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Coyote Mass Market Paperback – November 25, 2003

Book 1 of 3 in the Coyote Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At first, this novel from Hugo winner Steele looks like a fairly conventional tale of high-tech intrigue-in this case, rebels against a right-wing American dictatorship plot to steal the prototype interstellar spaceship built to immortalize the government's ideology by planting a colony of fanatics on another star's planet. However, once the freedom seekers arrive on the new world, Coyote, things get a lot more interesting. Coyote is habitable but alien, full of flora and fauna that upset the colonists' easy preconceptions. The young people, in particular, have to find their identities in a dangerous but wonderful environment; their discovery of what they can do individually as well as what they owe to the group nicely illustrates the name the starship's captain, R.E. Lee, has given their settlement: Liberty. That Steele's novel has been stitched together out of a series of short stories has advantages and disadvantages. The jumping around can be repetitious, but it also lets readers see the same events from different angles. By the same token, the narrative doesn't stay with individual characters, especially adults, long enough for the reader to get to know them, but it does give a panorama of the developing community. By the end, when an especially big challenge appears, the colonists are ready to face it confidently. The discovery of a new world is one of SF's most potent themes, and Steele handles it well.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Steele's latest space-advocacy yarn begins late in this century and ends two centuries further on, on the distant planet Coyote. In between comes a fast-moving, vividly detailed, somewhat didactic story of gallant misfits, led by a spaceship captain named Robert E. Lee, fleeing an Earth that has lost its chances because of dictatorship and technophobia. The refugee ship Alabama is a character in its own right, as is Captain Lee, despite his name. Steele cobbles together hardware, people, and the perils of Coyote into a well-balanced whole, with not all the good guys surviving the perils and with most of the not-so-good guys developed into believable people. Reckon this Steele's most ambitious novel yet, in which he attains the level of Heinlein and Poul Anderson in that, howsoever much he preaches, he still gives us a cracking good story that even readers not of the true space-exploration faith will enjoy. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Coyote (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; First Edition edition (November 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441011160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441011162
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Allen Steele is a science fiction writer with nineteen novels and five collections of short fiction to his credit. His works have been translated worldwide and have received the Hugo, Locus, and Seiun awards, and have been nominated for the Nebula, Sturgeon, and Sidewise Awards. He is also a recipient of the the Robert A. Heinlein Award. His first published story, "Live from the Mars Hotel," was published in 1988, and his first novel, Orbital Decay, was published in 1989. His best-known work is the Coyote series -- Coyote, Coyote Rising, Coyote Frontier, Coyote Horizon, and Coyote Destiny -- and the associative novels set in the same universe: Spindrift, Galaxy Blues, and Hex. A graduate of New England College and the University of Missouri, he is a former journalist, and once spent a brief tenure as a Washington correspondent. He was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and now lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and dogs.

Customer Reviews

The book just didn't seem to know where it wanted to go.
The obvious lack of caring and effort on the part of the author to really develop his scifi concepts really distracted me from the story.
K. Henderson
It's planet's orbit has no inclination to the plane of the system, but it is elliptical, which accounts for seasons on Coyote.
Aline Chambre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on October 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Coyote (2002) is the first novel in this series. Except for a minor quibble or two, I found this story a pleasure to read.

Allen Steele has previously used themes similar to the near space frontier works of Arthur C. Clarke. Coyote, however, echoes several themes in Robert A. Heinlein's works, including the Second American Revolution and the theft of a starship by political refugees.

The title says Coyote is a novel of interstellar exploration, but it is really a story of a great trek across 46 light years to settle a planet -- OK, a satellite -- in another solar system. Much of the novel concerns the trials and tribulations of two adolescents: Wendy and Carlos. In this sense, Coyote is a coming of age story much like Heinlein's juveniles.

The story starts with the theft of the United Republic Service Ship Alabama by some of its crew and a group of "dissident intellectuals" fired from the Federation Space Agency. Since the ship can cruise at only .2c -- 2/10ths of light speed -- the trip will take 230 years earth time.

