George R.R. Martin
A longish, predictable, charming but syrupy expansion of the linked stories The Storms of Windhaven (1975) and One-Wing (1980). Windhaven is a low-gravity, metal-deficient world of stormy oceans and scattered islands, where the survivors of a crashed colony starship, needing a swift means of communication between the islands, fashion themselves wings from the imperishable fabric of the starship's solar sails. But as 700 years pass, ownership of the irreplaceable wings becomes hereditary, and the flyers view themselves as separate from, and superior to, the landbound majority. So when fisherman's daughter Maris aspires to become a flyer, she faces scorn and ostracism from the flyer caste; her adoptive father, a former flyer, insists on bestowing his wings upon his patently unskilled and unwilling son. But Maris wins her battle, becoming the first of a new generation of flyers who gain their wings on merit, not ancestry--a group which soon comes into conflict with the resentful traditionalists. So, though now aging, crippled, and wingless, Maris must finish her revolution and guide the flyers (society) through a difficult transition towards maturity. . . . The flyers and their experiences come through vividly enough, but the setting is perfunctory: the authors make no attempt to provide Windhaven with an ecology, and they abandon meteorology in favor of vicious, unpredictable weather. A pleasant, undemanding read, then, without subtlety or surprises.