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Dirk is passive and Gwen is flighty and indecisive. It was hard to root for them as a couple, especially when Jaantony Ironjade was more interesting than Dirk. Overall, Dying of the Light is impressive and surprisingly sophisticated for the first novel of a young author. The novel was nominated for the Hugo and the British Fantasy Award. View 1 comment. Everybody just has their own truth in this story, and most of these truths are based on entirely different cultures and ways of viewing the World.

This book is as much a conflict between old and new lovers as it is a culture clash, and it is filled with so much lies, half lies and misunderstandings it makes me sad. But, as is usual for Martin, a lot of people die, even some of the ones you expect to survive. Some die in a very sad and tragic way. And the way everyone has been manipulated just made me feel tired, because it was such a waste of people and their happiness.

It isn't an Unhappy Ever After, so I'll have to give it some credit.

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It did evoke emotions, but never without me being annoyed. I just think this story could have been more if it had been told by someone different. Or at least by multiple POVs. View all 5 comments. Worlorn is a wandering world that enjoyed a brief heydey when, passing near a specatcular star system, it was transformed into a festival world where all the primary centres of human civilisation built cities to house thousands and even millions of inhabitants An interesting, complex debut novel from George RR Martin, Dying Of The Light is an old-school planetary romance that reminded me quite strongly of both Cordwainer Smith and CJ Cherryh, oddly enough, though the setting is pure Jack Vance.

Worlorn is a wandering world that enjoyed a brief heydey when, passing near a specatcular star system, it was transformed into a festival world where all the primary centres of human civilisation built cities to house thousands and even millions of inhabitants in an extravagant display of wealth and technology. Now the planet is drifting back into the dark and the cold is closing in and only a few last remnants of the festival throngs remain. One of those remnants, a former lover, summons Dirk t'Larien to Worlorn.

Gwen is caught in an odd marriage to a Kavalar, a marriage that in the eyes of Kavalar society, reduces her to the status of property. Furthermore, a particular faction of a die-hard conservative Kavalar holdfast are on Worlorn hoping to revive a forbidden tradition: the hunting of humans for sport. Caught between his love for Gwen, his growing respect for her husband, who is on Worlorn to thwart the hunters and his troubled search for his own sense of self, Dirk becomes enmeshed in the struggle and the divided loyalties and the battle between the old and the new, haunted by the spectre of death on a dying planet.

Martin's strengths as a world-builder and a story-teller are on full display here. The universe he creates is far bigger, richer and deeper than the planet of Worlorn, though nearly all the action takes place there. Did he ever revisit it, I wonder?

The Dying of the Light

Did he intend to? His facility for conjuring history and romance and mystery out of a few brief asides and suggestive comments and names is part of what makes him such a pleasure to read. His frank examination of a martial culture, bound by codes of honour and formal bonds and the attraction it holds for both the romantically inclined and the aimless and the lost prefigures the proud medieval chivalric culture of the Seven Kingdoms, as does his unflinching study of its dark side: the horrifying misogyny and the violence inflicted on those deemed unworthy or outside that culture.

The books ends oddly: after a frantic, edge-of-the-seat hunt, there is a period of waiting and then an anti-climax, followed by a coda that ends without a resolution, though not without resolve. It fits the setting and the theme perfectly, though, and speaks to Martin's integrity as a writer and fidelity to his vision. I hope that once the Song is finished he might consider a return to science fiction. It's clearly his first love. I was in love with this novel early in life and have it indelibly stamped upon me. The atmosphere: ruins on an abandoned planet, a few people left there, devoted to things lost or old-fashioned or with nowhere else to go.

It used to be a festival world and different races built their festival-houses, alien architectures now derelict. The mood known in the planet's name, Worlorn.

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A war culture on its way out where teyn is the closest bond, a chosen brother, fight together, sleep together, women I was in love with this novel early in life and have it indelibly stamped upon me. A war culture on its way out where teyn is the closest bond, a chosen brother, fight together, sleep together, women are irrelevant. An Earther steps in with his Earther ideas of love, instead, and not a clue.

