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Starmind Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2001

7 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, May 1, 2001
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This concluding novel in the Stardance trilogy, after Stardance (1977) and Starseed (1992), suffers from a problem common to later volumes in multibook sagas: competing demands between the plot and the series' backstory. The Starmind, a universal overmind engineered by benevolent aliens from telepathically linked human Stardancers, is the Robinsons' response to SF's usual presentation of human futures based on technological, rather than artistic, development. Here, though, the Starmind's final evolution seems too methodical and out of sync with the novel's human focus: the moving drama of 21st-century writer Rhea Paixao and the emotional rift that grows between her and composer husband Rand Porter when he moves the family from her beloved Earth to a luxury hotel in outer space. Subplots concerning an assassination attempt and a conspiracy to liberate humanity from the Starmind's control illustrate the parochial concerns the human race must overcome in order to achieve the apotheosis planned for it. Not surprisingly, the novel features the authors' usual well-drawn characters, but the euphoric optimism of its climax seems unearned and less believable than the concluding pathos of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, to which this trilogy is clearly indebted.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This final book of the Stardance trilogy will best be appreciated by readers of the prior books, which introduce the Starmind which has given humanity the ability to move beyond Earth. Composer Rand finds there's a conspiracy to destroy the Starmind, and finds himself embroiled in a social and political conflict which could ultimately destroy the Earth. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671319892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671319892
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,455,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Spider Robinson on August 1, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I would not have reviewed this book if amazon's robot had not asked me to...but having been asked, I would have to say this is one of the best books I've ever had a hand in writing. Like THE STARDANCERS, its prequel (also co-written with my wife of 30 years, Jeanne), this book qualifies for my highest praise: better than I could have done myself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Bowdoin Van Riper on September 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First things first: If you're just discovering Spider Robinson, or this particular trio of books... this ain't the place to start. BUY it now (lest it go out of print, as Spider's books have an inexplicable and depressing tendancy to do), but put it away until you've read _Stardance_ and _Starseed_.
There, now that's out of the way. On with the review.
This book, especially in the context of the series, is a consistently entertaining, rewarding exploration of the themes that dominate the Robinsons' best work. Little stuff, like (in no particular order): love, sex, creativity, art, transcendence, home, commitment, and so forth. It says something about their abilities as a writing team that all this is unfolded through living, breathing characters that you quickly come to care deeply about . . . and want to find happiness (even if it's not at all clear that they will). Likable, intelligent characters have always been Spider's greatest strength, and this story is no exception. Whether or not the plot "works" for you is almost beside the point. Even if it doesn't, the characters and the ways in which they grow and change make the book worth reading.
This is *not* a trilogy in the conventional SF sense. The three books form distinct segments of a long arc, but they have independent casts (for the most part) with their own strengths and weaknesses. It's one of the delights of _Starmind_ that Rhea is clearly *not* a (literary) clone of Rain M'Cloud or Sharra Drummond, and that Rand is *not* just another Charlie Armstead.
One final note: The Robinsons may live in British Columbia, but in the scenes set in Provincetown, MA this Bay State expatriate could hear the surf, smell the salt, and taste the Portuguese sweet bread again. Craftsmanship even in places where most people won't notice it is a glorious thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The conclusion of the Stardance tril-- uh, series of three self-contained stories. The Zen material Spider and Jeanne explored in the first novel is so rich and mesmerizing that they can be forgiven for returning to it again and again. Starmind offers new insights about many different kinds of freedom -- intellectual, spiritual, physical and artistic. Spider and Jeanne also make a very good case against the world-is-going-to-hell pessimism of our ficton, arguing that real enlightenment, or at least a lightening-up, may be just around the corner. Still, as in Starseed, I was disappointed at how many of the previous plotlines seemed recycled from the original story without further exploration. Go buy it anyway -- reading anything Spider produces is like a NordicTrak for the imagination
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amanda M. Hayes VINE VOICE on November 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was not a bad book. Well-written, with intriguing new characters and a return to the ever-fascinating Stardancers, it made for pleasant reading and gave me a few new things to think about.

Unfortunately, I'm still almost sorry that I read it.

I have to admit that I think the Robinsons would have been better off ending the Stardancer saga with _Starseed_, a story that has all of the virtues of this one with few of the vices. What are those vices, you may wonder? It's difficult to clarify them without spoiling the book, since many are tied into the ending, but I'll do my best.

Very little time is spent on familiar characters. What time is spent is regrettable, given the ultimate fate of those we see again. Certain elements of the plot did not seem resolved by the ending. (Why did all the miracles of nanotechnology happen? I for one was left wondering.) That ending seemed rushed, almost unbelievable, anticlimactic--I have faith enough in the authors to believe that it wasn't really a 'rabbit out of the hat' resolution (the sort in which something is pulled out of thin air to solve the characters' problems almost by magic, and just in time for the last page too), but it seemed very similar to one. And one of the themes I found most fascinating about the prior two Stardancer novels, the theme of choice and the willful surrender of humanity, was abolished here by the forcing of the issue.

In short, _Starmind_ would have made a far, far better book in my opinion if the ending had been different--or at least handled differently. I would still recommend that fans of the prior two books read it if they are curious about the ultimate destiny of their favorite characters; I would not, however, suggest that anyone begin the trilogy with this one.
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