Vonda N. McIntyre’s “The Mountains of Sunset, The Mountains of Dawn”

Vonda N. McIntyre’s “The Mountains of Sunset, The Mountains of Dawn” is a wonderfully beautiful tale about love across the generations among a space faring winged and taloned species. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1974, it’s about a young male (called grandchild) who falls in love with a much older female (called grandmother). The “grandchild” wants to mate with the “grandmother” in order to effect his metamorphosis into an adult. Grandmother is a subversive influence on the grandchild, because she breaks from the decision of the others to remain in space. Also, she allows grandchild to continue his infatuation with her.

I like this story, because of the descriptive language that the author uses to describe flying and hunting prey. I felt myself carried over the air currents as these flying beings freely explored the space that we can only do so through the mediation of technology. It’s a story worth reading, and the generational themes and Freudian issues should be further explored. It can be found in The Norton Book of Science Fiction.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.