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Star Dragon Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765307588
  • ASIN: B000C4SSTO
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,928,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers hungry for the thought-provoking extrapolation and rigorous technical detail of old-fashioned hard SF are sure to enjoy astronomer Brotherton's first novel. The thinly characterized crew of the Karamojo has been hand-picked to travel 250 light years to SS Cygni, a binary star system, to capture a star dragon, an exotic creature seemingly comprised of stellar plasma and magnetic fields. Despite her "striking" good looks, Capt. Lena Fang is all business, only revealing her "feminine" side in the "timelessly girlish" trappings of her private quarters, and in her dealings with the ship's AI, modeled on a decidedly soft-hearted vision of Hemingway. In contrast, exobiologist Dr. Samuel Fisher and biosystems engineer Axelrod Henderson are both uptight and ruthlessly focused on their work. Fisher's manipulative sexual relationship with Fang threatens the crew's ability to work together, while Henderson secretly plots to release a virus that will impregnate every female on Earth with his offspring. When they eventually reach SS Cygni, the star dragons prove surprisingly sneaky. Brotherton's strength is in the technical rigor of his setting, with truly alien creatures and biomods that can alter the human body into the most exotic of life forms. Readers willing to overlook the less-than-convincing characters will find an amazingly detailed world and a story full of scientific wonder.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A probe launched in the late twenty-first century to the classic dwarf nova system SS Cygni has sent back hours of video, including a few minutes that show a serpentine form not only twisting lazily but also turning in a purposive way suggestive of intelligence. The Biolathe Corporation is sending a spaceship to study the dragonlike form, determine whether it is of natural or artificial origin, and, perhaps, return with a specimen. The round-trip voyage will take about three years of the crew's subjective time; meanwhile, 500 years will have passed on Earth. Eagerly joining the crew of three men and two women, exobiologist Sam Fisher becomes ever more obsessed with what he considers his dragon. Star Dragon is steeped in cosmology, the physics of interstellar travel, exobiology, artificial intelligence (in the form of the ship's brain, which is modeled on Ernest Hemingway), bioscience, and other things. Just as important to the plot are the dynamics and interactions of the very well developed characters, each of whom has personal reasons for making the long journey. Brotherton, author of many scientific articles in refereed journals, has written a dramatic, provocative, utterly convincing hard-science sf novel that includes an ironic twist that fans will love. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

This is one of the better SF novels I've read.
Jeremy B
Reader is unable to get into the characters; the persons' feelings are percolated through actions, which are too immature taken the expertise of each individual.
Jari Aalto
Once embarked on the mission, though, he's much more focused on figuring out how to control a star that shoots at its own planets and their moons.
Clay Kallam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Turner on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There's an endorsement from David Brin on the cover of the book, saying something along the lines of "*this* is science fiction." And I am the kind of guy who really does enjoy reading about ramscoops and ansibles. But I found Brotherton's descriptions of the ship's propulsion and the binary star system to be a bit much to read through.
I like the world he's created, with the abundance of cheap biotech (as will be crammed down your throat in the first three pages), but compared to the richness of the technology, his characters are relatively flat. The story is servicable, but holds no great surprises. A fine book overall, but won't become one of my all-time favorites.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Nelson on March 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This was a simple, old fashioned, and well-told yarn that in style and composition resembles many of the stories I read from authors of the 1950's with its concentration on plot over character development.
I've always preferred action over endless dialogue, and this one struck the right balance for me. I also enjoyed the science that was introduced along the way, and found the creature to be plausible. It reminded me of Neal Asher's creativity in creature creation in his Cormac books, and some of Peter Hamilton's creations too.
For whatever idiosyncratic reasons, I enjoyed it a lot.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Philip J. Herman on September 10, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mike Brotherton's STAR DRAGON is what I always wished for in a scifi story. Like attending a Bucky Fuller lecture with 3D graphics. This story exceeds on every level. The 6 main characters are brilliant, witty, likeable, fully developed, interesting, fantastic, cool etc. The story theme is outlandish, cutting edge, almost beyond our imagining, yet fascinating. The minds and bodies of the characters, the ship, space, the destination, the quest, the science... ALL are described in detail within detail within detail. The action is totally unpredictable yet sensible; the outcome grand and personal and thoughtful all at the same time. I could understand about 5% of the mind-bogglingly difficult physics described by Brotherton constantly throughout this story; but that does not slow the action or the inter-actions in any way. Other writers could learn volumes by dissecting this story and the art of the writer. I proclaim this story a prophetic classic that will not be fully appreciated for many years, and then maybe only by really imaginative physicists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jari Aalto on January 9, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An Earth based Biolathe AI corporation has received a video from long range probe that passed by Dwarf Nova system SS Cygni. The brief low resolution video reveals that something is out there. In this Dwarf cataclysmic variable star system -- composed of white dwarf primary star fueled by bigger red dwarf star -- something is moving within. In those hot burning flames, inside this plasma and magnetic forces, where nothing should be able to survive. Five volunteers are needed to abroad a ship using black hole collapsing technology to reach light speed to this 245 LY (Light Years) destination. Total time of 500 year there and back in earth time.

