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Spinneret [Kindle Edition]

Timothy Zahn
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A newly colonized planet holds many secrets in its seemingly barren depths. But will it lead to humanity’s salvation, or its destruction?

Chasing a new frontier, humankind sends a manned starship into the universe and away from the overpopulated Earth in hopes of finding a new planet to colonize. But every Earthlike world they discover is already inhabited. As it turns out, the universe is a very crowded place. An alien council offers to lease the one remaining uninhabited world: Astra, a bleak and barren but serviceable planet. The new settlement, though, quickly experiences serious problems, from dying crops to the mysterious disappearance of anything and everything that is made of metal. And then Astra reveals a secret neither the aliens nor the human governments could ever have imagined.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The vision of an enlightened technocracy in this novel typifies the attitudes that have won both fans and detractors for Analog magazine, where this and many of Zahn's other works have appeared. If that vision seems a throwback to another era, with it comes a welcome hardheaded sense of story construction. As a very late entry in the universe of spacefaring civilizations, humankind must settle for the leavings of the older races. But the seemingly worthless and metal-free planet of Astra has a surprise that makes it the envy and target of better equippedand better-armed aliens. This is millenia-old machinery that forges metal of unknown elements. If this narrative is overshadowed by more substantial books on the theme of exploring and deciphering ancient alien artifacts, it is nonetheless a light, brisk and entertaining yarn. Paperback rights to Baen. December
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“Brisk and entertaining.” —Publishers Weekly

“Brings together exploration for new stars, racial tensions, Third World activism and a group of vanished aliens with a high-tech twist.” —United Press International

Product Details

  • File Size: 4062 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (October 16, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0094ANU18
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,624 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
"An Earth-type world complete with water and a breathable atmosphere and no metals? That's absurd!"
I was reading another book, but I got so tired of the issues I had with that book, I had to take a break. Plus, I got to meet Timothy Zahn on January 8th, so I was pumped to finish reading my almost complete collection of Timothy Zahn published works!
Humankind (to be politically correct) has finally developed the capacity to travel faster than light. They set upon to leave an overpopulated, overmined Earth (in typical fashion for scifi books written in this era) only to find that the rest of the galaxy is populated by superior aliens. The only world left is Astra, a world strangely without any trace metals. The United Nations decide that the Americans should spearhead the colonization. The Americans in turn assign Colonel Llyod Meredith to oversee Astra's development...and to deal with disputes between the colonists (led by Cristobal Perez) and the military. But things get strange when the planet seems to suck away all metal and produce a six centimeter in diameter cable. Now, all the surrounding aliens want a piece, Astra is a hotspot in the conflict between the United Nations and the United States, and Meredith might lose his tenuous hold on the citizens of Astra.

I Like:
Timothy Zahn is my absolute favorite writer for many reasons. This book showcases one of the biggest reasons: his ability to combine a cool, interesting story with enough realism to make you feel like you are there.
The story of Spinneret is slightly different than most scifi I've read. Space has already been colonized until the only planet left is the dud, the one no one wants.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, Creative, and a great read! January 31, 2002
By JJinStl
Spinneret is a great read. If you are bored with the similarities of many SciFi plots, find this book! (I say *find* because it is currently out of print, try Amazon Used book section, Zshops, or online auctions, or the library). Zahn takes a totally ridiculous idea and creates a masterpiece. The premise of the story is that man finally makes it out of the solar system in hopes of colonization, only to find out that we are latecomers to the game. All the worlds in our reach have already been divided up between several species. The United Nation's is able to trade for a planet regarded as useless (no natural resources to speak of and crops can not be grown) and the USA (being the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nation) will bear most of the financial burden and administrative responsibilities. This situation is palatable as long as the colony is a money pit. The US Colonel in charge of the colony has orders to do whatever necessary to make the colony self-sufficient as soon as possible. This proves to be a daunting task, as the workers (many from third world countries) are being rallied by a charismatic anti-American and refuse to work until their demands are met. Amid the turmoil, scientists begin to analyze an enigma threatening the lives of all colonists. The crops won't grow. And to make matters worse, everything made of metal seems to be disappearing. Finding the answer to these problems eventually leads to an amazing discovery that makes this new colony one of the most valuable commodities in the known universe; hidden technology from the original inhabitants. Soon all aliens are fighting to be our best friend and suddenly the UN wants to run the show -- and politics reigns supreme! Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still an entertaining read. December 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
It is great seeing so many older science fiction being republished for a new generation of readers. Liz Hand and Timothy Zahn have had a good chunk of their back catalogs treated to a redesign.

