Thursday, April 28, 2016

After A Lean Winter by David Farland Hearkens Back to War of Worlds by H.G. Wells

Using a great story upon which to create anew is surely something that is routinely done... But how close or how far can the imagination go in this new creation? In this case, as if Jack London was the main character! I think that David Farland has done an outstanding job in creating After A Lean Winter... The emotional impact of being invaded by something beyond the earth is still as amazing and emotionally charged as the original War of the Worlds and can still capture the fascinating possibility of it really happening! Especially with the intriguing  cover for the story!

There were no enemy ships on the horizon, so I watched as Pierre swept into Hidden Lodge on
Titchen Creek late on a moonless night. His two sled dogs huffed and bunched their shoulders, then dug their back legs in with angry growls, hating the trail, as they crossed that last stubborn rise. The runners of his sled rang over the crusted snow with the sound of a sword being drawn from its scabbard, and the leather harnesses creaked. The air that night had a feral bite to it. The sun had been down for days, sometimes hovering near the horizon, and the deadly winter chill was on. It would be a month before we'd see the sun again. For weeks we had felt that cold air gnawing us, chewing away at our vitality, like a wolf pup worrying a shard of caribou bone long after the marrow is depleted. In the distance, billowing thunderclouds raced toward us under the glimmering stars, promising some insulating warmth. A storm was chasing Pierre's trail. 
By agreement, no one came to the lodge until just before a storm, and none stayed long after the storm began. Pierre's two poor huskies caught the scent of camp and yipped softly. Pierre called "Gee," and the sled heeled over on a single runner. Carefully, he twisted the gee-poles, laid the sled on its side next to a dozen others. I noted a heavy bundle lashed to the sled, perhaps a moose haunch, and I licked my lips involuntarily. I'd pay well for some meat.

After A Lean Winter

By David Farland

Living in this area of our country is bad enough without problems with a war! Interestingly though, the martians that had invaded the United States had discovered that the climate around the arctic circle would meet their needs!

In warmer climes, it was said, they died quickly from bacterial infections. But that was not true here by the Circle. The Martians were thriving in our frozen wastes. Their crops grew at a tremendous rate on any patch of frozen windswept ground--in spite of the fact that there was damned little light. Apparently, Mars is a world that is colder and darker than ours, and what is for us an intolerable frozen hell is to them a balmy paradise.

Jack sat watching was men and their huskies came toward the Lodge. As soon as they were in sight and identified Jack, they were asking about whether the martians had been seen...

"Jacues? Jacues Lowndunn? Dat you?" he called, his voice muffled by the wolverine-fur trim of his parka. He pronounced my name, Jack London, in a thick accent, his lips frozen. "What news, my fren'? Eh?"
 "No one's had sight of the bloody-minded Martians in two weeks," I said. "They cleared out of Juneau." There had been a brutal raid on the town of Dawson some weeks before. The Martians captured the whole town, harvesting the unlucky for no one would walk about unarmed, then forged up toward the lodge, plodding toward me through the crusted snow, floundering deeper and deeper into the drifts with every step, until he climbed up on the porch. There was no friendly light behind me to guide his steps. Such a light would have shown us up to the Martians. 
"Where did you spot them?" I asked.
 "Anchorawge," he grunted, stamping his feet and brushing snow out of his parka before entering the warmer lodge. "De citee ees gone, Jacues--dead. De Martians keel everybawdy, by gar!"
Many of us think of Alaska being the most secluded place, yet the martians had gone through Juneau, Anchorage, many other cities, destroyed them, and moved on to where few people were there to fight them, especially at this time of the year. So learning what was happening was the first thing that people asked about. Jack had his own memories of seeing the martians and it wasn't something he'd forget...

Only once had I ever had the misfortune of observing a Martian. It was when Bessie and I were on the steamer up from San Francisco. We'd sailed to Puget Sound, and in Seattle we almost put to port. But the Martians had landed, and we saw one of their warriors on the beach wearing a metal body that gleamed sullenly like polished brass. It stood watch, its curved protective armor stretching above its head like the chitinous shell of a crab, it's lank, tripod metal legs letting it stand gracefully a hundred feet in the air. At first, one would have thought it an inanimate tower, but it twisted ever so insignificantly as we moved closer, regarding us as a jumping spider will a gnat, just before it pounces. We notified the captain, and he kept sailing north, leaving the Martian to hunt on its lonely stretch of beach, gleaming in the afternoon sun. Bessie and I had thought then that we would be safe back in the Yukon. I cannot imagine any other place than the land near the Circle that is quite so relentlessly inhospitable to life, yet I am intimate with the petty moods of this land, which I have always viewed as something of a mean-spirited accountant which requires every beast upon it to pay his exact dues each year, or die. I had not thought the Martians would be able to survive here, so Bessie and I took our few possessions and struck out from the haven of San Francisco for the bitter wastes north of Juneau. We were so naive.

So what happens when you gone as far north as you can to escape, only to find the enemy is not only there but went further north...and were surviving in the location! Especially hurt were the trappers who had lost his opportunity to run his trap lines. Numbers of those living there were diminishing and Jack's wife, Bessie, was holed up at home, until the storm passed and he, along with others, would go back to their homes.

What I didn't expect was for them to have a dog fight! Nor, in their preparations to find...a martian!

The Arctic night was brutally cold, the stars piercingly bright. The aurora borealis flickered green on the northern horizon in a splendid display,.. I stood in the snow for a long hour, looking up at the shimmering display. My thoughts were cloudy, but I wondered at all I had seen. The Martians wanted this useless tundra, and I tried to imagine a world where we lived in peace, sharing it. 

When we face something so different that we don't know what is going to happen, do we go into a dramatic shutdown? Or do we do what we must do, figure out what to eat, where to live and, then, how will we survive... Only later do we begin philosophically thinking what about the future... David Farland's story brings us face-to-face with our own humanity and what we are willing to do. How does the story end? Each individual who was there would find their own ending... What would mine be? Yours? A fascinating story for your consideration!


David Farland is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author with dozens of books to his credit. He began his career writing short fiction as a prize writer, which vaulted him into prominence in the mid-1980s. He has written science fiction under his own name, Dave Wolverton, including the highly praised "On My Way to Paradise," which won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for "Best Novel in the English Language." 

David has also written novels in the Star Wars and Mummy Universes, and has worked as a videogame designer, most notably for Starcraft's Brood War. 

In 1999 he set the Guinness Record for the World's Largest single-person, single book signing. 

In the mid-1990s he began to follow his love for writing fantasy under the pen name David Farland, where he became best known for his international bestselling Runelords series; though he has also won the Whitney Award for best novel of the year for his historical novel "In the Company of Angels," and he also won the International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year, along with the Hollywood Book Award for Best Book of the year for his Young Adult fantasy thriller, "Nightingale."

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