Take Game of Thrones and move it to outer space, and you’ve got this novel. Not that Martin can only write one type of novel–it works very well, and Mr. Game does a very nice job of writing in a completely different genre. The world that we’re taken to is in another solar system, where this particular planet (Worlorn) has such an extreme elliptical orbit that it has seasons that are decades long.
In the story, the planet is headed into Fall, and because of the coming harsh winter, most people have left. Since it’s an alien planet and because, hello–this is science fiction, we also have strange beasts and human like (mock men), deviant natives. Worlorn also orbits three suns, one of which is colored a deep red, nicknamed Fat Satan. George R. R. Martin really has a way with these names he comes up with (Onion Knight, King Slayer, for example in Game of Thrones).
The hero, Dirk, is tricked into visiting Worlorn, thinking he’s going to be reunited with an ex girl friend that he’s still in love with. There, he meets up with the usual crowd that we’re used to seeing in Martin’s novels. And oh, they’re juicy. Do these words sound familiar–deceit, passion, cowardice, violence, horror, bravery? And oh yeah, we get dueling and sword and knife fights.
The story of the natives who have lived on Worlorn for generations is pretty interesting. They have a sort of marriage arrangement. The man takes a wife, and she’s protected from other men by Bethane, yet she gets shared sexually by his friends. And she’s pretty much a slave–she can’t break the arrangement. A man can also have a lifelong friend, and that partner is called Tane. It’s platonic, but they’re united for life and they protect each other to the death. And if you are insulted, you can challenge anyone to a duel.
Surprisingly, this novel is Martin’s first, and was written over 20 years ago. I discovered him through Games–I can’t believe he writes such good syfy and I haven’t read him before.