The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

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The Fifth Season Terms

Comm

Short for “community,” a comm is any official self-contained town or village in the Stillness. Members of the comm have their own use-castes and take the comm’s name as their own last name. “Commless” people… read analysis of Comm

Fifth Season

A Fifth Season is an apocalyptic period or “extended winter” that is usually caused by seismic activity or another drastic change to the environment in the Stillness. Stonelore and most of the cultures of the… read analysis of Fifth Season

Geomest

Geomest is the usual term for a scientist in the Stillness. Because the people of the Stillness focus so much on surviving Fifth Seasons and the movements of the earth, geomests generally focus on fields… read analysis of Geomest

Grits

Grits are orogene children brought to the Fulcrum to be trained, before they have earned their first rings. At this point they are seen as being like grit: small pieces of rock ready to be… read analysis of Grits

Guardian

Guardians are members of a mysterious order said to be founded by Shemshena, the Emperor Anafumeth’s bodyguard who was able to defeat the powerful orogene Misalem. Guardians are assigned to watch over… read analysis of Guardian
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Kirkhusa

Kirkhusas are dog-like creatures that resemble large otters, usually kept as pets or guard animals throughout the Stillness. While they are generally herbivorous and friendly, during a Fifth Season they undergo a change that makes… read analysis of Kirkhusa

Nodes

Nodes are various points spread throughout the Stillness that Fulcrum orogenes have decided are most efficient for stabilizing hot spots and earthquakes across the continent. At each node is a node station, inhabited by an… read analysis of Nodes

Orogeny

Technically, orogeny is the process in which changes are made to the earth’s crust and mantle. In The Fifth Season, these changes are the result of direct action on the part of people called… read analysis of Orogeny

Rogga

Rogga is an offensive term for an orogene. Though it’s generally considered a slur, it’s widely used throughout the Stillness. Some orogenes try to reclaim the word for themselves as a use-caste name, while… read analysis of Rogga

Runny-sack

A runny-sack is a bag containing necessities for surviving an emergency or the beginning of a Fifth Season. Most people in the Stillness keep a runny-sack hidden in their homes, so it’s ready to… read analysis of Runny-sack

Safe

Safe is a drink made from a plant that reacts in response to any foreign substance. The drink is thus traditionally served at diplomatic meetings, as a formal way of signifying that neither party is… read analysis of Safe

Sanze

Sanze was originally a nation and racial group beginning in the Equatorial regions of the Stillness, thousands of years before the events of The Fifth Season. Over the course of several Fifth Seasonsread analysis of Sanze

Sessapinae

Sessapinae are organs that can sense seismic movements, and are located in the brain stem of all human beings living in the Stillness. Sessapinae are larger and more developed in orogenes, and a mysterious… read analysis of Sessapinae

Stone Eaters

Stone eaters are a mysterious race of non-human intelligent beings in The Fifth Season. Little is known about them and few humans have seen them, but they are described as looking like stone carved… read analysis of Stone Eaters

Torus

A torus is essentially a donut-shaped form, which in The Fifth Season is used to describe the area around an orogene when they use their orogeny—the orogene is in the center of the donut, and… read analysis of Torus

Use-caste

Use-castes are ways of dividing people into how useful they will be during a Fifth Season. For example, members of the Resistant use-caste are supposed to be better at surviving famines, Breeders are selected… read analysis of Use-caste