Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai
I’ve never been a big science fiction reader, and so it took me far too long to get around to reading Kirsten Imani Kasai’s Ice Song. Its beautiful cover would draw my eye again and again in the bookstore, then I’d flip it over to read the back cover copy and think, “Oh. Submarines. Mutations. This is that science fiction book again.” Now that I’ve read it, I wish the blurb had contained one brief sentence that would have had me snapping up the book right away: This is a fairy tale.
Sure, the setting is an environmentally ravaged future, and the part-human, part-animal beings who populate it are made that way by mutation rather than by sorcery, but make no mistake: this is a fairy tale. Just as the key to Sorykah’s quest is hidden within a fairy tale told to her along the way, I believe that the key to enjoying Ice Song Read More
Kirsten Imani KasaiKirsten Imani Kasai’s previous occupations include: hairstylist, make-up artist, retail drone, box office sales, coat-check girl, “Worst Waitress in the World,” positions in admin, management and marketing, and a two-day stint tying fishing nets. Kirsten’s fiction, reviews and poetry have appeared in various national magazines and anthologies. She lives in California with her husband and children. Here’s Kirsten Imani Kasai‘s website.
Ice Song — (2009-2011) Publisher: There are secrets beneath her skin. Sorykah Minuit is a scholar, an engineer, and the sole woman aboard an ice-drilling submarine in the frozen land of the Sigue. What no one knows is that she is also a Trader: one who can switch genders suddenly, a rare corporeal deviance universally met with fascination and superstition and all too often punished by harassment or death. Sorykah’s infant twins, Leander and Ayeda, have inherited their mother’s Trader genes. When a wealthy, reclusive madman known as the Collector abducts the babies to use in his dreadful experiments, Sorykah and her male alter-ego, Soryk, must cross icy wastes and a primeval forest to get them back. Complicating the dangerous journey is the fact that Sorykah and Soryk do not share memories: Each disorienting transformation is like awakening with a jolt from a deep and dreamless sleep. The world through which the alternating lives of Sorykah and Soryk travel is both familiar and surreal. Environmental degradation and genetic mutation run amok; humans have been distorted into animals and animal bodies cloak a wild humanity. But it is also a world of unexpected beauty and wonder, where kindness and love endure amid the ruins. Alluring, intense, and gorgeously rendered, Ice Song is a remarkable debut by a fiercely original new writer.
Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai
Tattoo by Kirsten Imani Kasai
Tattoo, the sequel to Ice Song, takes readers back into Kirsten Imani Kasai’s ravaged yet eerily beautiful world, picking up Sorykah’s story just after her rescue of her twin babies from the mad Matuk the Collector. She’d love to return to normal life, but fate has other plans.
Kasai’s prose is as beautiful as ever. In the haunting prologue, she once again evokes a fairy-tale atmosphere as she tells the creation myth of the octameroons: human/octopus hybrids like Sorykah’s acquaintance Rava. Then we move back into the present, where Tirai Industries is exploiting the octameroons for their ink. This ink is used in addictive tattoos that destroy the bodies and minds of their wearers, just as surely as the harvesting process destroys the octameroons and the ice fields in which they live. Sorykah learns that the very submarine ... Read More