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The question of whether Vance was dead or not became more than academic when he found himself in a bathtub up to his chin in ice water like some forgotten cocktail garnish, a demonic woman standing over him, and no memory of how he got there.
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Courtship Rite

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Courtship Rite
Courtship Rite (1st edition cover).jpg
First edition cover art by Rowena Morrill
Author Donald Kingsbury
Length Novel
ISFDB ISFDB entry
wikipedia.org Courtship Rite
Debut Novel Yes
Genre Science Fiction
Story Survey
Starting Genre science fiction, fantasy, or horror
Starting Perspective 3rd
Starting Tense past tense
Starting Action Level 1.5 (out of 5)
Starting Hook Level 2 (out of 5)
Starting Tension Level 1.5 (out of 5)
Starting Genre Level 2 (out of 5)
Reviewer Fritz
First Paragraphs
In the deserts of the Swollen Tongue below the Wailing Mountains there lives an insect species which organizes other insects by mimicking their olfactory communication systems. The sense and control organs of the eight-legged kaiel are contained in an intricate design on their backs called hontokae. Priests of the human clan named Kaiel carve a stylized version of the hontokae into their skins so all will know that they intend to command all.

-- Harar ram-Ivieth from his Following God

 

Prime Predictor Tae ran-Kaiel was long dead but he lived in the bellies of his aggressive progeny. Even the youngest of them had shared his flesh at a Funeral Feast still remembered in clan chant around the rowdy gaming tables of the Kaiel temples.

Picture
Cover art by Rowena Morrill

Courtship Rite

    A vast alien landscape, a human culture based on our own, yet evolved in strange ways by the forces of an inimical nature provide a panoramic backdrop for the romantic adventures of a large cast of memorable & attractive characters.

Courtship Rite is a sf novel by American writer Donald Kingsbury, originally serialized in Analog magazine in 1982. The book is set in the same universe as some of his other stories, such as Shipwright (1978) & the unpublished The Finger Pointing Solward. In the UK, the novel was entitled Geta, in France, Parade nuptiale. Courtship Rite was the 1st winner of the Compton Crook Award for best 1st novel & was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983.

The novel details the attempts of two of the priest-clans, the Kaiel & the Mnankrei, to expand into territory controlled by the Stgal. Ultimately, all the priest clans are trying to attain dominance of the planet through the use of new technology, propaganda, treachery & "war", a new concept in this world. Previously, killing was done merely in order to provide food.

Jo Walton remarked that Courtship Rite "is about a distant generation of colonists on a planet with no usable animals. This is the book with everything, where everything includes cannibalism, polyamory, evolution & getting tattoos so your skin will make more interesting leather when you’re dead."

Story Survey

Courtship Rite (1st edition cover).jpg

Categories[edit]

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