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Carolyn Howard-Johnson reviews Sagarmatha by Nina Osier



by Nina Osier 2005

ISBN: 1594313393 or 9781594313394

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Sagarmatha Explores What Ails the Universe


"...evil, especially evil hiding itself behind a guise of faith, was something far more sinister."


This, the voice of Scorch Stackpole, the heroine in Nina Osier's e-book, is the profoundest of reasons to take a moment to download her Sagarmatha. , Like Sci-Fi stories that Steven Spielberg made into American movie icons, this one is full of lessons for our own age, from the dangers of isolating ourselves from those who are different to the corrosive consequences of judging others by our own narrow experiences.


Having said that, Sagarmatha is also a darn good story. The liberated heroine who has been away fighting battles throughout the universe returns home to the planet that gives the novel its name. There she finds she must fight a revolution led by zealots. She also must face her own internal skirmishes with love and the responsibilities imposed by family and community.


This woman, who has survived by being tough, must also come to terms with a culture and place she both loves and hates. Sagarmatha will not be the same book to all people. In addition to its futuristic bent, it is a little bit women's, a little bit feminist, a tiny bit romance and a big bit adventure. Throw in a little environmental science and geology. I found only one word that some families would find objectionable so it may even work for older teens.


In Sagarmatha, the author describes a multi-layered and extremely foreign culture she has imagined as a background for her universal themes. That may present difficulties for the reader, especially those uninitiated in the structure and vocabulary of science fiction. It is worth a bit of a struggle to get through the first couple chapters -- when characters, galactic intricacies, and traditions are introduced -- to find the meat and bones of these characters and their conflicting worlds.


Osier never preaches but in this story we see ourselves as we may become. In it we find a story that relates to our own lives and time.



(Carolyn Howard-Johnson's first novel, This Is the Place, has won eight awards.   Her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remember has won three.   Sona Ovasapyan, Student at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, says, "This author's words set me free." She is also the author of Tracings, a chapbook of poetry. Learn more at:




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