A Voice in Every Wind
Human explorers and settlers learn to live with the Kaanese: a race which communicates by scent and taste, for whom consciousness and sapience are new experiences, and intelligence and culture are in the throes of being born.
A world where . . .
...creatures communicate by scent and taste as much as sound and sight.
...meaning lives in every rock and stream, and every breeze brings a new voice.
...consciousness and sapience are new experiences, and intelligence and culture are in the throes of being born.
And where . . .
...one Human explorer stands on the threshold of discoveries that could alter the future of humanity.
In a new novel about alien culture that echoes LeGuin, Don Sakers explores a world where scent and taste are as important as vision and hearing in two novelettes connected over a span of 60 years.
This is either a two part novel or two linked novelettes, depending on how you look at it. The first section introduces us to an alien world where the indigenous lifeforms communicate in unusual ways and where intelligence and self awareness is just beginning to appear. A single human visitor finds himself in the midst of wonders. The second half takes place a couple of generations later, with a well established human colony interacting with the very alien world around them. Sakers has created a fascinating alien ecology, and the first half is much more interesting than the sequel, although both are quite readable."
Chronicle, December 2003, p. 44
written by Don D'Ammassa
"Have you ever experienced a situation when you have tried to explain the way you truly feel to someone else, yet words are just too limited? As much as they nod their head and say that they understand, you know that they cannot relate on the same emotional level to the pain and suffering, or the elation and excitement, that you are experiencing.
What if I told you that there was a place where communication is brought to a higher plane? In Don Sakers' Scattered Worlds universe, there exists a planet known as Kaa. In Sakers' own words, "The natives, every form of life on Kaa, all communicate constantly by sophisticated chemicals in the environment. Enzymes, complex proteins, things that behave like viruses ... it's symbiosis on a scale we can't even begin to imagine." This passage comes from the book aptly titled A Voice in Every Wind.
Similar in style to The Leaves of October (another book in the Scattered Worlds series), Voice is really a set of novelettes spanning two different time periods. In the first, a single human, Treyl, and a Kaa native, Dleef, spend time together learning about each other's cultures. Through Treyl's eyes, this is an amazing world that must be further studied. Dleef, on the other hand, feels pity for the humans. They may have conquered the stars, but they communicate like children.
In the second tale, set 60 years after the first, the human war between the Terran Empire and the Patalanian Union has come to Kaa. As this planet is responsible for a major percentage of the healing drugs used throughout the universe, this is prime real estate.
For the past 60 years, Dr. Treyl and his staff have been working on the "Project" -- discovering the secrets behind Kaa's symbiotic nature. If man felt the pain he inflicts upon others, would that cure his violent nature? Is chemical communication between humans even possible? Will the war destroy any attempt to find out?
At less than 100 pages total, it certainly won't take the reader long to find out. The first part of A Voice in Every Wind was written in 1986, yet it is certainly still an interesting read today.
Sakers' work reminds me, in a way, of early Orson Scott Card books. Their writing styles are definitely different, yet they both have the ability to draw you in to a story through a unique perspective. Both authors will have you thinking not only about future human interactions but also any eventual contact we might have as we spread out from our home planet. If you are not familiar yet with any of the Scattered Worlds series, A Voice in Every Wind is as good a place as any to start."
written by Wil Owen
published 24 January 2004