Sadness and ends, lost causes and left-behinds Science fiction poetry. It's true that I found both Dirk and Gwen ignorable; Garse was my guy, along with bit-parts from his world. Also I skip the botany lessons near the start. I've tried his famous stuff these days, doesn't have the emotional clout for me. I think I like early George R. View all 6 comments.

Jan 14, Gertie marked it as partial. This book is annoying.

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So much backstory and history and characters I frankly just don't get. It's a little much for me. I like a little of that for sure, because all simple dialog makes a story dull. But at some point I just feel like saying " Get to the point already! As a very straightforward person it's a little painful to listen to people speaking in riddles.

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It just feels a little too dragged out for my tastes. So, clea This book is annoying. So, clearly this is just a mismatch. Oh, and lamest excuse to break up with someone ever. Ever tried communicating? So, I'm not deleting this from my iPod YET, since I might just try again later when I'm feeling more patient, but for now I have happily moved on to another book, which was interesting from the start. Quite a contrast.

I actually finished this book really wishing that Martin had written other books in this universe because it was so fascinating - even though the story itself takes place in an extremely small, isolated sphere. The scenario, I thought, was very Iain Banks-ish A 'rogue' planet in a parabolic? The civilized universe decides to take advantage of this and throw a festival much like a World's Fair, each planet displaying their arts, technology and unique culture - but only for a brief time.

At the time of the book, the festival is over. The vast majority of the participants have left, as the planet slowly plunges back into cold and night. But one man Dirk T'Larien races through space to that planet - because he has received a token from an old love, one that he had promised, no matter what, to answer But when he arrives, things are not as he expected. His welcome is odd. His old lover, an ecologist, is busy studying the dying of the planet's ecosystems. She's married - or 'betheyn' - to Vikary, a man from a harsh, warlike culture, and is also bound sexually and culturally to his partner.

But another old friend of hers is also there - and he speaks, in confidence, telling Dirk that she really wants to be rescued - that she is enslaved and oppressed. A psychosexual drama ensues between these four - one with plenty of action and violence, but also dealing with the frictions and attractions between personalities, the complexities of human relationships and the differences between cultures. Really a great book. Apr 28, Youssef rated it did not like it. George R. Martin created an incredibly rich universe where human civilisation is rebuilding itself after war and collapse, then, in its midst, placed an ephemeral planet in advanced decay.

Used, then discarded by civilisation, it's being slowly engulfed by cold and darkness. But then, he chose to put against this backdrop the sorriest characters in that universe. Dumb, fickle, inconsiderate, cowardly and thoroughly uninteresting.

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The result is a tedious story where you grow frustrated by the v George R. The result is a tedious story where you grow frustrated by the very same protagonists you are supposed to identify with, and not feel sorry at all for their sad fate. The ecology of Worlorn is never successfully explored, the history of the worlds beyond the veil, their cultures and politics, aside from Kavalaar, are not addressed, nevertheless these remain the highlights of this book.

Martin's writing is beautiful as well, but in my opinion, any other story in that universe would have made a far superior novel. I went back this month to re-read some of Martin's early SF. This was his first published novel, I believe -- he already had a short-fiction Hugo and a couple of nominations in his pocket. Like nearly all of Martin's SF, this book is set in the Thousand Worlds: a loose far-future history spanning millennia of time and a range of narrative styles.

The planet Worlorn is wonderfully named and wonderfully gothic: a rogue planet which happened to drift into the multiple star system called the Hellcrow I went back this month to re-read some of Martin's early SF. The planet Worlorn is wonderfully named and wonderfully gothic: a rogue planet which happened to drift into the multiple star system called the Hellcrown, beyond the Tempter's Veil.


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The nearby stellar nations jumped on the opportunity for potlatch, and spent years terraforming and building temporary cities for a decade-long planetary Festival. And now the Festival is over, the tourists are gone, and empty Worlorn is drifting back into the interstellar night.

With the Dying of the Light

Tell me that isn't the best SF setting ever. Dirk t'Larien is haunting some backwater of the Thousand Worlds when he gets a message from Worlorn: a psi-jewel etched with memories of his ex-lover, Gwen Delvano. They once traded promises to come, either to the other, if so summoned. So off he goes.