||Jul 1 2001
The Alternate Universe of Diana Kemp-Jones
The essence of womanhood speaks from a collection of fifteen science fiction stories welcoming the reader into the diverse female universe.
The wind - sculptor of stone, chiseler of earth. As gentle as a lover's caress or a vengeful wraith smiting the land - it is the eternal shaper of worlds and events. A chameleon, it shifts moods like the desert sands, its voice a lullaby, a scream of rage, an eerie dirge, a whispered secret.
Like the wind, the female spirit has sculpted the face of time. Girl, woman, matron ... be it a personal triumph or global victory, she has etched her name in stone. The essence of womanhood speaks from a collection of fifteen science fiction stories welcoming the reader into the diverse female universe.
A volley of heat seeking stingers whistled over the sheer edge of the towering glacier toward the fleeing targets below. Unprotected on the bleak expanse of tundra, the lone pair of polar gleatax galloped furiously, their eight mighty hooves thundering in the frozen air. Foam sprayed from their tusked muzzles, terror distending their intelligent gray eyes. The male gleatax whinnied and glanced at the advancing missiles. In desperation, he nuzzled his mate in an attempt to get her to separate. She balked, her whinny frantic as she stubbornly nudged closer to his flanks.
The stingers closed formation, their sites strobing a deepening tone of red. Relentlessly, they locked on their targets and descended for the kill. No larger than bullets, a soft whine emanated as the missiles blurred into elongated streaks, spooking the mare. The stallion bolted, his powerful forelegs defiantly raised to shield his cowering mate. He extended the full twelve feet of his glory, chiseled muscles corded against his velvety charcoal coat. His platinum mane flowed proudly in the thin, reedy wind--his resonant whinny a challenge.
Sisters of the Wind
Want to get lost in a fantasy world? Diana Kemp-Jones gives you more than a dozen opportunities to do so. Each story leaves you wanting more. You'll have to ration yourself to just one story a day because the worlds created by the author are believable enough that it's hard to bring yourself back to this one. Filled with such tiny details as to make each world more realistic than our own planet at times, the author could easily turn each short story into a novel and still leave us wanting more.
Ann M. Beardsley, Scribes World Reviews
Word Wrap: A book review by Cindy Penn
SISTERS OF THE WIND by Diana Kemp-Jones is a breathtaking collection of fifteen science fiction stories united by themes of strong women rising to meet extraordinary challenges. With grace and panache, Kemp-Jones presents an amazingly unified collection of fifteen short stories that will challenge the reader's perceptions of the future.
The future has degenerated into fierce control or its alternative chaos, depending upon which planet you inhabit. But in all cases, personal liberty has been curtailed and it takes an extraordinary show of spirit to effect change. On one hand, meet independent young women like Janaar in "Debutante", who refuses to submit to her society's demands, choosing rebellion that potentially leads to change in her whole world. Or meet young Nataya in "Donors" who becomes the leader of children to a New World. On the other hand, meet starship captain Saladon who risks death to save a planet from annihilation.
Despite the pronounced differences in time and place between the world as we know it, and the world of Kemp-Jones' imaginative tale. Many themes are extremely contemporary. Universal questions such as how to balance between family and worldly responsibility dominate several stories. Raising children and the defiance of what is ethically wrong verses the celebration of what is ethically right also dominate many stories, including "Devil in the Heart," "Imarad," and "Mantris."
Kemp-Jones prose is amazingly descriptive, lending depth of characterization seldom seen in short stories. These stories challenge me as a reader, making reevaluate my own ethical and moral beliefs, rather than being willing to let others think for me. Moreover, each of these heroines lives and breathes for me, living in memory long after the last page. I can hardly wait to read more from this talented author.
Sisters of the Wind
Sisters of the Wind is a collection of short stories superbly written about heroic women who haplessly find themselves in extraordinary situations. The tales are futuristic and thought-provoking, often bringing into question the direction our own technology should be taking.
There are stories told from the point of view of adolescents, as with young Natty, whose planet is dying of extreme acid rain, and families are torn by the only option presented to them to save their children.
The continents long gone, a young woman's rebellion threatens the survival of the inhabitants on the world's cityships in a setting reminiscent of Water World.
There are tales which involve women and their personal lives. Gwynne's husband, an engineer driven to succeed, has invented the Mantis, a giant building-erecter, a technological marvel. But Gwynne is unavoidably cast into the middle of violent protests that break out against this uncontrolled use of technology. Does the experience make her or break her?
"New Woman" is an intriguing tale about the divergent ways in which two women in their fifties react to a new fountain-of-youth biotechnology that is able to mold them into the image of female perfection.
Some of the Sisters struggle with life and death decisions made in the name of their careers. A reporter is made privy to the origin of an extraterrestrial artifact which had been unearthed three centuries too early. How she decides to report this knowledge will determine the fate of humankind.
Imarad has only known life as a soldier, battling the sinister aliens for as long as she can remember. She believes she has discovered the enemy's weakness and responds to this information in the only way she can--with uncommon valor.
Hired to terminate those with a deadly, contagious infection, Alyse Hain discovers something unnerving about this disease and how and why it is proliferating.
Diana Kemp-Jones knows her craft; the characters experience the science rather than the reader being told the science. Whether on Earth or on other worlds, her unforgettable characters and impressively described settings cause the senses to tingle while the pages turn at a fast clip. Those who love well-written science fiction, as I do, will thoroughly enjoy Sisters of the Wind.
Jeanne Allen KnowBetter.com
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