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Winter Song [Kindle Edition]

Colin Harvey
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $6.99 What's this?
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Book Description


Rock-hard sci-fi adventure. No-one here gets out alive.

When his spaceship crashes on an unknown and forgotten planet, scientist Karl Allman discovers himself hunted by an ancient race. The descendants of earlier colonists have reverted to a savage tribal culture of sacrifice, pillage and violence. When Karl falls in love with an outcast girl, he has only one goal: escape. But escape is a distant dream on this nightmare planet.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Starship Crash | Abandoned Colony | Alien Genocide | Comet Death ]

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Editorial Reviews


"Harsh, sometimes grotesque, strongly compelling - a classical journey told in a new, uncompromising voice." - John Meaney

"Harvey paints a grimly convincing portrait of a subsistence existence on the inhospitable world. Harvey's... novel depicts a fascinating universe of want and plenitude, to which he will hopefully return in future novels." - Eric Brown, The Guardian

"This is tough, traditional science fiction with plenty of “Hard SF” and world-building, intriguingly leavened by the spirit of the Norse myths that runs through it. Good entertainment by a thinking writer." - The Morning Star

"[Colin Harvey] deserves a place on your shelf along with Asher, Reynolds, Hamilton and Stross." - Deadwood Reviews

Praise for Colin Harvey's Previous Works:

"The novel is familiar in a haunting way, yet unique in its storytelling... Teens and adults who love science fiction will enjoy this thought-provoking work." - Armchair Interviews (reviewing Lightning Days)

"...a unique, rich, yet realistic and believable fantasy world excellently written" - (reviewing The Silk Palace)

From the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Colin's first fiction was published in 2001, since when he has written novels, short stories and reviews, edited anthologies and judged the Speculative Literature Foundation's annual Gulliver Travel Research Grant for five years. Colin's reviews have appeared at Strange Horizons and he was the feature writer for speculative fiction at Suite101. The author passed away on August 16th, 2011.

Product Details

  • File Size: 539 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot; Reprint edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003Z9KFKI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,703 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Although Winter Song still isn't the cutting-edge science fiction that the Angry Robot imprint promises, it is a genuinely solid effort that made my morning commute a lot shorter. Literature, it ain't - but Winter Song combines good storytelling and strong (but not overwhelming) world-building to make for an entertaining read. It doesn't push any boundaries - if anything, this is a throwback to the Ace or DAW era. But that's no bad thing.

Winter Song takes place on a desolate, icy world in the backwoods of space. After a brief kerfuffle with space pirates, Karl Allman crash-lands on this hillbilly snowball. Fortunately, he's not totally alone - the planet is home to Icelandic space colonists. These Nordic stragglers have been cut off for centuries and, although they're still keeping alive and using space-age technology, they've regressed quite badly from a social standpoint.

Karl begins his life with the settlers as a raving lunatic - his spaceship (now so much rubbish) managed to download its entire database into Karl's head. So not only does he have to survive space-age Viking culture and find a way home, he's got to do it while being the man-with-two-brains.

For a small paperback, this is a book with some big topics. Between the front and the back covers, Karl stumbles across a second tribe of lost colonists, conducts a detailed exploration of space-Viking culture, gets mauled by a wild bestiary of alien critters, hikes across a frozen wilderness and saves the world from magnetic mangling. Makes for a long day. And, in the breaks, Karl explains the rest of the universe to his Girl Friday.

To Harvey's credit, although this is a lot of world-building, it is never intrusive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cold rush in sci-fi August 31, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Harvey's latest sci-fi yarn explores a number of previously explored and popular themes within the sci-fi community: the internal struggle of right and wrong, isolation, societal regression, and mythology among others. That said, the story is more a character study than an actioner, with the narrative following the tragic adventure of pilot, space explorer and scientist Karl Allman on a doomed space mission. Finding himself marooned on the remote planet Isheimur, a cold, desolate place populated by the remnants of human settlers who've been cut off from their space-faring brethren for hundreds of years, Allman (whose name is an obvious tout to his "everyman" quality) faces everything from wild beasts and tribal societies to the harshest weather's no wonder the guy just wants to get home.

With his only goal of getting off the barbaric rock, Allman is forced to endure the primitive lifestyles of his rescuers as well as face off against baddies who are simply products of their environments. One thing Harvey does well is create an atmosphere of intensity and struggle and then develop the characters within this environment.

While I'm personally more a fan of military sci-fi Harvey's Winter Song, while not military in origin, does a great job of remaining suspenseful and tense. Likewise, his world building, character development, and somewhat existential examination of specific human characteristics all lend themselves to solid storytelling.

