The Snow Queen

Joan D. Vinge
The Snow Queen Cover

The Snow Queen


Adaptations of fairy tales can be pretty fun - showing a story the audience has known since childhood and reflecting it back to them through a different lens can highlight aspects of the original story they may not have seen before, and lifting the entire story and setting it in another context can work amazingly as well.

Joan D. Vinge's The Snow Queen (1980), takes the original Hans Christian Andersen story and places it in a science fiction setting, on a planet called Tiamat. As with the original story, it follows two young children through a journey that tests their friendship, separates them, and shows the power of love and forgiveness in relationships.

There was a lot I liked about this book - the planet in which the story takes place alternates between technology and tribal rule every 150 years, the palace intrigue reminded me an awful lot of Dune (Frank Herbert, 1965), and the concept of Sibyls, as in the oracles of Ancient Greece, transferred quite nicely into the SF setting.

The story moves quite quickly, and is filled with all sorts of fun intrigue and concepts, but in the end I felt that the author actually stayed too close to the source material, allowing me to see where the story was going well in advance. A fun book to read, but not one I've ended up keeping on my shelves.