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The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain by Sofia Samatar (Paperback)

The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain by Sofia Samatar (Paperback)

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Fiction - Science Fiction - Space Opera - Action & Adventure


Celebrated author Sofia Samatar presents a mystical, revolutionary space adventure for the exhausted dreamer in this brilliant science fiction novella tackling the carceral state and violence embedded in the ivory tower while embodying the legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin.

"Can the University be a place of both training and transformation?"

The boy was raised as one of the Chained, condemned to toil in the bowels of a mining ship out amongst the stars.

His whole world changes—literally—when he is yanked "upstairs" to meet the woman he will come to call “professor.” The boy is no longer one of the Chained, she tells him, and he has been gifted an opportunity to be educated at the ship’s university alongside the elite.

The woman has spent her career striving for acceptance and validation from her colleagues in the hopes of reaching a brighter future, only to fall short at every turn.

Together, the boy and the woman will learn from each other to grasp the design of the chains designed to fetter them both, and are the key to breaking free. They will embark on a transformation—and redesign the entire world.


Sofia Samatar's first novel, A Stranger in Olondria, won the 2014 William L. Crawford Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and was included in Time Magazine's list of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. She also received the 2014 Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her novel The Winged Histories completed the Olondria duology, and was followed by Tender: StoriesMonster Portraits (with the artist Del Samatar), and The White Mosque: A Memoir. Sofia lives in Virginia and teaches at James Madison University.

I am in love with Sofia Samatar's lyricism and the haunting beauty of her imagination. Her stories linger, like the memory of a sumptuous feast.”—N. K. Jemisin

“Sofia Samatar’s The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain is an extraordinarily moving tale of power, connection, and community, and a thought experiment perfectly designed to meet our times. Here Samatar’s precise moral clarity is both a beacon and a provocation, inviting you into an emotional and philosophical encounter you won’t soon forget.”—Matt Bell, author of Appleseed

“The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain does what only Samatar can do: cut to the bone, but with a loving hand. It's a hopeful, humane, and bruisingly perceptive fable about the chains we build, and what it takes to break them.”—Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author

This book has sharp, beautiful teeth—some of us will find catharsis in the bite, and some of us may come out bloody and ashamed, but The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain demands honesty, most of all with ourselves. No matter who you are, you'll find a lesson here—not a cautionary tale about how we “should” or “should not” live, but the hopeful possibility of how we could live. One day. Maybe.”—C. L. Clark

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