Bitterblooms (1977) by George R. R. Martin

A melancholy, genre-bending tale, with the science-fiction elements seeping out under the fantasy veneer as the story progresses.

There’s a strong emotional core at the centre of the story, but it lacks the creativity of stories like “In the House of the Worm” or “The Way of Cross and Dragon”, or the emotional impact of stories like “Meathouse Man” and “This Tower of Ashes”. It’s not a lesser story in the way of “Nobody Leaves New Pittsburg” or “Starlady” though…I’d call this the standard, the average “Thousand Worlds” story. Pretty strong character writing and emotional core. Interesting science-fiction twist. Well worth the read. Nothing hugely special, but definitely a good piece of genre writing.

“A Song of Ice and Fire” fans will probably find this story notable for the fantasy genre conventions, inclusion of incest, and for the seasons of unusual length, similar to the ones Westeros is beset with.

I give it three Ice Wagons, and a frostflower vine.

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