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Young Maia is fast approaching a turning point in her life. As a half-caste var, she must leave the clan home of her privileged half sisters and seek her fortune in the world. With her twin sister, Leie, she searches the docks of Port Sanger for an apprenticeship aboard the vessels that sail the trade routes of the Stratoin oceans.
On her far-reaching, perilous journey of discovery Maia will endure hardship and hunger, imprisonment and loneliness, bloody battles with pirates, and separation from her twin. And along the way she will meet a traveler who has come an unimaginable distance — and who threatens the delicate balance of the Stratoin's carefully maintained, perfect society.
Both exciting and insightful, Glory Season was NOMINATED: 1994 Hugo award for best novel, and NOMINATED: 1994 Locus SF award for best novel.
"While I have the floor, here's a question that's been bothering me for some time. Why do so few writers of heroic or epic fantasy ever deal with the fundamental quandary of their novels ... that so many of them take place in cultures that are rigid, hierarchical, stratified, and in essence oppressive? What is so appealing about feudalism, that so many free citizens of an educated commonwealth like ours love reading about and picturing life under hereditary lords?
"Why should the deposed prince or princess in every clichéd tale be chosen to lead the quest against the Dark Lord? Why not elect a new leader by merit, instead of clinging to the inbred scions of a failed royal line? Why not ask the pompous, patronizing, "good" wizard for something useful, such as flush toilets, movable type, or electricity for every home in the kingdom? Given half a chance, the sons and daughters of peasants would rather not grow up to be servants. It seems bizarre for modern folk to pine for a way of life our ancestors rightfully fought desperately to escape." — David Brin
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A limited number of autographed first edition hardcover copies of Glory Season are available for sale for $60. Go here for ordering details.
"We would have every path laid open to women.... Were this done ... we would see crystallations more pure and of more various beauty. We believe the divine energy would pervade nature to a degree unknown in the history of former ages, and that no discordant collision, but a ravishing harmony in the spheres, would ensue." — Margaret Fuller
"This book began with a contemplation of lizards. Specifically, several secies from the American Southwest that reproduce parthenogenetically — mothers giving birth to daughter clones. Perfect copies of themselves.
"From there, I discovered aphids, tiny insects blessed with two modes of reproduction. During periods of plenty and stability, they self-clone, churning out multiple duplicates like little Xerox machines. But when the good times end, they quickly swing back to old-fashioned sexual mating, creating daughters and sons whose imperfect variety is nature's mortar of survival."
. . .
"These days, nothing is politically neutral. The lizards I referred to earlier have recently been cited in a thought-provoking, if inflammatory, radical feminist tract posing the question 'Who needs males, anyway?' Many times, over the ages, insurgent female philosophers have proposed independence through separation. Given the plight of countless women and children in the world, they can hardly be blamed. In fact, the name 'Perkinite' was taken from Charlotte Perkins Gilman, whose novel Herland is one of the best and pithiest separationist utopias ever penned. Her brand of sexual isolationism is far gentler than the extremist doctrine I depict, which shamefully misuses her name on planet Stratos." — David Brin
"It was after I started studying langur monkeys that it began to dawn on me how many sources of variation in female reproductive success there were. It brought the old paradigm into question. For so long it had been assumed that males were basically polygynous [many sexual partners] while females were monandrous [one sexual partner]. Watching langurs convinced me that this was not true. When I examined the wider literature I realized just how common polyandrous mating by females actually was across primates. Now we realize it’s not just primates, it’s across the animal kingdom." — Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
"Would self-cloning lead kinship lineages to imitate the social life of ants or bees, dwelling in 'hives' with like-gened sisters? This notion, too, has been explored before, often by cramming antlike behavior into bipedal bodies. On Stratos, the daughters of an ancient clan would exhibit solidarity and self-knowledge unimaginable to vars like ourselves, but that wouldn't necessarily make them automatons, or stop them being human." — David Brin
For those interested in the game of cellular automata (or "Life") Brin used to create Stratoin society, here are a few resources:
Learn more about all of Brin's novels and books here.
"Glory Season offers thrills, chills, political intrigue, and other good old scientifictional fun, along with yet another round in the battle of the sexes."
"There is violence and death, pursuit and discovery, betrayal and maturation, immense enjoyment and final satisfaction, all in the service of a thoughtful approach to the question of intergender relations."
"David Brin relentlessly develops this big idea, to see exactly where it takes him. He follows it through the sciences: biology, sociology, psychology, and more. By pursuing this idea so relentlessly, he constructs a society that is very alien to our own (uncomfortably so, in cases) but yet is still very recognizable."
"The tale of a young misfit forced into rebellion against a corrupt society and helping to overthrow it has been told many times before. Brin tells it as well as any and better than all but a handful."
"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."
"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."
"Glory Season is an imaginative and entertaining novel set in a world where women have decisively won the battle of the sexes ... Fascinating."
"As a story, it's good. As a social experiment, it's very well done. If I had a daughter, I would want her to read this novel. If I had a son, I would require him to read this novel."
"A considered and nuanced speculation rather than a stale battle-of-the-sexes tract. Brin's prose echoes the influence of Asimov, Frank Herbert, and Aldous Huxley.... His world is so painstakingly drawn and is splashed with such radiant and varied hues."
"One of the most important SF novels of the year."
David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More
Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More
Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More
Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More
David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More
Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More
Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More
Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was appraised as "#1 influencer" in Onalytica's Top 100 report of Artificial Intelligence influencers, brands & publications. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More
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reviews and recommendations
"Brin slathers a sober and hard-edged landscape at one turn, and in the next pinpoints with pixel clarity the humanity all jumbled up in the epic action. There are no mutant cockroaches or other absurdities. On every page we see the dirty, lined, broken faces of hardscrabble existence, but we also see them light up at the simple gesture of receiving a piece of mail from a long-lost loved one. And we see mythopoesis right in our faces."
— SF Site Reviews
"Thanks again for being part of our "kick-off" program for the KPCC Crawford Forum science series (broadcast on our NPR station). The audience loved it, and we all learned a lot — you certainly do have a lot of fans! We hope we can have you with us again at some time in the not too distant future."
"Even the more advanced and older alien races are not just godlike beings of infinite wisdom, anymore than the Gubru and similar nasties are simply scientific demons. Brin's gift for diversity and for showing paradoxically the human side of alien races is something extremely rare in science fiction authors."
— Fantasy Book Review
"This is a fun novel, rich with ideas, that examines on a very human level the ramifications and side effects of our ambitions and the things we take for granted. It's also a hard-boiled murder mystery with levels of physics and metaphysics that work your brain. But for me, as always, it's David Brin's characters that really pull me into the story and keep me up until three in the morning."
— Barnes and Noble Review