The Airdancer of Glass, by Catherine Bateson

In an undefined time in the future, society is divided into those who have, and those who have nothing. The privileged ones, the Fatters, live in a domed city where they live in sterile seclusion. Outside, the Tippers live in squalor, scavenging from the dumped refuse of the Fatters, dulling the pain of a meaningless existence with dope and voddy.

Into the Tippers settlement comes Lulianne, an Airdancer. She has left the Circus troupe she used to perform with, fed up with the drinking and sexual advances of the man who was once a father figure. In Tip she befriends Egan, who is also an outsider. He has come to Tip from Clan, a peaceful and secluded place where life is beautiful.

At the same time as the pair find themselves attracted to each other, they are also drawn into the struggle between the Tippers and the Fatters. With a third friend, Amos, a revolutionary who is working for a better life for all, they help to strike a new balance.

The Airdancer of Glass is a novel which challenges in its vision of the future – a future with stark divisions in society and with a landscape almost beyond recognition. Yet at the same time, the novel is about hope, showing how young people lead the way in overcoming injustice and forging a brighter outcome. It is significant that the three teens who bring about change are from three different backgrounds yet manage to find common ground and work together.

This is author Catherine Bateson’s fourth novel for young adults, but her first speculative fiction offering. Teen readers will be intrigued.

Airdancer of Glass, by Catherine Bateson
UQP, 2004