Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
George R.R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle
Bantam Spectra, 336 pages

Stephen Youll
George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin was born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended Northwestern University, graduating with degrees in journalism. Martin refused active service: instead he served with VISTA, in Cook County, Illinois. In addition to his writing credits, Martin has served as Story Editor for Twilight Zone, and as Executive Story Consultant, Producer and Co-Supervising Producer for Beauty and the Beast, both on CBS. He also was Executive Producer for Doorways on CBS. At 21, he made his first pro sale to the magazine, Galaxy. Actively involved in SFWA, Martin now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

George R.R. Martin Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: A Storm of Swords
SF Site Interview: George R.R. Martin
SF Site Review: A Clash of Kings
SF Site Review: A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin Tribute Site
George R.R. Martin Tribute Site
George R.R. Martin Tribute Site

Lisa Tuttle
Lisa Tuttle was the winner of the John W. Campbell Award in 1974. Windhaven was her first novel. Subsequent novels include Familiar Spirit, Gabriel, Lost Futures and The Pillow Friend (1996). Born in Texas, she lived in London for 10 years before settling in the west highlands of Scotland with her husband and daughter.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Wayne MacLaurin

Flight... for eons man has longed to fly. From the Greek myths of Daedalus to the sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci to the triumphs of the Wright brothers, our literature and culture has been filled with tales of man conquering the skies.

Back in 1981, George R.R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle collaborated to write Windhaven, a novel that captures our longing for the sky. Bantam Spectra (and Victor Gollancz in the UK) have republished this novel following the recent acclaim of both authors for recent works (Martin's Song of Fire and Ice and Tuttle's The Pillow Friend).

Windhaven tells the tale of a world of small islands, vicious storms and dangerous oceans, a world peopled by the descendants of a crashed colony starship. The inhabitants scavenged the solar sails of the starship to create metal wings that enable people to fly (the light gravity and dense atmosphere help, too).

Generations pass and, although the cultures of the islands have evolved differently, the people who don these wings have become a caste unto themselves. An elite class, the flyers are above the laws of the land-bound -- and the privilege is inherited.

Into this rigid culture of privilege comes Maris, a fisherman's daughter who is adopted by a flyer and is taught how to fly. She is a natural, far more skilled than most flyers but she is to lose her wings to her stepbrother, the true offspring of her adopted father. Col is a weak flyer, scared of sky, and he wants nothing more than to be a singer, content to travel the oceans by ship.

With this setup, Windhaven launches into a tale of class struggle and privilege versus ability. Maris challenges the traditions with her radical ideas that skill should win over birth-right. But, tradition is hard to overcome. With the privileges of the flyers have come generations of bias against the land-bound, and bitterness of the land-bound towards the perceived arrogance of the flyers.

Windhaven is not a complex novel. The story is straightforward and tells a simple tale. The characters, although well written and intriguing, are unencumbered by complex backgrounds or hidden agendas. It is an easy read with a single storyline and few distractions. There is certainly nothing wrong with the approach or style and, for some, it might be a relaxing change from the massive tale of Martin's current epic. However, the authors have done an excellent job of showing the difficulties that cultural changes can create. Both the obvious bias of the privileged flyers against the land-bound and the backlash against the flyers as the traditions are broken down are mirrors of problems we see today in our own world in cultural, race and religious conflicts.

If you are looking for a good summer read, something that you can finish off without having to worry about sequels or exceeding the luggage restrictions on your summer vacation, Windhaven is an excellent choice. If you are expecting something as complex as A Game of Thrones, you might be a bit disappointed by the different style -- but surprised at its effectiveness.

Congratulations to Bantam and Victor Gollancz for republishing this 20-year-old treat.

Copyright © 2001 Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide