Michael G. Coney’s Short Stories 11

Snow Princess” (Galaxy, January, 1971.)

This story continues the adventures of the band of survivors eking out a precarious existence in the bell tower of an old church in England after the fall of the next ice age. They search for food in the streets of a town buried beneath the ice, and eat the meat of the occasional polar bear, called ‘pads’. But Jacko, the leader of the group, has plans to get away from the icy regions on the Snow Princess, a snowboat he’s in the process of building. However, the arrival of two further survivors on the scene, the dim-witted Charles William and the pretty young girl, Mignon, puts a spanner in the works as the boat will not be big enough to hold six people.

Again, the strength of the story lies in Coney’s depiction of the fraught relationship existing with the small group, and his description of the rigours of living in ice age conditions.

Events become even more tense with the attack of ferocious pads, who seem to be working in concert to defeat the humans. Again, as in “Discover a Latent Moses”, salvation arrives from a wholly unexpected source.

Though never less than entertaining, “Snow Princess” is not as successful as the leaner, more economical first tale – indeed it works better as part of the novel Winter’s Children, published three years later in 1974.

Rating: 5/10

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