Review of Icefall by Stephanie Gunn

Title:  Icefall

Author:  Stephanie Gunn

Reviewer:  Shelley Russell Nolan

Synopsis:  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.


Review:  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 achievement will be invalidated.

Set in the future, it pays homage to the women who conquered mountains on Earth, and it gives glimpses of when Aisha first set eyes on Maggie and was seduced by mountain climbing. The world building is subtle, seamlessly woven into the story, at times making me forget this was science fiction. I was enthralled by the challenges Maggie would face when she began the climb, and by Aisha’s relationship both with her and the AI on their ship. I never knew what to expect, both intrigued and fearful of how the story would end.

In all, this was an interesting read that showed a unique perspective on mountain climbing and how it had formed the relationship between Aisha and Maggie. I was not ready for it to end, and would love to return to the world of Icefall to see what happens when the Mountains weep once again.

Rating:  4 Stars

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