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Coyote Mass Market Paperback – November 25, 2003

3.3 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Coyote Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At first, this novel from Hugo winner Steele looks like a fairly conventional tale of high-tech intrigue-in this case, rebels against a right-wing American dictatorship plot to steal the prototype interstellar spaceship built to immortalize the government's ideology by planting a colony of fanatics on another star's planet. However, once the freedom seekers arrive on the new world, Coyote, things get a lot more interesting. Coyote is habitable but alien, full of flora and fauna that upset the colonists' easy preconceptions. The young people, in particular, have to find their identities in a dangerous but wonderful environment; their discovery of what they can do individually as well as what they owe to the group nicely illustrates the name the starship's captain, R.E. Lee, has given their settlement: Liberty. That Steele's novel has been stitched together out of a series of short stories has advantages and disadvantages. The jumping around can be repetitious, but it also lets readers see the same events from different angles. By the same token, the narrative doesn't stay with individual characters, especially adults, long enough for the reader to get to know them, but it does give a panorama of the developing community. By the end, when an especially big challenge appears, the colonists are ready to face it confidently. The discovery of a new world is one of SF's most potent themes, and Steele handles it well.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Steele's latest space-advocacy yarn begins late in this century and ends two centuries further on, on the distant planet Coyote. In between comes a fast-moving, vividly detailed, somewhat didactic story of gallant misfits, led by a spaceship captain named Robert E. Lee, fleeing an Earth that has lost its chances because of dictatorship and technophobia. The refugee ship Alabama is a character in its own right, as is Captain Lee, despite his name. Steele cobbles together hardware, people, and the perils of Coyote into a well-balanced whole, with not all the good guys surviving the perils and with most of the not-so-good guys developed into believable people. Reckon this Steele's most ambitious novel yet, in which he attains the level of Heinlein and Poul Anderson in that, howsoever much he preaches, he still gives us a cracking good story that even readers not of the true space-exploration faith will enjoy. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Coyote (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; First Edition edition (November 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441011160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441011162
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Russell Clothier on November 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a sucker for stories about the colonization of new worlds, so Coyote was right up my alley. Making the arduous journey, exploring the planet, surviving against the odds - it's familiar territory, but it's still good stuff. Steele is a competent writer, with smooth prose and an ear for dialogue. He has some interesting ideas, as well. All in all, it made for an enjoyable read.

But not an altogether satisfying one. Steele sets the stage nicely, but he doesn't take his ideas far enough. Both the world and the story seem... undercooked. We are constantly reminded that "Coyote is not Earth," but the differences are basically superficial: the trees and birds look different, the seasons are longer, and so on. There is only one dangerous native species, and after one encounter, they learn how to keep it at bay. With a blank canvas to play with, Steele paints Coyote as too safe and familiar; it's as if the settlers landed in Australia rather than an alien planet. I expected more.

The same incompleteness applies to the colonists and their story. The group has their inevitable conflicts and setbacks, but those too are relatively tame. The social dividing lines are clear, but the expected power struggle fizzles out harmlessly. You never genuinely fear for the well-being of the colony.

Bottom line, I enjoyed Coyote enough to order the sequel. However, I can't help feeling that if Steele had just taken it a bit farther, made the world more exotic, developed the characters, heightened the tension, that this could have been a great story rather than a decent one.
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Format: Hardcover
Coyote (2002) is the first novel in this series. Except for a minor quibble or two, I found this story a pleasure to read.

Allen Steele has previously used themes similar to the near space frontier works of Arthur C. Clarke. Coyote, however, echoes several themes in Robert A. Heinlein's works, including the Second American Revolution and the theft of a starship by political refugees.

The title says Coyote is a novel of interstellar exploration, but it is really a story of a great trek across 46 light years to settle a planet -- OK, a satellite -- in another solar system. Much of the novel concerns the trials and tribulations of two adolescents: Wendy and Carlos. In this sense, Coyote is a coming of age story much like Heinlein's juveniles.

The story starts with the theft of the United Republic Service Ship Alabama by some of its crew and a group of "dissident intellectuals" fired from the Federation Space Agency. Since the ship can cruise at only .2c -- 2/10ths of light speed -- the trip will take 230 years earth time.

After the escape, one crew member -- Comtech Leslie Gillis -- is awakened from biostasis and is not allowed by the ship's AI to return to this preserving state. Gillis spends the next 32 years as the only awakened person on the Alabama. Sometimes sane and other times mad, Gillis leaves behind some mural paintings, an epic novel and a mysterious note.

Upon reaching Coyote, the crew and passengers are awakened from biostasis, encounter the mural and novel (and note), and are much puzzled.

Coyote is habitable, of course, yet greatly different from Earth. The colonist find much strangeness and danger, but are able to adapt.
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It appears the author wrote several short stories and just threw them together as a novel. The main story is based on a group stealing a star ship from a totalitarian regime - interesting premise with loads of potential. Instead, the first third of the book was so boring that I wouldn't have gotten through it if I hadn't bought the whole series when I bought this first book. The main character switches back and forth, initially it is the captain, then a passenger who awakens during cyro and spends 30 years awake by himself, then a group of teenagers, with a few rabbit trails led by others along the way.

It just isn't a coherent book. For instance, the passenger who awakes during the cyro sleep spends his 30 years writing a novel. I thought, ok, he's going to be a prophetic type figure who gives them some warning about what their life will be like on Coyote. Other than naming one of the native species, that whole section of the book had no bearing on the rest of the book.

Likewise, when one of the teens takes off on his own (considering adults weren't safe travelling in groups, the odds of a teen surviving on his own seems remote) he runs across a sentient life form. I thought that the author was going to get into some kind of interspecies relations, but outside of stealing a few pieces of equipment the natives had no further involvement in the story.

The book ends with a major, unresolved conflict, obviously setting you up to buy the next book. I've gotten through about a quarter of the next book and it doesn't deal with the conflict, it is based on new colonists to Coyote and a cult leader.

There is some potential to the book, but very little is followed up on.
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