The story was about a woman living on some huge artificial structure (implied to be some kind of ringworld) who is part of a religion dedicated to guiding the mirrors that focus sunlight onto the structure and bring about day and night. The protagonist, as part of her initiation, is blinded (because her duty requires staring into the sun), but the blinding is not totally successful and she retains some of her vision. She is punished for letting the mirror get a few degrees out of perfect alignment, and for becoming friends with a woman from another religion. At the end of the story, people decide they like the mirror the way it is sometimes, and the protagonist had by accident invented autumn.

I think I must have the name slightly wrong, so google can't find it, but searching "of the fall" is too vague for google to pick up on. I don't remember the author, though I vaguely remember this story was connected to some other stories written by the same author. I remember the plot pretty well, so let me know if you need more clarification. (The background of the story was that it took place decades after some major religious war)

  • 2
    Google is not your best friend if you know some or part of the title. You'd do much better to go to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database and do a partial title search. In this case, I searched for "of the fall" and simply scrolled down.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


Probably Isabel of the Fall by Ian R. MacLeod, which you can read online here

In some versions of this tale, Isabel is said to have fallen towards Sabil, and thus to have gained her name. In others, she is called simply Isabel of the Autumn and her final climb beyond the sky remains unmentioned. In some, she is tragically beautiful, or beautifully ugly. The real truth remains lost, amid much else about her. But in the Dawn Church itself Isabel of the Fall is still revered, and amid of its many mysteries it is said that one of Ghezirah’s great internal reflectors still bears the imprint of her vaporised silhouette, which is the only blemish on all of its mirrors which the Church allows.

  • That's it! But really, my problem was picked the wrong spelling of "Isabel"? Google is completely useless.
    – Max
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 18:56
  • 1
    Why bother with the evil Google? An ISFDB search brings up a list of four short stories with titles ending in "of the fall" including your Isabel.
    – user14111
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 19:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.