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Five-Twelfths of Heaven Paperback – April 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • 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 (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,513,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Melissa Scott was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she discovered science fiction as the direct result of breaking her arm during junior high gym class. She was banished to the library, and there the assistant librarian suggested she might enjoy "what's his name, Heinlein - or that Andre Norton guy." He was right. She devoured everything available at school, and then discovered the collection created by the Little Rock Public Library's À Son Goût Trust, which had been established to purchase "books people like to read" -- SF, fantasy, and Westerns

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.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
The act of space travel is explored here in a way that is rarely seen in sci-fi.
Geonn W. Cannon
The blending of the typical SF and unusual fantasy elements make this world a unique and complete creation, interesting in its own right.
Ivy
I have loved this book for more than twenty years, and I'm excited to see it available in ebook format.
Jo Wyrick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ivy on September 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Melissa Scott has played with a lot of conventional genres and SF story elements, but her best work pushes some of the boundaries. In Five-Twelfths of Heaven, she creates an unusual - and successful - cross between fantasy and science fiction, as well as continuing her tradition of dealing with gender roles and society.
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.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Katherine M. Meadows on January 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I felt that Scott was trying a little too hard to get Silence and her husbands into deeper and deeper trouble. Almost like they were living Murphy's Law. However, I still enjoyed the book and I really appreciated the way Scott handles Silence being a female pilot in an extremely male-dominated field. Silence does not feel inferior, but she realizes that due to some planets' customs life as a female pilot is more difficult. With reluctance, Silence realizes that she must partner up with two men in order to escape the mess her uncle has left her in. With that said, Silence still shines as the heroine of the book. The ending really leaves you hanging and now I have to find the second book, which is out of print.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Walter M. on October 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Scott has created a most welcome new world in science fiction. Her characters are immediately "real" and able to bring the reader into their thoughts and feelings. There is enough parallel in customs and mores that the reader is able to understand what is happening on even imaginary worlds; and, the science is quite believable, especially since metaphor is a primary means of communicating these scientific principles. I am delighted to find another author of stories in this genre that appeal to the intellect as well as satisfy my need for adventure and communion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Geonn W. Cannon on November 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Melissa Scott has crafted a beautifully unique world with its own rules and castes that are complicated but presented in a masterful way that makes it easy to delve right in. Silence Leigh is an amazing character (and yes, her unique name is commented on and explained in a really great way), as are her crewmates.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LucMee on April 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary A. Kuntz on November 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first book of a trilogy. The other two are _Silence_In_Solitude_ and _Empress_of_Earth_. The main characters are scilence and her two husbands Julian (Julie) Chase Mago and Dennis Balthasar. The technological innovation of this story is that interstellar travel happens by means of music. I enjoyed this trilogy because I identify strongly with Melissa Scott's writing style, but the trilogy has major flaws in its characterization- for example between books one and two the threesome goes from having no physical relationship to having a perfectly comfortable, taken-for-granted one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. I liked the protagonist so much I threatened to name my daughter "Silence" after her. There is so, so much to enjoy in this book and it's two sequels, "Silence on Solitude" and "The Empress of Earth": Fascinating characters, solid world building, a gripping plot, thundering space opera, and a space-faring civilization built on a well-thought-out system of magic-based technology. There's even an off-beat romance and women's lib thrown into the mix. I could go on. Highly recommended.
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