Skip to content

November 20, 2020


#AusReadingMonth2020 Icefall

by NancyElin



  1. Well, fly me to the moon..
  2. if you are like me I seldom read SF. It just does not entertain me.
  3. But I am trying to read deeply and widely,
  4. so I decided to ‘test the waters’ with a short 114 pg novella.
  5. Now, I did the research for you (see review)
  6. …so you can dive right into this book.
  7. Just think….at the next book club meeting when they ask t
  8. o suggest a ‘something completely different…
  9. you can suggest ICEFALL by Stephanie Gunn!
  10. The club will be determined NOT to read it
  11. ….you could probably crack rocks on their jaws!
  12. But…at least try to guide them into the world of SF!
  13. Millions of people read nothing else!
  14. Stephenie Gunn was a research scientist turned full time writer.
  15. I’m curious how she will combine her
  16. …scientific backround with her fiction
  17. Will Ms Gunn write what she knows
  18. ….or what she feels?



  1. I do not read very much SF
  2. …so looked at some terms I found in the text…and what they mean.
  3. This made the book MUCH easier to process.


  1. VIR POD – spaceship ‘Wanda R’
  2. …named for Wanda Rutkiewicz, first woman to climb K2.
  3. VIR – virutal interfaced reality
  4. VIR implants – one can experience both worlds (virtual and real) at the same time


  1. AI hologram3D image formed by split laser beam.
  2. Ms Gunn describes a AI holographic character as
  3. genderless, expressionless, fingers bloodless
  4. …can dematerialize and form again in i.e. the navigator’s chair (ch 15)
  5. …can flow around me (Aisha) to envelope me completely in its field (ch1)


  1. AI (artifcial intelligence)
  2. I did not know if this was a human replication or just a voice!
  3. Replicant androids are indistinguishable from human beings
  4. …remember the film: Blade Runner… how was human and who was AI?
  5. In this book AI comes with a package of standard visages:
  6. male, female or null gender.
  7. AI uses the visage and name of Mallory
  8. …in reference to G. Mallory
  9. the first person to summit Mt Everest.



  1. Icefall is a similar planet to old Earth.
  2. MacGregor Corporation has established two colonies on Icefall.
  3. Icefall organizes a Icefall Climbing Competition once every 7 years.
  4. Essential in the plot is a ‘weeping mountain’.
  5. All of the pointed masses of ice  and snow in a glacier melt.
  6. Millions of mega litres of water wash over the
  7. continent destroying everything in its path.
  8. The waters lie still for one ICEFALL  day (25 hrs).
  9. The next day waters retreat…moving against gravity.
  10. The mountain draws everything back towards it
  11. …the glaciers, the icefall and continental ice all reform.
  12. This was the SPOOKIEST thing in the entire book!


  1. Planet Demeter home of narrator Aisha Ashkani
  2. Planet Icefall
  3. Greyspace – folded space beneath normal space that surrounds planet Icefall
  4. Many references to “old Earth”


Structure:        26 chapters,  114 pages

  1. Present – Ch 1-5-11 (arriving on planet Icefall)
  2. Backstory – Ch  2-3-4-6-7-8-9-10-13 
  3. Present – Ch 14-26  present (Icefall Climbing Competition)


Main Characters:

  1. Mallory (AI) – projects its holographic interface around narrator Aisha.
  2. Aisha:  former priestess of ONE Order of the New Earth
  3. Maggie (Margaret Malleore) mountain climber – Maggie and narrator are married
  4. Gorak – bot (robot) raven like bird that will be narrator’s ‘eyes’ on the Mountain.



  1. Aisha Ashkani (priestess) is from Sherpa heritage.
  2. Sherpa believe the mountain is
  3. …their goddess and one should not
  4. trespass on the sacred ground.
  5. Ironically
  6. …Aisha becomes fascinated
  7. with mountaint climbing and leaves the temple
  8. …to reach the snowy summit.


Last Thoughts:

  1. This SF novella is about Mountain climbing in space…in the future.
  2. Humans have left old Earth and have colonised the universe.
  3. There is also  a very touching love story in this book
  4. …that brings the SF and the human elements in balance.
  5. You will have to read the book (reading time?  2 hrs)
  6. to discover the tender bond between Aisha Ashkani and Maggie.
  7. #GreatRead
9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 22 2020

    haha, I loved you into to the book. And, I do love that it’s a novella. I don’t read a lot of SF either (as I’m sure you know!). I’d read it if my reading group suggested it!

    • Nov 22 2020

      Sue, agreed you do guide my Australian reading and I am so thankful for you insightful blogposts! In fact…YOU helped me discover Nigel Featherstone! I hope you have the time to read my review of his novella (…I read your review as well!) ‘Fall On Me’. I plan to read his ARA Historical Fiction Prize 2020 longlisted book “Bodies of Men”.

  2. Nov 23 2020

    Novellas are a great way to explore new genres and I love how you embrace AusReadingMonth and NovInNov together.

    • Nov 23 2020

      Novellas are truly my ‘discovery’ this year.
      Attention spans were short for obvious reasons….and these
      compressed novels just took my hand and
      guided me back to the world of the living and reading!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. It’s Novellas in November time! #NovNov
  2. Novellas in November Begins! | Bookish Beck
  3. #AusReadingMonth2020 Wrap-up | NancyElin
  4. Australian Novellas
  5. AusReading Month – Wrap Up Post – Brona (This Reading Life)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.