After the escape, one crew member -- Comtech Leslie Gillis -- is awakened from biostasis and is not allowed by the ship's AI to return to this preserving state. Gillis spends the next 32 years as the only awakened person on the Alabama. Sometimes sane and other times mad, Gillis leaves behind some mural paintings, an epic novel and a mysterious note.

Upon reaching Coyote, the crew and passengers are awakened from biostasis, encounter the mural and novel (and note), and are much puzzled.

Coyote is habitable, of course, yet greatly different from Earth. The colonist find much strangeness and danger, but are able to adapt.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Russell Clothier on November 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a sucker for stories about the colonization of new worlds, so Coyote was right up my alley. Making the arduous journey, exploring the planet, surviving against the odds - it's familiar territory, but it's still good stuff. Steele is a competent writer, with smooth prose and an ear for dialogue. He has some interesting ideas, as well. All in all, it made for an enjoyable read.

But not an altogether satisfying one. Steele sets the stage nicely, but he doesn't take his ideas far enough. Both the world and the story seem... undercooked. We are constantly reminded that "Coyote is not Earth," but the differences are basically superficial: the trees and birds look different, the seasons are longer, and so on. There is only one dangerous native species, and after one encounter, they learn how to keep it at bay. With a blank canvas to play with, Steele paints Coyote as too safe and familiar; it's as if the settlers landed in Australia rather than an alien planet. I expected more.

The same incompleteness applies to the colonists and their story. The group has their inevitable conflicts and setbacks, but those too are relatively tame. The social dividing lines are clear, but the expected power struggle fizzles out harmlessly. You never genuinely fear for the well-being of the colony.

Bottom line, I enjoyed Coyote enough to order the sequel. However, I can't help feeling that if Steele had just taken it a bit farther, made the world more exotic, developed the characters, heightened the tension, that this could have been a great story rather than a decent one.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By ATLLOYD on January 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
#1 Harriet, of course, has beaten everyone to summarize the book, but I think some other criticisms here aren't fair.
I really don't understand the reaction of the previous reviewer to Allen Steele's politics. Yes, a lot of Allen Steele makes me believe he's a pro-union, 1950s, Harry Truman-style Democrat. I doubt Steele and I would agree on much, but his politics are open and clear. He makes a dig at Newt Gingrich and Jesse Helms. So what -- are we Republicans that thin-skinned? I'm not.
Secondly, the idea that this is just "Legacy of Heorot" is silly. Legacy... a brilliant book... was a story about a bad alien with stranging mating habits (something Niven himself mentions in the acknowledgments to Legacy. Coyote is a story about -people- colonizing a new world. If there are similiarities from that, it's only because Steele, like the authors of "Legacy" did his homework.
I would have loved a tad more of Steele's excellent visual descriptions --- the gas giant around which Coyote orbits is mentioned a handful of times, but I never grew tired of the descriptions.
Are his politics distracting to the story? Not at all. Is the story worth reading? Darn tooting! Does this story ring true, does it hang together, is it entertaining? Absolutely.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Sean Butler on September 24, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of science fiction and the wondrous worlds that authors create. This book didn't do that. The basic idea is sending a small band of settlers to another world and starting a colony on a new planet far, far away. A pretty basic plot sci-fi plot to be sure and I looked forward to the action scenes and new creatures.

What this book did was stop all of that sci-fi stuff the second the settlers touched down onto the planet. They started planting crops by hand with rakes and hoes, skinning local animals for new clothing and building canoes to explore their new world. To put it another way, their level of technology all of sudden went back to the 18th century.

This is essentially a historical fiction that takes place on another world. The author makes no effort to address any of this and instead focuses on a bunch of characters that are very illogical and pretty whiny.

If you are looking for a sci-fi book with cool toys and action scenes, stay away. Personally, I'd reclassify this as a western.
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