Overall, Colin Harvey's Winter Song is a solid additions to the Angry Robot Books library. No doubt die-hard sci-fi and fantasy fans will find themselves a new favorite publisher with Angry Robot hitting shelves. Look for additional releases in the coming months and watch [...] for more information!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining sci-fi read December 12, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The thing i like about Angry Robot books is they have a real old school "pulp fiction" type ethos and aesthetic to how they do things. They pump out these cheap paperbacks at a good pace, usually several titles a month now and they remind me of the old fashioned sci-fi publishers that used to be around when i was in school. I can recall a publisher that i think was called Ace science fiction that used to put out books like this and when i was a teenager i lapped them up.
Winter Song is a good book, there is nothing really spectacular or new in it, if you're a sci-fi fan you've come across all these ideas before but it is very entertaining and enjoyable anyway. It is a cracking good old fashioned adventure that would be ideal reading for a plane trip or daily bus commute.
I enjoyed this book a lot and would happily read anything else Colin Harvey has written and will continue to follow the latest releases from Angry Robot Books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Winter Song is another title in the strong list Angry Robot Books has released since it's inception earlier this year. The new imprint has had good reviews for its titles and when I saw this one coming up for an October release I was very interested - any sci-fi set in a future where humanity has expanded across the galaxy is something I want to hear more about. Winter Song was not quite what I expected, but it delivered an entertaining read in an unforgiving environment.

Following Karl Allman as he crash lands on a forgotten and primitive colony world where the terraforming looks like it's going backwards, Winter Song is a novel that has more than a few surprises up its sleeve. I was expecting to walk into this with a more typical human vs alien world theme where there were many strange and wonderful creatures. What I got was a story focused on human characters that developed and grew with each situation they face.

Isheimur is a cold planet whose colony was set up with Icelandic heritage, and with strong willed characters in the leadership roles within the village, Karl finds himself in a difficult and frustrating situation. Ragnar, the village leader, believes in a harsh rule. He is not an unfair person, but with stores low and an extra pair of hands needed, he forces Karl to stay and help the village. Bera, a young woman in the village, is unpopular due to an unwed pregnancy. What is worse is the fact that she won't reveal the father to Ragnar. For this she is treated with little courtesy and often outright scorn. So when Karl arrives, half starved and in need of help, Bera is tasked with his treatment, leading to a friendship and quest to find the mysterious Winter Song, a relic of a long forgotten seed ship.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping saga
Colin Harvey's WINTER SONG tells of Karl Allman, whose spaceship crashes on a planet that's a backwater. Read more
Published on December 17, 2010 by Midwest Book Review
2.0 out of 5 stars A promising start fizzles
I won't rehash the plot here. It has been adequately covered in many of the previous reviews.

This book has a reasonably good beginning. Read more
Published on September 22, 2010 by D. Trimmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard science fiction with a heart
Colin Harvey's best novel so far, Winter Song presents a superman of the future, enhanced for space flight, who's torn out of his world and thrust onto a forgotten planet with... Read more
Published on September 21, 2010 by Gwen Veazey
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid World Building Novel
Disclaimer: Reviewer is the owner/operator of Swimming Kangaroo Books which published Colin Harvey's first four novels, although not this one. Read more
Published on September 19, 2010 by DRob
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
You might call Winter Song a shipwreck story, or a new take on Icelandic myth, or a story about survival against impossible odds. It's all that, and more. Read more
Published on March 25, 2010 by Michael W. Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars Myth making
Although bookended with science-fiction themes of interstellar travel and terraforming planets, when spaceman Karl Allman crash lands on the frozen planet of Isheimur the majority... Read more
Published on February 24, 2010 by Keris Nine
2.0 out of 5 stars Run-of-the-mill space opera
"Winter Song" is novelist Colin Harvey's first venture into science fiction with a major publisher, Angry Robot. Read more
Published on December 27, 2009 by Steve Benner
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More About the Author

Colin Harvey was born in Cornwall in 1960, and now lives between Bristol and Bath. He worked on a kibbutz and in a night shelter in the Midlands before joining Unilever. Colin worked for Unilever for over 20 years, including launching Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in Iceland, and as part of the project teams rolling out Sunsilk Colour Active Shampoo in Australia, and Vaseline Body Butter in North America.

Colin has been a freelance writer since 2007. He reviewed for Strange Horizons for six years, and served on the Management Committe of the Speculative Literature Foundation for five, during which time he co-judged the Travel Research Grant and the Older Writers Grant.

His short stories have appeared in Albedo One,, Song of the Siren and Speculations, as well as several original anthologies. His novels are all available on Amazon.

Colin's anthology Killers was nominated for the Black Quill Award and the British Fantasy Award.


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