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At Winter's End by Robert Silverberg

At Winter's End

by Robert Silverberg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: New Springtime (1)

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Showing 4 of 4
This is an older treasure (original publication 1988) from one of our science fiction greats. It's got Golden Age sense of wonder, a contemporary attitude about gender equality, and an optimism that's been hard to find in the last decade or so.

That's on top of the excellent writing, world-building, and character development.

The People have been living underground in the Cocoon for 700,000 years, ever since the fall of the Death Stars ended the civilization of the Great World and brought the Long Winter to Earth. They've had to limit births, and send their aging tribe members out into the desolate cold to die at the limit age of thirty-five, but it has been overall a comfortable life, and a good one. Now, though, omens of change surround them. Thaggoran, the tribe's "old man," or chronicler (and the only member not subject to the limit age), detects signs that, as predicted by the chronicles, the giant ice eater worms are approaching through the rock and ice below the cocoon. When they reach it, the cocoon will be destroyed. Riyyig Dream Dreamer, a strange-looking creature with no fur, no sensing organ/tail, awakens and announces the coming of the New Springtime, and then dies.

Koshmar, the tribe's chieftain, overrides all doubts, and prepares her tribe to leave the cocoon forever and venture out into world.

What follows is an exploration and an adventure. The world has changed in seven hundred thousand years, and the end of the Long Winter doesn't change the fact that all the plants and animals they encounter are new, completely unknown to either their experience or anything the chronicles can tell them.

They also meet some survivors of the long-dead Great World--the hjjk-men, insectoid beings who are the only (other?) survivors of the Six Peoples: the hjjk-men, vegetals, mechanicals, sapphire-eyes, sea lords, and humans.

The People know that they're the humans, destined to inherit the world after the end of the Great World civilization, now that the New Springtime has come.

There are wonderful characters in this book. Koshmar is proud, ambitious, but dedicated to the welfare of her people. Torlyri, the offering-woman, is gentle and deferential, and a major source of strength both for Koshmar, and for the tribe as a whole. Hresh, a young boy often called Hresh-full-of-questions, learns to ask uncomfortable questions and find answers the tribe needs, as he grows into manhood. Harruel, the senior warrior of the tribe, is a complicated character filled with ambition, violence, and self-will, but willing to face real hardships for the tribe, and with an instinct for some risks that others miss.

This is a rich world well worth exploring, and some great characters to do it with.


I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
In an unimaginably distant future, the Earth is pelted by comets that bring on a devastating global winter that lasts for seven hundred thousand years. A small tribe of people survives for all this time underground, until at last they emerge onto the surface, where they begin to make a new life for themselves as they learn about the past and present of world they have returned to, as well as some disturbing things about their own history.

There's lots of fairly imaginative far-future science-fantasy world-building here, and the characters are well-rendered and reasonably complex. I didn't find the story itself terribly compelling, though, although the ending was more satisfying than I expected it to be. Mostly, it felt very slow, although it's possible some of that is due to the fact that it took me longer than usual to read, for reasons that had more to do with my life than with the book itself, so that feeling may not be entirely the author's fault.

Still. It's not at all bad, especially if you like SF that's as much about creating a strange future world as it is about anything else, but it's also not Silverberg's best or most memorable work. ( )
  bragan | May 12, 2018 |
A small band of people emerge from their cocoon into the new springtime of the world after the death stars (meteorites) have hit the earth and caused a severe, thousands of years long ice age. Koshmar, the chieftain leads the band and with her goes Torlyri, the offering woman (priestess), and Hresh, the small boy of the questions who is to become the Chronicler and the true inspiration for the tribe. The people must meet the challenges of a world they have never known except for the chronicles which told of past days and gave hazy predictions for the future. The story is an interesting one on how a small band slowly changes their routines and beliefs to meet the challenges of the unknown world and tries to answer the question why would the people continue to strive and build and progress although they know the death stars will eventually come again to wipe it all away. It also tries to answer the question of what it is to be human. ( )
  dallenbaugh | Jun 18, 2015 |
...There is more than meets they eye to this book. To a superficial reader it might seem a tad slow and in need of a good dose of action but it provides what a science fiction novel is supposed to provide, food for thought. And plenty of it. The position the characters find themselves in invariably mirrors some shift in the culture and societal structure of the people, and finding out what is going on on that level is perhaps even more fascinating that following the lives of the tribe's individual members. It is perhaps not the most interesting novel for those who like very character driven stories but if you like looking at the big picture, At Winter's End is a novel you'll enjoy.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Jun 22, 2013 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Silverbergprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tweddlell, KevinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Everyone on Earth for a million years or more had known that the death-stars were coming, that the Great World was doomed.
I: The Hymn of the New Springtime

It was a day like no day that had ever been in all the memory of the People.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446353973, Mass Market Paperback)

From the Five-Time Nebula Award-Winner""Seven thousand centuries ago, falling death stars unleashed fiery apocalyptic destruction on Earth and inaugurated the Long Winter. One small band of People took refuge in an underground cocoon where they and their descendants waited for the time of ice to end. Now their long winter is over. Prophecy and circumstance urge the tribe out into the half-forgotten world beyond their safe cocoon. Led by their chieftain Koshmar, the tribe journeys to the city of Vengiboneeza, where the prophecy of the gods says they are to rule. On their way the tribe discovers the dangers and wonders of life in the New Springtime. In the face of new temptations and peril, Koshmar and her lover, the priestess Torlyri, struggle to keep the People united and fulfill the prophecy. For soon they will be beset by other trials, as other beings seek to fulfill their own prophecies.Robert Silverberg provides an introduction exclusive to this Bison Books edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

After seven hundred thousand years underground, one tribe emerges to explore the new world The time of falling death stars ushered in the Long Winter-eons of cold that caused plants and animals to vanish from Earth and drove people to take refuge in underground cocoons. Human ingenuity had never faced a greater challenge. For seven hundred thousand years, generation after generation was born and died below the Earth's surface. But now, one small tribe is sensing change. Chieftain Koshmar is sure that the New Springtime is near, so she leads her people above ground to explore the new world that awaits. The unfamiliar Earth, still a frozen shell of its former self, will test their mettle in every way, leading the people of the tribe to the brink of their destiny-or to their doom. At Winter's End is the first book of the New Springtime series, which continues with The Queen of Springtime. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Robert Silverberg including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author's personal collection.… (more)

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