageant: George R. R. Martin has unveiled for us an intensely realized, romantic but realistic world."-- Chicago Sun-Times

A Clash of Kings:

"Destined to be one of the best fantasy series ever written."-- The Denver Post

"Rivals T. H. White's The Once and Future King."-- The Des Moines Register

For Lisa Tuttle's The Pillow Friend:

"A disturbing novel about dreams and wishes, a nightmarish distaff monkey's paw of a book that it's impossible to forget. Lisa Tuttle remains our preeminent chronicler of family madness and desire."-- Neil Gaiman

"Stunning. This novel shows us that what we hide from ourselves, and what we make up, may be more real than reality itself."-- Library Journal

Lost Futures:

"Lisa Tuttle's best fiction is like a slow settling of vast planes of thought and emotion -- luminous, quiet, wry and often bitter. The edges almost always admit other worlds, sometimes horrific, whose full import may be revealed, fully and skillfully, in a single, telling line."-- Kathleen Ann Goonan, The New York Review of Science Fiction

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