SciFi Month Read Along: Winter’s Orbit, Week 1

It’s time to begin our weekly discussions of Winter’s Orbit! Let’s meet the characters and set the scene…



Before we begin, here’s a quick reminder of the schedule, and the fact that it’s not too late to join in! I’m keeping things casual here because life pretty much demands it of me right now, and because it’s how I operate anyway. So if you’d like to jump in or comment with your thoughts, feel free!

Right, now on to the talky bits…

First up, introductions! What are your first impressions of Kiem and Jainan (and any other character who’s caught your eye)?

‘First impressions’ is a tricky thing to go into since this is a reread for me, and all my thoughts are second impressions! But I can say that I’m getting a better read on both of these characters this time around, and I love a good ‘opposites attract in the most awkward way’ setup. There’s definitely more going on with Jainan than I think was apparent the first time around, so I’m feeling even more sympathetic toward him this time. I won’t say more than that for now because spoilers, but he is good and pure and I want to protect him!

(Same goes for Kiem, though with him it’s a bit less ‘protect’ and a little more ‘gently slap in the side of the head’…)

How’s the setting/the cultural detail so far working for you? Anything in particular that grabs your attention?

I am definitely still giving the Iskat Empire the side-eye, but I like that I’m able to put this much thought into it! Maxwell does well with the worldbuilding here – there’s not so much that I get bogged down or bored by it, or worse – confused! But there is enough to make things interesting, and I look forward to later … complications, heh.

Cultural details: I like the gender signifiers, both subtle and clearly stated at the same time. And the tech, particularly their communications tech, feels like it’s not far off of where we are with it now. None of it feels terribly far-fetched but it’s advanced enough to be fascinating, nonetheless.

Not much time is being wasted when it comes to romantic tropes. How do you feel about romance in your SF? Yay, nay or maybe? And specifically, how do you feel about the use of those tropes here?

I am all about including romance in SF, and I love nothing more than a well-handled face full of tropes! As for these tropes, they are some of my favourites – and we haven’t even gotten to the really good ones yet… Kiem and Jainan are clearly already attracted to each other but they have not yet learned how the other works, as it were. It’s painful delicious to see them trying and failing to understand each other! Oh, babies.

Plot twist – and it comes on the heels of the Auditor interview… Are you intrigued by either of these developments? And what do you think of the Auditor? Impartial, or up to something?

I admit I put this question in for the first-time readers, to see what they make of it! I have my opinions but right now they’re spoilery… So I’ll wait and see what other folks think, and meanwhile sit here quietly cackling over it. Mwahaha.


That’s it from me for this round, but next week imyril is in the host seat! Check out @SciFiMonth on Twitter for more links, as they arrive…

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