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The Ship Who Sang Mass Market Paperback – December 12, 1985

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The Ship Who Sang + The Ship Avenged (Brainship)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (December 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345334310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345334312
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anne McCaffrey was one of the world's leading science-fiction writers, and won both the Hugo and Nebula awards as well as the Margaret A. Edwards' Lifetime Achievement Literary Award. Born and raised in the US, although of Irish extraction, she spent the last years of her life in Ireland, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains. She died in 2011 at the age of eighty-five. She is the creator of the Dragons of Pern series. Her website is www.annemccaffrey.net --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I've read others of McCaffrey's books, but this is by far the best.
I first read this one 20 years ago still a good book with a great idea and was even more thoughtful given when it was released.
Stephen F Brown
Centuries from now, medical practice can prevent or cure most types of physical ailments.
Arthur W. Jordin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on April 6, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This short story collection marks the genesis of the concept of 'brainships' in McCaffrey's Central Worlds universe: infants born so damaged that they cannot survive without life support, but whose minds are sharp and alert. Given a matchless education at Central Lab Schools, they don't strap on prosthetics - some become space stations or city managers. Those with a head for starflight mathematics, like Helva, may become brainships - the 'brain' half of a brain/brawn team, a human mind installed in a spaceship.
See also "Honeymoon" in McCaffrey's _Get Off the Unicorn_ for the tale of one of Helva's missions to Beta Corvi that didn't make it into this book.
"The Ship Who Sang" - Helva is unusual in that she developed her particular hobby while quite young: moving from a passion for Shakespeare, to grand opera, to overcome the technical difficulties in learning to sing. But there's a reason shellpeople don't consider themselves handicapped in any way...
"The Ship Who Mourned" - Helva has just endured the funeral of her beloved brawn partner; only to be expected, given the difference in their lifespans, but that doesn't help the sharp edge of her grief. MedServ's usual lack of sensitivity has sent her straight back out to carry physiotherapist Theoda to treat the survivors of a plague that left the few surviving victims paralyzed. And Helva sees more mourning than her own...
"The Ship Who Killed" - MedServ has assigned Helva a 3-year mission and a new brawn (temporary, but for the duration of the mission) with an unusual twist. Nekkar's entire population has been left sterile by a radiation flare from their star, and Helva and Kira now have Assignment Stork: delivering thousands of embryos to Nekkar from worlds all over known space.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read The Ship Who Sang when it first came out in the late 60s, and have read it a frightening number of times since. As a teenager I was entirely captivated by the wonderfully real Helva, one of the most genuine characters I had ever come across in SF at that time. She got mad, she exulted, she loved, she mourned, while all around her cardboard SF characters were moving in their puppet dance. There are scenes in this book that have stuck in my imagination for 30 years, powerful images of a world sprung from the mind of the author - but I never associate this work with the writer. It is too vibrant in its own right to need any other references. Anne McCaffrey has created, in The Ship Who Sang, an enduring classic of Science Fiction. This is a work with a brilliantly realised idea of a particular future, combined with enough passion to ensure that the characters will outlive all of us. Brava, Ms McCaffrey, and thank you.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gerald J. Ross on May 2, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It never occured to me to write, or even read a 'customer review' of Anne McCaffrey. I've enjoyed her since I was eighteen years old. Simply, She is one of two SF/Fantasy authors I buy in hardback. I'm enjoying reading the thoughts of people just discovering her, and also the controversy!
That said, THE SHIP WHO SANG is marvelous on many levels. Ms. McCaffrey has said that what she does best are love stories and Helva is as heroic yet soft-hearted as anyone could wish. As a silly little escape from the realities of the working world, this book succeeds. As a homage to her father, she overwhelms.
In a purely sci/fi vein, McCaffrey took the concept of cyborgs to a great extreme at a time when artificial heart valves and kidney transplants were in their infancy. The first functional pace maker didn't debut until 1960. The first of the Helva stories that make up this book came out in 1961. THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN didn't appear until twelve years later, when Helva and her peers (shell people) were already the elite of space exploration, single-handed managers of major metropolis's and coordinators of space mining platforms. STAR TREK didn't boldly go here until 1966! While it's not Jules Verne, this ain't too shabby!
I see the Helva stories as perfect to spark high school discussions. McCaffrey's unified galaxy, Central Worlds presaged our current move to a global economy by forty years. Her social consciousness emphasizes the need for the arts in a civilized society and serious issues like euthanasia, drug use and civic responsibility are all major themes. The entire concept of social protestors evolving into 'Dylanists' should set the stage for historical discussions of the Viet Nam Era and extrapolating Shakespearean universality into alien societies should do the same.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The best place to start discovering brain/brawn stories and always a good re-read. Helva's quirks, determination and compassion make her a great protagonist. An enduring classic and the base on which the growing number of brain/brawn stories have been built.
Helva is one of many born with physical birth defects which trap a briliant mind in a useless body. Science has a solution, hook the brain to something beyond the limited body. Hence the creation of "Brain" ships, stations and cities. Combined with a mobile "brawn" partner, these "brains" have abilities far beyond what a "normal" human could achieve. Called "shell-people" because their physical forms are encased, they experience the fear and prejudice of others' ignorance, as well as the full range of their very human emotions. Their special abilities when "hooked into" a space ship or station control don't diminish their very human traits. Helva's adventures, along with the other B&B teams, give everyone something to enjoy and discover.
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More About the Author

Anne McCaffrey, the Hugo Award-winning author of the bestselling Dragonriders of Pern® novels, is one of science fiction's most popular authors. With Elizabeth Ann Scarborough she co-authored Changelings and Maelstrom, Books One and Two of The Twins of Petaybee. McCaffrey lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in County Wicklow, Ireland.

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