Friday, January 23, 2009

Lake of the Sun, a novel by Wynne Whiteford

Lake of the Sun (1989), a novel by Wynne Whiteford

At left: Paperback original (New York: Ace Books, 1989), 249 p., $3.50. Cover art by Don Dixon. Here
is the blurb from the back cover of the book:

"When the explosions began, shaking the very roof of his world, only Rah had the courage to climb to the surface to investigate. There he found a strange machine, tended by two-eyed creatures with silvery skin. Aliens! A deep chill touched Rah’s very soul. The unbelievable had finally happened. Mars had been invaded!"

According to Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction (1999), by Russell Blackford, Van Ikin and Sean McMullen, Lake of the Sun is “a novel of first contact between Martians and humans, although both of these groups also subdivide, and it turns out they are closely related genetically, sharing a history in the deep past. The Martians, who live deep underground where there is water and breathable air, have a basic industrial technology with spring-driven motors and primitive electrical devices. They fall into the two categories of the Gulf People (or vora) and a smaller number of one-eyed Lake People (or ashti), who were originally outcasts but are now a more biologically evolved and technologically advanced group. Those humans who have become adapted to the low gravity of Mars are spider-like, with seemingly globular bodies (as observed from the viewpoint of Earth visitors) and elongated limbs. The presence of humans on Mars exacerbates difficulties between the Gulf and Lake peoples almost precipitating an arms race and a destructive war between these otherwise peaceful groups. A headstrong young member of the Gulf People, Vordok, emerges as the villain, contemplating a personal empire brought about by violence.”

Wynne Whiteford’s Lake of the Sun won the Ditmar Award in 1990 for Best Australian Long Fiction.

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