The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Change is coming to the watery planet Tiamat, which will be closed to the rest of the empire for 150 years. A new queen will rule. To protect herself, Arienrhod, the Snow Queen, has cloned herself. Arienrhod plans for the clone, Moon Dawntreader Summer, to come to Carbuncle, the planet’s only major city, to prepare to become the next queen. The Change means that the less sophisticated Summers will rule and that the off-worlders will leave, taking their technology with them.

Arienrhod’s original plan is aborted when Moon inadvertently is taken off the planet by smugglers while on her way to visit Sparks, her lover. Moon is a sibyl, a person infected by a bioengineered virus that makes her capable of tapping into the Old Empire’s hidden computer library. Believing Moon to be dead, Sparks eventually becomes consort to Arienrhod and is progressively corrupted.

Moon eventually returns and accidentally is gathered up in an illegal hunt for mers, led by Sparks. The intelligent, aquatic mers are creatures bioengineered by the Old Empire. Their blood contains the “water of life,” a longevity substance. Moon meets and falls in love with BZ Gundhalinu, a Kharmoughi policeman. Attracted to BZ, Moon makes love with him.

Arienrhod’s plan was to free Tiamat from the control of the Hegemony, the current empire, by preserving as much technology as possible. As her plans are thwarted, she becomes more ruthless, finally arranging for a plague to kill most of the Summers at the Festival of Change. That scheme also is foiled, and Arienrhod is sacrificed to the sea. The off-worlders leave, and so does BZ.

World’s End chronicles BZ’s journey of...

(The entire section is 698 words.)