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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The Mountain on the planet of Icefall holds the mystery to a lost colony and an irresistible, fatal allure to the climbers of the universe. Maggie is determined to be the first to make the summit. Aisha, injured in a climbing incident herself, has always supported her wife, trusting Maggie would always return from her adventures. But no one ever returns from the Mountain.
Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published October 31st 2018 by Twelfth Planet Press
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Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  37 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I do not love mountaineering. I do not like watching it, I do not like reading about it.

I loved this novella. 

(Note: I am friends with the publisher, but that hasn't impacted on my attitude.) 

There is SO MUCH going on in this story, I'm not sure where to start. Obviously I've started with the fact that it involved mountaineering... but that doesn't tell you much. This isn't just a story about climbing mountains, it's about an unbeaten mountain on a harsh planet, and it's about the joys of climbi
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Finished: 23.01.2020
Genre: SF novella
Rating: A
At the next book club suggest something completely different
They will be determined NOT to read it could probably crack rocks on their jaws!
But...try to guide them closer into SF!

My Thoughts

Feb 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, novella, sci-fi

An evocative novella about love, mountaineering on terraformed planets, and spirituality in a technological world. I liked it.
Shelley Nolan
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This science fiction novella was an eerie and evocative read. It is told from the perspective of Aisha as her wife, Maggie, prepares for and then climbs the Mountain. On the planet Icefall, the Mountain is a strange and dangerous environment and no climber has ever survived the climb or even made it to the summit. But Maggie is determined to be the first and Aisha, knowing how much climbing means to her, is along to support her. But she cannot interfere in any way or Maggie’s potential achieveme ...more
Anna Hepworth
When this opened with uninteresting-to-me commentary on mountains and mountain climbing, I persisted, because I know Gunn's work, and I knew she would have a point to it.

And oh, was it worth it. Amazing depth of world-building, from the real details of mountain climbing, through the hard sf aspects of humans in space, to the subtleties of a religion that didn't feel like a rebadged Christianity. Fascinating protagonist, well rounded other characters. A slowly developing plot that managed to bot
Maria Haskins
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A compelling science fiction story about the connections between us and the world around us, and between each other, about climbing impossible mountains, and about miracles that might be possible. "Icefall" is gripping and quietly devastating in its description of love and longing and loss. The whole novella is fantastic, but the last third of it is just edge-of-your-seat riveting. ...more
Kris Ashton
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
In his non-fiction book On Writing, Stephen King points out that “plumbers in space isn’t such a bad idea for a novel.” In Stephanie Gunn’s talented hands, it turns out “mountain climbers in space” is a pretty fine idea, too.

Icefall is set in an unspecified future, when the earth has been rendered uninhabitable through “earthquakes and war,” and humanity now lives on a series of terraformed colonies. The protagonist, Aisha, is aboard a spaceship with her wife, Maggie, destined for the planet Ice
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I discovered Twelfth Planet Press had an upcoming novella that featured mountain climbing women in a relationship with each other, I knew this book would be for me. Until I started reading, though, I couldn’t have predicted just how very much this book was my kind of book.

Maggie is on her way to climb the Mountain on the planet Icefall. Her wife, Aisha, will watch over her from their ship, unable to interfere in any way, or Maggie will forfeit being able to claim the summit. Meanwhile fans
Rick Mavrick
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I read a book with this much focus.

To me, this felt like a Vorkosigan short, like The Flowers of Vashnoi but more focused and heartfelt.
I loved how palpable Aisha's devotion is, to an almost otherworldly Maggie - and the Mountain felt somehow viscerally present at all times - like a haunting (so was excellent Halloween reading :) ) .
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gunn's prose is exquisite, and she's packed a lot of thoughtful worldbuilding and plot into this novella. The characters are well drawn, and choosing the 'one who stays behind' as the protagonist is a bold choice that pays off. A haunting, beautiful book. ...more
Ju Transcendancing
Eery and beautiful, a story of awe and love. This is an exquisite story, I feel privileged to read it. The characters feel so real, their experiences vivid, like the world Stephanie Gunn has created.
Clare Rhoden
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Fuller review once my reviewing commitments elsewhere allow me to re-post. In the meantime, read it ;-)
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The perfect blend of tech and heart. Loved it.
Bethwyn Badger
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I am just drafting up a review on my blog now, will share soon. But for now, just know that this is amazing.
Elanor Matton-Johnson
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Dec 22, 2018
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Jun 18, 2020
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Review forthcoming.
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May 03, 2020
Kate Gordon
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Nov 03, 2018
Morten Wittrock
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May 16, 2019
Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer
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Nov 27, 2018
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Michelle King
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Stephanie Gunn is a writer of speculative fiction, occasional reviewer and owner of too many books.

She has been published in various anthologies, including the award-winning Defying Doomsday and Aurum. Her Aurealis award winning novella Icefall is published by Twelfth Planet Press.

She lives in Perth, Western Australia with her family and requisite cat, who cares not for books at all.

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