The books background setting is excellent. Earth has advanced to direction of biotechnology allowing humans to grow almost anything they can imagine. Using bodymods they can alter their appearance, skin color and add new features. There are no robots, but biomass, that is used to grow entities for specific tasks. Like flying air blowfish, mobile biorecyclers, to keep things clean in the ship's ecosystem. We have a little insane crew (who would be sane for the 500 year expedition?): Fang a stunning female captain whose childhood haunts her, Fisher the male exobiologist obsessed to solve the puzzle of this "magnetic Dragon", Henderson the male biosystems engineer who develops neurotic behavior, Devereaux the brilliant and attractive female physical sciences expert and Stearn the ship's jack-of-all-trades who is neuro-game freak. Their goal is to capture a star dragon and bring it back for study.

Hard science fiction readers will be pleased to find enough bread to bite on and brain cells to scrub. The adventure lovers get their excitement to follow how the story and Dragon capture plays out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan Canlon on January 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The author gets high marks for plausible descriptions of interstellar space travel and human biological modifications, but the story is weighed down by a reactionary feminist agenda. The women characters are all uniformly intelligent, brave, and capable. The men are all stupid, brutish, and craven in different ways. The primary functions of the men seem to be giving massages to the women, getting beat up by women in martial arts competitions and mucking up the mission. They are only redeemed when they submit to the ministrations and authority of the female characters. A good story, but it was tough getting through all the sophomoric psychological characterizations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Cotta on December 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Star Dragon is Mike Brotherton's debut in science-fiction, and places him high in the Hard-SciFi ranking. Dr. Brotherton has an ample scientific background in physics and astronomy (he is an associate professor in the department of Physics & Astronomy of the University of Wyoming). His expertise in astrophysics is clearly depicted in this first novel, in which stellar dynamics plays a very important role. Other central themes of the novel are biotechnology and exobiology.

Star Dragon is set in the near future, in the late 26th-Century. It is a world in which biotechnology is omnipresent, and occupies a niche that in most other SF works would be filled by robotics: there are biodevices that act as assistants, "fishes" that deal with environmental waste processing, and even biochairs ("chairbeasts" is the descriptive term used by the author) that are perfectly suited to the preferences of their owners. All these devices are created from biomass when needed, and recycled when no longer useful or when higher priorities arise. Biotechnology also applies to humans, and although not yet to the extent of achieving immortality, life expectancies are counted in centuries. Besides expected feats such as nanomedical bots in the blood, "body modules" are available to change both aesthetic (one of the characters has at the beginning of the novel some small wings behind the ears), and deeper physiological aspects.

The novel begins when Biolathe, a biotechnology company, recruits experts for a mission. A probe launched in late 21th-Century to SS Cygni -at 250 light-years from Earth- has sent video images showing what looks like an alien life form.
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