Authors: George R R Martin & Lisa Tuttle
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publication Date: 1975
Media Type: Paperback
“Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, romantic figures who cross treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms, to bring news, gossip, songs, and stories to a waiting populace. Maris of Amberly, a fisherman’s daughter, wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. So she challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen by merit rather than inheritance. But even after winning that bitter battle, Maris finds that her troubles are only beginning. Now a revolution threatens to destroy the world she fought so hard to join—and force her to make the ultimate sacrifice.”
This is yet another one of my so-called “VII books,” as in I read it because of its thematic similarities to FFVII. I’m always so afraid I’m boring people when I talk about that, especially people who aren’t gamers and/or who aren’t into RPGs/Final Fantasy. I know a great deal of this is my anxiety speaking, because I have a past full of being shut down and shut up when I wax passionately about anything. I mean, this is my blog, and I can talk about what I want, and people who don’t like that don’t have to follow, but…the anxiety is still there.
Anyway…I was reading the second volume of Dreamsongs (which I’ve also reviewed here), one of the forward parts by GRRM. He mentioned the three novellas that make up Windhaven. One of them was entitled “One-Wing,” so I immediately bought the book. This is a…pretty important motif in FFVII, and Windhaven predates that by nearly twenty years. Nor is the name only significant to the the title. There is one individual and then a group of people who become known as “one wings,” and there’s even a violent, disturbing scene involving the concept, too (something I, myself, have had nightmares about).
The book is actually an amalgamation of three novellas: “Storms,” “One-Wing,” and “Fallen.” A great deal of time passes in between them, though they do follow chronologically. The basis of the story reminded me a bit of Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s Green Sky Trilogy where fantastic tales are told about “sky sailors” flying to this world. In Windhaven, they crash landed long, long ago and were unable to fix their damaged ship(s). Some of the people wanted to keep trying, but others realized it was a futile effort and wished to scrap the machines for the precious metal they bore. For on this world full of high winds and tumultuous oceans, humans would have the ability to soar on the currents between scattered islands.
The “scrappers” won, but not without war and bloodshed. They cut apart the ships to fashion wings, and on that day the flyers were born. Because of the lack of base resources, it’s not possible to make more metal for wings, only the supporting structures around them, but the material was nigh indestructible, and the story implies that its been around for thousands and thousands of years.