Glory Season Essay - Critical Essays

David Brin


Mysteries to solve with clues along the way lead the reader through this intriguing rite-of-passage story. Maias adventures, in a society facing unavoidable change because of an impending reunion with other human worlds, create a tableau for Brin to explore gender stereotypes in both a science-fictional and pastoral setting. One amusing scene illustrating gender stereotypes has all the women worrying about how Renna is going to ride horseback without a sidesaddle to avoid injury.

Rennas reports to his shipboard computer give the reader an analysis of Stratoin society while contrasting a masculine outlook with which the reader may be more familiar to the genetically altered male behavior on Stratos. Renna also provides a love interest for Maia and a conflict point on personal, clan, and societal levels. Renna and Maia both are threatened physically because of other womens physical and emotional desire to possess Renna and because some clans would choose to destroy him because of their fear of the change he represents. Some clans also would use him for political advantage.

Leie, as Maias twin, acts within the first part of the plot to explain things to Maia and the reader in a natural way. Later, she is used as a substitute Maia so that Maia can be in two places at once.

Brins explanations of societal development within the world and the settlement are logical and well developed, including the prejudice and problems faced by the nonclone minority. Brins skill creates a beautiful and diverse world of Stratos, and his characters seem to take on lives of their own. Inspired by biological studies of parthenogenically reproducing lizards and aphids, Brin also acknowledges in his afterword the guidance of Charlotte Perkins Gilmans story Herland (1979; serial form, 1914).

Nominated for the 1994 Hugo Award for best novel, Glory Season leaves plenty of room for a sequel exploring other aspects of Stratoin society and its potential for change. This book follows Startide Rising (1983), winner of the 1984 Hugo Award, Locus Award, and Nebula Award, and The Uplift War (1987), winner of the 1988 Hugo Award. Both are part of the Uplift Sequence. Brin won a 1985 Hugo Award for best short story for “The Crystal Spheres” (1984). His previously published work includes seven novels and a collection of short stories. His background for science-fiction writing includes a doctorate in astrophysics and work as a physics professor and consultant to the U.S. space program.