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(Twenty Planets)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Humans live deep within an apparently lifeless planet covered by massive ice sheets. Having to survive in confined spaces has bred a unique culture where deference and non-confrontation make co-existence possible. **** Osaji's opportunities are limited by the need to care for her aging grandmother. But all that is about to change as circumstances push her toward a journey ...more
Paperback, 108 pages
Published March 12th 2010 by Phoenix Pick (first published March 9th 2010)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  140 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such an interesting novella. A very unique setting, with great worldbuilding that perfectly suited the introspective focus of the story. Osaji was a very, very relatable protagonist: caught between her desires for a different life, and the crushing societal pressures that they conflict with them. Definitely recommend.
Zen Cho
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
Recommended by Ann Leckie. I loved it -- loved Osaji and her conflicted relationship with Mota, loved the strangeness of their underwater world. I wondered a bit about the implications of having the very circuitous culture of Ben represented via characters of (apparently) Japanese heritage ... also I thought the American Wild Wild West guy was incongruous. Americans always gotta have Americans in their stories! Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, of course, but it's a bit odd ...more
Mike Zyskowski
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it
A novella that I'd be happy to read a full blown novel about
I musst have read this in 2008, since it was in the Magazine of F&SF, but I don't really remember it.
It's been EIGHT YEARS since then, and I'm getting a different experience; I'm identifying with the grandmother, Mota, not her daughter Osaji!

Very interesting science: people living on large planets, with heavy pressure under the seas.. which is the only place people believe they can live on those worlds.

A woman and her grandmother are forced to escape a quake in a purloined vehicle, a space "
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it

I read this without having any pre-conceived ideas of what the story was about, and was pleasantly surprised. The story was low-key but engaging. The world was mysterious and baffling but also, for the most part non-hostile. Osaji, the main character, was very well drawn. She is a woman caught in the confines of her society and family obligation, with frustration and dreams that seemed very real to me.

The world is fascinating, although at times the science seems a bit baffling. How they can go u
Karen A. Wyle
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very enjoyable novella (if it's even that long -- the download is deceptive, as it includes a substantial preview). The worldbuilding is clever and original, and the characters are reasonably three-dimensional. The story also avoids taking the relationship of the two main characters to the cliched destination it could have reached.

The book reads like a prequel or an accompaniment to some additional stories, which I gather it is not. (While it shares a universe with some other books, I
Jakob Hessius
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy, 2016
This is a very short book by Carolyn Ives Gilman that I bought because I was going to Swecon in Stocholm, which Carolyn would attend as a 'Guest of honor'. I was very excited to get to meet her and, obviously, had to have a book for her to sign!

My intention was to buy her better known book 'Halfway Human', but couldn't get it in time for the convention, so this is what I got instead.

It is a cute coming of age story, about a girl rebelling against her confined life and all the expectations surr
R. August
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
About one fifth the length it should have been. Perhaps if I were Japanese I would have balked at the characterization of Osaji, but as I am not I didn't see her as the same flat sterotype that her wild west partner was. A little more subtlety on his part would have been welcome. It was a little hard to believe that a space-faring civilization would not have known that there was life on the planet before they touched down, but it was a forgivable contrivance for the story. Despite it all, I enjo ...more
Cary Grey
Jun 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked the story, which is about the explorer's spirit and the shackles of familial obligation. I wish that more of the story would have revolved around the locations that Osaji and Jack (and Mota) discover, but then again I'd have preferred this be a full novel. I feel like it could've been, but it's not bad as-is. Definitely recommended if you've enjoyed the rest of Gilman's Twenty Planets series.
Eric Hart
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed "Dark Orbit" so much, I started looking for Gilman's previous work. In Nebula-nominated "Arkfall", she tackles personal issues dealing with deciding what path to take in life, and how much say you have in how you live, from the point of view of a character trapped in a ship which can only follow currents, with little ability to change direction. The ending is a little bit too much on the nose, but not enough to spoil the overall effect.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The setting is interesting but the highlight of this story set in a society with odd mores is a bit of situational comedy driven by culture clash.
Much of the word count is devoted to something else however... I won't spoil it except to say it's imaginative but highly implausible and has very little payoff. The story ends with a preachy moral instead.
Also of note: caring for a parent with dementia (or was that something else?) is an important but secondary topic.
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arkfall is a surprisingly brilliant 5-star novella. The story centers on a group of three people who are set adrift in an underwater alien world. The peculiarity of the underwater world is fun, and interesting concepts are introduced to explain how humans can adapt to living in the environment. The driving force of Arkfall though is the great character development from beginning to end.
This story was amazing. It had only 57 pages (at least this is what my ereader showed) but if felt complete. The underwater world was so fascinating ... so many times I was wondering how it will be to have a world self-sustained. Osaji and Jack characters are antagonist, but they complete each other so well. The writing was beatiful, definitely a recommended reading.
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very short (I read it over two days during lunch at work) but very good. I could read scientifically grounded books about the exploration of other planets all day. Especially those with a good plot and believable characters, like this one.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z2012, kindle, sci-fi
An interesting read with a fantastic main character and some unique ideas.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating short novella of a deep ocean colony on another planet.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is one of the most literary, yet also firmly science fictional, work I have read yet... Highly recommended!
Bounced off the initial framing (Wild West dude, really?), which is a pity because I haven't read any SF in a while and miss it. This one isn't for me.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it

Too short but it was ok
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Reviewed on Daughters of Prometheus: http://daughtersofprometheus.wordpres...
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating world. I liked the writing and unique ideas so much I immediately went onto to read another by Gilman.
Claire Fun
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
short, but perfect length. loved it.

will add more when its not 1.10am. Well, I had to finish it!
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Carolyn Ives Gilman has been publishing science fiction and fantasy for almost twenty years. Her first novel, Halfway Human, published by Avon/Eos in 1998, was called “one of the most compelling explorations of gender and power in recent SF” by Locus magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies such as F&SF, Bending the Landscape, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Realm ...more

Other books in the series

Twenty Planets (4 books)
  • Halfway Human
  • The Ice Owl
  • Dark Orbit
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“Forgetting is what nature does best. The universe is a huge forgetting machine. It erases information no matter how hard we try to hang onto it. How could it be any different? What if the memory of everything that ever happened still existed? The universe would be clogged with information, so packed with it we couldn’t move. We’d be paralyzed, because every moment we ever lived would still be with us. It would be hell.” 0 likes
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