- Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (April 1, 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671559524
- ISBN-13: 978-0671559526
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,955,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Five-Twelfths of Heaven Paperback – April 1, 1985
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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More About the Author
Scott studied history at Harvard College, where she was involved with the now-defunct college-sanctioned SF 'zine that spawned the Harvard/Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and was introduced to a new round of SF, particularly media SF -- like Dr. Who -- that had been unavailable in her home town. After graduation, she was admitted to Brandeis University's comparative history program, and also sold her first novel, The Game Beyond, quickly becaming a part-time graduate student and an -- almost -- full-time writer. She earned her PhD from Brandeis with a dissertation titled "The Victory of the Ancients: Tactics, Technology, and the Use of Classical Precedent."
Over the next twenty years, she published eighteen original novels and a handful of short stories, as well as tie-in novels for both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Proud Helios) and Star Trek: Voyager (The Garden). She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1986, and won Lambda Literary Awards in 1994 for Trouble And Her Friends, 1995 for Shadow Man, and again in 2001 for Point of Dreams, the last written with long-time partner and collaborator, the late Lisa A. Barnett. Scott has also been short-listed for the Tiptree Award, and won a Spectrum Award for Shadow Man.
During Barnett's struggle with breast cancer, and for several years after her death in 2006, Scott focused on short fiction. She returned to longer work in the summer of 2009, when good friend and fellow writer Jo Graham invited her to participate in a new project: Legacy, a six-book series of tie-in novels for Stargate: Atlantis, to begin where the fifth season had ended. Scott was immediately hooked by the idea, and she, Graham, and Amy Griswold completed the project in 2013 with the release of Stargate Atlantis: The Inheritors. Scott and Graham also began a new series of adventure novels set in the 1930s, featuring aviation, magic, and secrets hidden in plain sight. The first two novels, Lost Things and Steel Blues, are available as of this writing, and the series will continue as The Order of the Air. Scott and Griswold also teamed up for the original novel Death By Silver, a gay Victorian murder mystery with magic (or fantasy with murder), and will continue the series with A Non-Conforming Death. Scott has also returned to the world of Astreiant for two more books in the Points series (Point of Knives and the forthcoming Fairs' Point) and has more original work on the way.
Scott currently lives in North Carolina, where her living room overlooks a pond filled with alarmingly active and carnivorous turtles.
Top Customer Reviews
The universe of Five-Twelfths is a fairly standard one in some ways. The Hegemon, a widening empire of many planets, is a tightly-controlled, autocratic society that places extreme limits on women; women must be veiled at all times, aren't allowed to own property or take legal actions, etc. However, the fantasy element comes in with the elements of star travel, which are much like magic, and especially the magi, who are able to use spells to control both Purgatory (the celestial, partially supermaterial state attainable by material creatures) and Hell (the submaterial state). The blending of the typical SF and unusual fantasy elements make this world a unique and complete creation, interesting in its own right.
The plot is also fairly good. Five-Twelfths is the story of Silence, a woman in the very male-restricted profession of pilot. Caught up in circumstances beyond her control, she makes an unusual alliance, finds herself pitted against the Hegemony, and discovers that she has powers in excess of anything anyone expected.
All in all, a satisfying read and much more interesting than is usual in science fantasy blends. Scott makes the most of her talents in this book - pity it's out of print, but many libraries will have a copy.
(NB: Five-Twelfths of Heaven is the first in a trilogy - the sequels are Silence in Solitude and The Empress of Earth - that should definitely be read in order.)
The act of space travel is explored here in a way that is rarely seen in sci-fi. Most franchises tend to just have a captain say "Bring me that horizon" and the ship goes. This novel makes it a more mechanical process, like the ancient mariners checking their sextants and gauging the winds before setting sail.
Parts of the story involving the ship, cargo, the crew, pirates, etc, reminded me of Firefly, but this novel was written fifteen years before the pilot of that show aired. So technically Firefly is reminiscent of THIS, but the entire book is a beautifully-formed creature all of its own.
Very glad this trilogy is being released in Kindle editions. It deserves a place among the pantheon of great speculative fiction.
Review: The book took me a while to get into. The plot starts slow, but picks up quickly, and becomes richer and more engaging as the book progresses. Silence Leigh is an interesting character set in an complex world. Most of her world is controlled by a Hegemony, a social system where women are little more than slaves, without rights or power. Into the system comes Silence, who was raised in the Fringe by a grandfather who supported her desire to be a star ship pilot - something unheard of in the Hegemony. In the end, events force her into a marriage of convenience with two men - yes, a triple marriage. The author, Scott, is apparently known for the gender-bending sexuality of her novels. Since this is my first Scott, I can't speak to more of that.
The most interesting part of the Scott's world building is space flight. It took me until nearly the end of the book to figure out the details, but once I did, I find the system fascinating. To fly by music, literally, is creative and intriguing. And then to add it the concept of magus, and their abilities to bend or manipulate reality. It almost has a Star Wars feel - magic and machine, technology and fantasy blended.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read Five Twelfths of Heaven (and the other Roads of Heaven books) as they were published. It is impossible to convey to today's readers how unique refreshing these books were at... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a re-read on my part, but after almost thirty years a lot of it read like new. I enjoyed it then and enjoyed it again but it certainly isn't Moby DickPublished 16 months ago by Bruce 22
I have alway loved this triolgy and was very pleaed to find the ebooks book 1 on audio.Published 17 months ago by Peggy Preiss
Found this book by pure accident and am ecstatic! The writing's crisp and the characters are well fleshed. I'm downloading the second book immediately... Even though it's 5am.Published 22 months ago by LucMee
Now sadly out of print (except for Kindle), I bought this used paperback copy of "Five-twelfths of Heaven" to replace one I have loved to pieces. Read morePublished on September 25, 2013 by LarryB
I have loved this book for more than twenty years, and I'm excited to see it available in ebook format. Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by Jo Wyrick
The author has a very vivid imagination as to the way to power a starship. She also has created a very interesting set of characters for her trilogy.Published on September 6, 2012 by Jay W. Bouldin
I was delighted to see a Kindle version of Five-Twelfths of Heaven since I have been nursing a tattered paperback for years. Read morePublished on August 10, 2012 by C. Conly