Review of The Winds of Gath

The Winds of Gath was originally released in 1967, the first in the Dumarest of Terra series. It has many of the hallmarks of classic space opera — worlds ruled by a single monarchy, simple (albeit pricey) travel between the stars, creatures that can be used to assassinate others, shadowy organizations, and a super-competent hero as comfortable with solving a mystery as with fighting for his life.

One thing that did strike me as odd when compared to more recent fiction was the early lack of an over-arching goal for Dumarest: When the book begins, he is presented as simply a Traveler, one who takes passage between worlds to random destinations, merely to see new places and get new experiences. He inadvertently winds up on Gath, a world where it’s hard for Travelers to earn enough to get themselves off-world again, and so he develops an immediate goal. Once he has the means to do so, however, he stays on Gath for no reason that is spelled out — for the experience of the wind storm that can affect people’s minds? That’s the best guess I had. It’s not until we near the end of the book that we discover he does have an over-arching goal, to get back to Earth, a world most people don’t even know exists.

Both the world of Gath and the larger environment humans live in — complete with dangers, mores, and customs — are well constructed. Tubb does a good job at drawing in the lines of politics, both within a world and across worlds, and most of the characters aside from Dumarest himself seem to have clear motivations.

Although this book can be read on its own, but I will be seeking out the other books in the series to see how Dumarest proceeds from this point, whether the politics and conspiracies shown in this book play a deeper role, and discover whether Dumarest does indeed manage to get back to Earth.

Disclosure: I received a free audio copy of this book in return for an honest review

Summer projects for the road

When our family goes on vacation, we almost always drive, no matter how far we’re going — a couple years ago, we drove from Pennsylvania up to British Columbia, down the Pacific coast, then back across the country to go home. This gives us ample time to listen to audiobooks (seems to be the only time my husband and I listen to Tess Gerritsen), although some books are too complex for anything but routine driving conditions (Oryx and Crake, Blue). The other thing it gives me time for is creating something with my hands.

On previous trips, I’ve knitted sweaters, crocheted and knitted bookmarks, even crocheted doilies (not that I keep any out on our tables). It keeps me busy, and it also helps recharge my muse because I’m indulging in a form of creation that doesn’t require words.

I’ve decided to do something different for our next trip: circular patchwork (see Carol Britts program for pictures to give you an idea). I’ll have to prep all the materials ahead of time — circles, batting, squares — but as I create each block, it’s already quilted. Single blocks can be readily held on my lap, and even joining finished squares into strips should be feasible in the car.

I’m not a hand pieced or quilter — it takes too long. I’d rather use a machine and have a finished product. So many calls on my time! On a trip, though, I’ll have time. I’ll also be developing a new skill. Will I be able to finish a quilt on a trip? No idea, but I can at least start and see how far I get.

The hardest part? May be going through my fabric stash and deciding what to work with!