Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Liz Williams’ 2008 British novel Winterstrike released in the United States

Apparently, Winterstrike (UK, 2008), a recent novel written by British SF&F author Liz Williams and the first in a planned Gothic SF trilogy, is now available in the United States. Featuring the blustery city of Winterstrike on a colonized Mars governed by matriarchs, Williams' novel made Amazon UK’s list of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2008 and the long list for the 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the United Kingdom’s premier prize for science fiction literature. Here’s a formal description of Winterstrike, taken from Amazon:

Winterstrike spy, Hestia Mar has been sent to Caud to recover details of an ancient weapon. During her stay in the Martian city, she encounters the ghost of a warrior, who turns out to be the encoded representation of the city's bombed library. She downloads the data contained here, and the details of the weapon are among them. But Hestia Mar realises too late what she has done: by accessing the data, she has virtually guaranteed the use of the weapon against Caud by her own government. Desperate to rescue the situation she makes her way back home across the dangers of the Crater Plain. Meanwhile, in Winterstrike itself, the festival of Ombre has been taking place upon the eve of war. Shorn, a woman imprisoned by her family for accidentally consorting with a male - manages to escape. Her sister Essgui follows Shorn and sets out across the Crater Plain where she meets Hestia Mar. Their journey - to recover lost sister and missing weapon - takes them into the dangerous mountains of Mars, and the discovery of a group of outcast male creatures who hold the secrets to the Martian past, and to its future...

For a taste of Williams' writing style and her vision of Mars, read the short story "La Malcontenta" (2005), which is set in the city of Winterstrike.

Critic Faren Miller reviewed Winterstrike for the August 2009 issue of Locus magazine, concluding, “Eloquence like that can accomplish a lot, convincing dubious readers not to set aside a downbeat tale, and perhaps getting fans of hard SF to accept elements of Gothic horror transported to a far future where even space travel comes in a mode that could have been invented by Edgar Allen Poe at his most outré.”

Winterstrike was also reviewed by the blogs Fantasy Book Critic, Walker of Worlds,, Cheryl’s Mewsings, and the UK newspaper Guardian.

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