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.
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December 31, 1980
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Excerpt from Windhaven by George R.R. Martin
THE STORM HAD RAGED through most of the night.
In the wide bed she shared with her mother, the child lay awake beneath the scratchy woolweed blanket, listening. The sound of the rain against the thin lemonwood planks of the cabin was steady and insistent, and sometimes she heard the far-off boom of thunderclaps, and when the lightning flashed thin lines of light leaked in between the shutters to illuminate the tiny room. When they faded, it was dark again.
The child could hear the patter of water against the floor, and she knew that the roof had sprung another leak. It would turn the hard-packed earth to mud, and her mother would be furious, but there was nothing to be done. Her mother was not good at patching roofs, and they could not afford to hire anyone. Someday, her mother told her, the tired cabin would collapse in the violence of the storms. "Then we will go and see your father again," she would say. The girl did not remember her father very well, but her mother spoke of him often.
The shutters shook beneath a terrible blast of wind, and the child listened to the frightening sound of creaking wood, and the thrumming of the greased paper that served them for a window, and briefly she was afraid. Her mother slept on, unaware. The storms were frequent, but her mother slept through all of them. The girl was afraid to wake her. Her mother had a fierce temper, and she did not like being awakened for something as small as a child's fear.
The walls creaked and shifted once again; lightning and thunder came almost together, and the child shivered underneath her blanket and wondered whether this would be the night that they went to see her father.
But it was not.
Finally the storm subsided, and even the rain stopped. The room was dark and quiet.
The girl shook her mother into wakefulness.
"What " she said. "What "
"The storm is over, Mother," the child said.
At that the woman nodded and rose. "Get dressed," she told the girl, as she hunted for her own clothing in the darkness. Dawn was still an hour away, at least, but it was important to get to the beach quickly. The storms smashed ships, the child knew; little fishing boats that had stayed out too late or ventured too far, and sometimes even the great trading ships. If you went out after a storm, you might find things washed up on the beach, all kinds of things. Once they had found a knife with a beaten metal edge; when they had sold it they had eaten well for two weeks. If you wanted to find good things, though, you could not afford to be lazy. A lazy person would wait till dawn, and find nothing.
Her mother hung an empty canvas sack over her shoulder, for carrying things. The girl's dress had big pockets. They both wore boots. The woman took down a long pole with a carved wooden hook on its end, in case they saw something in the water, floating just out of reach. "Come on, child," she said. "Don't dawdle."