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Winter Song Paperback – 1 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007321015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007321018
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 2.9 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Colin Harvey was born in Cornwall in 1960, and now lives between Bristol and Bath. He worked on a kibbutz and in a night shelter in the Midlands before joining Unilever. Colin worked for Unilever for over 20 years, including launching Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in Iceland, and as part of the project teams rolling out Sunsilk Colour Active Shampoo in Australia, and Vaseline Body Butter in North America.

Colin has been a freelance writer since 2007. He reviewed for Strange Horizons for six years, and served on the Management Committe of the Speculative Literature Foundation for five, during which time he co-judged the Travel Research Grant and the Older Writers Grant.

His short stories have appeared in Albedo One, Gothic.net, Song of the Siren and Speculations, as well as several original anthologies. 'The Killing Streets' was voted into the top ten in the Interzone Readers Poll, and 'Just Another Day' received an Honourable Mention from Ellen Datlow in The Year's Best Horror.

His novels are all available on Amazon. Colin's anthology Killers was nominated for the Black Quill Award.

Product Description

Review

“The novel is familiar in a haunting way, yet unique in its storytelling… Teens and adults who love science fiction will enjoy this thought-provoking work.”
- Armchair Interviews, reviewing Lightning Days

"a unique, rich, yet realistic and believable fantasy world excellently written”
- entrepreneur.com, reviewing The Silk Palace

About the Author

Colin Harvey lives in Bristol in the south-west of England with his wife Kate and spaniel Alice. His first fiction was published in 2001, since when he has written novels, short stories and reviews, edited anthologies and judged the Speculative Literature Foundation’s annual Gulliver Travel Research Grant for five years. Colin’s reviews appear regularly at Strange Horizons and he is the feature writer for speculative fiction at Suite101.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tyler on 15 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Science Fiction is probably the best genre for an author looking to write something on a large scale. Colin Harvey does this with `Winter's Song', a story about an enhanced human whose spaceship crash lands on a snowbound planet inhabited by a people who were abandoned centuries earlier. There are many really good ideas in the book that are executed well. The idea of Karl, the enhanced man, who has the ability to heal himself, but is also being ran by an AI. I also liked the community on Isheimur which has some rundown futuristic machinery, but mostly they have reverted back to the times of the Vikings on Earth. Throw in some alien beasts and another race of potential sentient beings and there is a lot going on to enjoy.

However, there are a few areas that prevent the book from being a must read. Although the characters and world are well realised the story itself falls a little short. The central narrative is a little bland and seemingly repeats itself a couple of times. There is also too many characters who change their attitudes in seconds to make them believable. Despite these issues, they are minor as the book remains fast paced and interesting for the most part. That is until the final section where Harvey loses his way and the writing gets a little confused. I felt that the conclusive part of the book was very flat and took away from some of the excellent work produced earlier on. This is still a book worth reading for science fiction fans, but not the classic it could have been.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 31 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When it became obvious that most of the action of Winter Song was going to be planet-bound, set among a devolving colony that had regressed back to peasant culture, I kinda cringed. I enjoy sci-fi with spaceships and Minds, aliens and unknowable Intelligences, super-evolved humans and creative 'what if?' scenarios. There seems to be a lot of this going on in the deep background to Winter Song -- it's all hinted at -- but the action is grounded on an isolated planet among Icelandic settlers who are fast losing their tech. So far, so ho-hum...
But the plot really picks up after the establishing chapters, so I found myself enjoying this book despite my initial misgivings. It reminds me very much of CJ Cherryh's Gate series, where the pivotal characters spend much of the time trekking across a strange land, becoming acquainted as they do and revealing a subtle sub-plot along the way. The core of this novel is pretty entertaining, especially as the planet's history is untangled and the mystery around the hero's weird behaviour is explained.
The ending is somewhat rushed, however (shame, cos that's the bit with the spaceship in it!). The writing / editing isn't ideal, either; bits of repeated text and phrases and occasional lapses into near-English. There are no new concepts in this novel, and it's not 'rock hard' in ny respect despite what the blurb says. There's barely any science in it at all, and not a great deal of speculation beyond the comfortable futures we're all familiar with.

So this is nothing like the high quality sci-fi of Iain M Banks, Alastair Reynolds or Richard Morgan; nor as jolly ripping as David Gunn or Justina Robson. But it was good enough that I'd look out for more from this author.
7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. F. Stevens HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 24 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Winter Song is derivative and written to a formula rather than from any form of original inspiration. A stock plot, populated with predictable characters, is carefully dressed up with some random violence and gratuitous sex, leaving one with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

The hero has his ship shot out from around him and is dumped on an icy world where he has to survive against the odds, but too many convenient last-minute easy-outs are introduced to help him on his way. The SF is sloppy and weak and no attempt is made to make it seem convincing, it is more like Fantasy. In the bad old 'pulp' days of the thirties and forties it might have passed, but even then the better editors like Campbell or Gold would have made the author work harder for his salt.

The essence of good Science Fiction is to take a 'What If?' or two and develop them in a convincing way to produce an intriguing and novel story, one that entertains and informs and broadens the mind, something that stays with the reader for years to come. Witness authors like Foster, Heinlein, Anderson, Dick, Niven, McCaffery et al, all of whom have produced much better cold-world stories. Sadly, it seems to me that Colin Harvey is a talented commercial writer fulfilling a publisher's calculated brief, instead of a genuine SF author brimming with original ideas to excite our minds.

It may well appeal to teenagers and the less sophisticated, but it is unlikely to be treasured and read again. Hence only three stars for being average fodder.
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Format: Paperback
Colin Harvey's "Winter Song" marked his major-label debut after a long but fruitful period writing for small presses with novels like "Blind Faith", "Lightning Days" and "The Silk Palace." Never one to stick to his comfort zone, always happy to try something different, Harvey's breakout novel merges SF with what is technically fantasy (in the same way that Anne McCaffrey's PERN novels are fantasy, despite her insistence that they were SF). Certainly it kicks off as pure space adventure, as Karl Allman is forced to jettison from his exploding ship after it comes under attack.

Coming round on a mysterious icy world, Karl discovers that the ship, in its dying moments, has downloaded the sum total of its knowledge into his fragile human mind, and his brain is struggling to cope with the unexpected influx of data. He makes his way to a community struggling to survive as the climate changes around them, where he finds himself enslaved by elderly patriarch Ragnar. Escaping the community with Ragnar's persecuted foster-daughter Bera, who carries her own demons, the two set off across the treacherous winter landscape in search of the mysterious Winter Song, a ship that crashed on the planet centuries ago, and that could be their salvation, or their doom.

The scenes in space that bookend the book are exciting, with tantalising hints of conflicts going on in the wider galaxy, and the portrait of the difficult life at the homestead are well-drawn and well researched, if occasionally brutal. Harvey spent time in Iceland researching this book, and a lot of thought has gone into the landscape, and how people are shaped by their landscapes even if they think they are the ones doing the shaping.
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