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Glory Season Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1994

3.8 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moving into territory heretofore eschewed by male SF writers, Brin ( Earth ) here presents a world settled by radical feminist separatists, where through genetic engineering most reproduction occurs parthenogenetically, yielding clones of the mothers. On Stratos, skill-specialized clone clans dominate society. Genetic engineering could not entirely eliminate the male role, however, and Stratos's founders were aware of the value of "variant," or sexually reproduced, offspring to generate new combinations of genes, skills and attributes. The heroine, Maia, is such a "var," and the novel traces her traditional banishment (with her twin, Leie) from the clan to seek out her own niche (vars dream of being successful enough to found their own clone clan). Maia's plans soon fall apart; separated from her sister and believing her dead, she runs afoul of smugglers and ends up allied with the strange male Visitor, an emissary from the vast Human Phylum of worlds, whose arrival has triggered political struggles all over Stratos. Should they renew communication with the other human worlds, or would that contaminate their social and biological experiment? Brin's handling of this material is cool and rational. While he criticizes some of the weaknesses of Stratos life, he also makes as good a case for its viability and benefits as might any feminist. An inconclusive ending and some slow pacing mar this otherwise provocative and intriguing new perspective on gender issues.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

As a "var," or uncloned female, Maia faces a life on the fringe of the stratified, female clone-based society of Stratos unless she can earn the right to found a dynasty of clones or find some way to change the static world in which she lives. Brin's canny sensitivity about the complexities of human nature transcends gender barriers in a novel that is not so much about "women's issues" as the necessity for change and variability. As in Earth ( LJ 4/15/90), the author demonstrates his ability to empathize with all his characters. This complex and gripping tale belongs in most libraries.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553567675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553567670
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In truth, i read this book and did little else for a couple days (and i have two small children, one big dog, and a husband for which to care). David Brin is among my favorite authors partly because he knows the science he that one can always found weaved deftly into his science fiction. There's almost nothing more off-putting to me then to read some really wrong science "fact" in a scifi novel. Brin always gets his science right AND he is amazingly creative in the invention of his worlds, such as the one he created here, and populated with real-seeming people.
This book has some lovely bits in it. For example, the part about Maia finding the truth of her and Leie's names was such a cruel blow and was incredibly well-written as well as furthering the book in an important manner by allowing Maia to begin cutting the strings binding her to the childish dream she and Leie shared.
I felt cheated with the ending, however, and wondered if he simply needed to finish it in a hurry. That ending seemed to pat, too easy, dealing death too conveniently, to be the result of careful planning and strategy. The person who died didn't have to, shouldn't have. The conflict and tension between that character and Maia should have been worked out another way.
_Glory Season_ left me wishing and hoping i'll stumble across another of Brin's books, unread and unknown to me, soon. Maybe he's finishing another one now ..
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an excellent book. Brin imagines the kind of world that would result from a very carefully designed human colonization effort. The Founders of Stratos wanted their world to be pastoral - to have people for the most part using tools that could be crafted by hand, to have them abandon spaceflight. They accepted that economics and politics would sometimes lead to unrest and violence, so they crafted the culture of the planet so that lethal force was considered taboo. They saw mankind's obsession with physical love, and the strength and temperment of men, as major flaws in the species. Finally, they chose a location for the colony that would be likely to be overlooked by the rest of humanity.
The colonists of Stratos are genetically modified so that both genders have "rutting" seasons, much like other mammals. However, these seasons are offset from each other, so that whenever one side is interested, the other could care less. This causes procreation to be much more a matter of barter and economics than love, impulse, etc. Also, the women are capable of conceiving normally or of bearing a child that is a clone of themselves.
From these premises, Brin builds a fascinating culture - one that is conservative and enduring.
Set against this backdrop is a familiar storyline, of a smart young innocent setting out on her own, witnessing things that were meant to remain secret, and getting swept up in the midst of intrigue and adventure. Given the low tech level of Stratos, the story often feels like a standard adventure set in pre-industrial times. However, the depth of the setting, and the differences in attitude and philosophy of the characters, keeps the whole thing feeling novel and interesting.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ok, I'm imagining a drinking game--every time David Brin uses the words "route" or "ululation," take a drink. Every time the heroine of Glory Season, Maia, goes unconscious, take a drink. After a few chapters, you and your friends will be too blind to read any more.
Science fiction is not about the future, but about the present, and Brin likes to push buttons on 20th century issues with his books. in Earth, he tackled environmentalism, in the Uplift books, he allegorically ponders racial diversity and tolerance. In Glory Season, Brin has written a dependable, if heavy-handed adventure, imagining a future feminism in a matriarchal world of mostly cloned women, but there's a lot more going on here than some tables-are-turned male-bashing.
Taking a cue from noir detective novels, the author has Maia, a good-hearted and bright young woman who finds herself at the lowest rungs of society, gradually unraveling a twisted plot, complete with double-crosses, unlikely allies, and even an exotic "homme fatale"(?) from outer space. And what private dick story would be complete without the protagonist getting conked on the head repeatedly?
Brin's prose is serviceable, and he loves to pepper the action with extrapolated future words, corrupted from familiar English in a way that's just too precious sometimes. Also bordering on too-cute is the unquenchable optimism. Maia takes on loss, grief, kidnapping, beating, betrayal, torture, imprisonment, shipwreck, starvation, prostitutes, drug dealers, guerillas, pirates, all with Dickensian pluck and resourcefulness.
Despite the silliness, though, Glory Season really has some Points to Ponder, some hardcore anthropological and evolutionary speculation, and lots of geeky humor (for example, in every Brin book, at least one character has to put on a fake Scottish accent at least once, no matter how unlikely, and Glory Season is no exception). Fans of traditional sci-fi adventure will appreciate it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best sci-fi books I have ever read, and if you read many of my reviews you will realise that I do not say this lightly, nor do I often award five stars for anything.
This is an intriguing and intelligent book set in a world where women dominate life in great families of female clones and where men are the lesser species. Both species are ruled by sexual urges, but at different times of the year, Summer for men and Winter for women. The result is a stagnant population level.
We follow two sisters who are of low status because they are Summer babies, not clones, who travel together to pretend they are clone sisters. They run into a man from "normal" humankind who has come to bring this planet back into the human collective and is imprisoned by the great families who do not want their stable society disrupted.
This is a great adventure story told against the backdrop of a rich history on a planet that is moving slowly away from technology in a reverse development towards an agrarian existence. The great families of clone sisters are the equivalent of medieval feudal families who kept Europe in stagnant thrall for so long in the middle ages.
This book is in some ways like 1984 by George Orwell, where the great families take the role of big brother to keep things stable, but in a feminine, non agressive way.
The book is littered with sub plots, each rich and full in its own way, a drug running scam, a war with an extraterrestrial species, the story of setting up the planet and the genetic enhancements required to adapt humans to it, the travels of the sisters and the game of life played by the sailors.
The worst thing about this book is that it ever ends. This is a world you want to stay in because it is so full and interesting.
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