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Glory Season [Mass Market Paperback]

David Brin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 1994
Hugo and Nebula award-winning author David Brin is one of the most eloquent, imaginative voices in science fiction.  Now he returns with a new novel rich in texture, universal in theme, monumental in scope--pushing the genre to new heights.

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 Stratoins' carefully maintained, perfect society....

Both exciting and insightful, Glory Season is a major novel, a transcendent saga of the human spirit.

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Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's a very well written book, and the main character and her society is believable. Aside from the ending, the only real problem I had with it was that none of the other characters were as multidimensional as Maia. Her twin and Renna the alien could definitely have used some more character development. It's a good book if you're into sociatal critiques and lots of discusion on imaginary games especially, but I'd stear clear if you want nonstop action.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The End does not justify the Means. March 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a book that I adored until the final let's call it 20 pages or so. The culture of this matriarchal world was painted in an intelligent way without resorting to some form of amazonian fantasy, with checks and balances in their system. The characters were engaging and the over-reaching plot was fascinating... and then the ending comes. What impact would the ending of a Sherlock Holmes mystery have if Moriarity fiendishly clever were to blurt out the details of his plan ala a James Bond villain? What impact the ending of the initial Star Wars trilogy if the Emperor had tripped and fallen down that shaft?
The journey of these characters, and what you learn about them, leads towards one resolution, and the ending comes not so much as a 'surprise' as an incredible let-down..... I was heartily disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful SciFi plus high adventure March 16 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One reader commented that this book is "not up to Brin's standards." Never having read Brin before, I can't say if that's true, but I can say that if this book is below average for him, his others must be truly amazing.
GLORY SEASON is both a tale of high adventure and a thoughtful, mature exploration of where technology and idealism can take us. I'm highly critical of writing style -- especially in SF/Fantasy novels, which can be quite poor -- but the writing here is so smoothly and effortlessly crafted that I never had to think about it. Through 764 pages, it kept me glued to my seat and begging for more, trying to unravel the mysteries before Maia (the smart, stubborn heroine of the tale) could get captured or knocked out or thrown overboard again, and wake up to another piece of the puzzle.
This is good stuff: immediate escape reading that leaves you with something to think about. It's not a combination I come across often, or at least not put together so well with seamless writing, fascinating plot, and a strong human interest. Read some good SciFi for a change.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure book March 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is really more of an adventure book in a Sci-Fi setting. Lots of action, some parts dragged a little bit, but overall it's an enjoyable read. The ending is a little weak and inconclusive. The author seems to be saying that even after all that Maia, the main character, went through, it wasn't going to change the world of Stratos much in the short term. That's fine, but I still would have liked to read a little more about what happened to Maia herself. Three pages before the end of the book, she is in mortal danger, then at the end she is ok...sort of...but it left me feeling kind of empty. A good book if you can deal with the somewhat vague ending.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brin does it again Nov. 29 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
he's got a great ability to play with scientific concepts in an understandable way. Loved the inclusion of the game of Life - not your typical Parker Bros. board game, but the mathematical one. What a concept! That you could actually have a strategy for it. This book keeps you thinking.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not up tor Brin May 31 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is not up to Brin's usual (excellent) standard. Very, very tediuos and gets boring fast. Hands off and go read "Earth" or "Infinity's Shore" instead.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Tales of derring-do on the High Seas! May 29 2001
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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Glory Season (review)
Glory Season is perhaps David Brin's best work to date (Nov-2000). Lyrical, principled, thought provoking, and even well-plotted, Brin--always a political author--obliquely... Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2000 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi at its absolute best.
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... Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2000 by Sailoil
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't wait to put it down
Brin is an excellent author but I think he missed it on this one. Glory Season held my attention well enough that I was able to stick with it until the lame ending but I'll be more... Read more
Published on April 21 2000 by Kent Kelley
5.0 out of 5 stars I lost sleep to read this book ..
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). Read more
Published on April 6 2000 by readerrocker
5.0 out of 5 stars Mating season
A REALLY peculiar idea: Brin postulates a pro-feminist world which has found a middle way between rule of women and rule of men. Read more
Published on March 29 2000 by Wizard's Apprentice
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine, Thoughtful Novel
This is the best book that I've read in years. Brin explores one of science fictions most popular themes, a matriarchal society, but unlike almost every other attempt, the world... Read more
Published on March 24 2000 by Konrad Sherinian
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