The Grand Ol’ Space Opry – “The Snow Queen” by Joan D. Vinge
Although one can read my review of “The Snow Queen”, by consummate authoress Joan D. Vinge on the link here, I can only elaborate on the praise from here. This book inspired me to continue writing science fiction at an adult/professional level. At the tender age of 18, while perusing the shelves of a used book store in Estes Park, Colorado, I found an old copy of this book (then out of print). I had seen it in once, amongst the piles and piles of old books kept in boxes down in my parents’ cellar, and was curious to read it on my own (since first having seen it, I was sure they had donated or gotten rid of the books). It is the kind of story that stays with you long after you’ve read it. Ms. Vinge has the ability to connect with her readers in a way I’ve never yet been able to understand. She is my role model, her writing has inspired me to become a better author, and her deep connections to her characters are a model that any author should aspire to. The ‘thing’ about science fiction as I’ve ranted about before is the ability to let your readers relate to the characters, despite their complete “other-ness” and often “inhuman” nature.
Who would have watched Star Trek if, deep down in your heart of hearts, you couldn’t relate to the seemingly emotionless Vulcan, Mr. Spock? Leonard Nimoy, along with the writers of the series, was able to convey this empathy through his acting and through the direction of the series creators.
Ms. Vinge is such a “director”. Her characters are alive in and of themselves, and come alive through her incredibly personal, deeply emotional dialogue and prose.
I believe she now occasionally teaches classes and seminars/workshops in California, and were I more financially able, I would attend in a heartbeat. I recommend her books to anyone who can tear the heart out of a story and appreciate the effort it took on the part of the author to compel you to do so.
If we cannot relate to our art, as it imitates life, then what in the hell can we relate to?
Discovery and innovation are our soul, as one human race. Ms. Vinge exemplifies this with such grace that it is difficult to disagree. Read her.