Mr Zahn managed a great trick in this stand-alone novel. It has science in it that is interesting and you want to know about. As I said a great trick. I have always enjoyed eproperf science in my science fiction, and this has enough to propel the story along without drowning it.

This book was originally published in the mid 80s I would guess, as some of the elements of the book have dated. That does not drag the read down at all for me though. It is still interesting to see where we thought we were going to be in the efuturef.

So a bit about the bookfs plot: The galaxy is colonised by aliens of all shapes and sizes. All except for one. Why is that? Simple, it has no metals within it. How does a planet have no metals?

That is the crux of the book really. What would do this to a planet and why? The question is answered by the end of the book in a great fashion, which I take is characteristic of Zahn. Entertaining quick read, that hits the mark.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spinneret November 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Colonel Meredith is given the thankless task of managing Earth's only colony among the stars. In Spinneret we are introduced to a universe in which all the available real estate has been claimed by other species. The only planet that is available is a place called Astra that no one wants because it has no available metals. Even the trace metals needed for plant growth are missing. The other races out in the galaxy are willing to allow Earth to settle Astra.

Meredith tries to balance the political divisions of the colony with the need to maintain sufficient control to survive. That Astra is the subject of power games back on Earth just makes his job that much harder. When they discover an astonishing secret it sets off repercussions throughout Earth and the alien races that surround them. It may save the colony, or it might just doom it.

Timothy Zahn does his customary work of creating fascinating universes and populating with believable aliens. His characters are well drawn and the issues that they address on Astra are timely. Never does Zahn allow his discussion of the nature of immigration or racism get in the way of the story.

I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and would highly recommend it to any who enjoy reading well thought out hard science fiction.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good scifi
This story was more like sci-fi I grew up reading than most of the stuff being published these days. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Esther Horn
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
The theme is just too common--even with a minor twist--for the book to be particularly interesting.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun story, great Zahn read
Spinneret held my attention from the first through the last pages. Zahn wraps the story with the right level of character development. Great read.
Published 9 months ago by DP Colorado
5.0 out of 5 stars Zahn is one of the best writers that I have ever read
Zahn is one of the best writers that I have ever read. I have read all of his single books & several of his series.
Published 10 months ago by William Goodman
4.0 out of 5 stars Good study of human politics
Humans find themselves reaching out into space but still held back by petty power politics at home. In this story, the well intentioned among the colonists steer a path between... Read more
Published 10 months ago by MissP
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Different kind of read.
Published 10 months ago by Steve L
4.0 out of 5 stars Old fashion scify
It has been a long time since I read a true scify novel and this was a good one to start with. The plot wasn't original but the author was able to make it enjoyable. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Nolongerteaching
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Slow Start
It took me almost half of the book to find myself fully engaged. I recommend it but just be prepared for the fun stuff not to happen until the second half.
Published 17 months ago by SCL
5.0 out of 5 stars Very intriguing.
I picked this book because of other positive reviews and his books in the Star Wars series, and I wasn't disappointed! Read more
Published 20 months ago by Miranda
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story
This was a fun read with a refreshing slant on the idea of how humans manage to survive in a galaxy full of threats as well as the threats we pose to our own.
Published 21 months ago by SDM
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More About the Author

Timothy Zahn is the Hugo Award-winning author of more than a dozen original science fiction novels and the bestselling Star Wars trilogy Heir to the Empire, among other works. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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