- Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (April 1, 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671559524
- ISBN-13: 978-0671559526
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,404,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Five-Twelfths of Heaven Paperback – April 1, 1985
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Top Customer Reviews
The universe of Five-Twelfths is a fairly standard one in some ways. The Hegemon, a widening empire of many planets, is a tightly-controlled, autocratic society that places extreme limits on women; women must be veiled at all times, aren't allowed to own property or take legal actions, etc. However, the fantasy element comes in with the elements of star travel, which are much like magic, and especially the magi, who are able to use spells to control both Purgatory (the celestial, partially supermaterial state attainable by material creatures) and Hell (the submaterial state). The blending of the typical SF and unusual fantasy elements make this world a unique and complete creation, interesting in its own right.
The plot is also fairly good. Five-Twelfths is the story of Silence, a woman in the very male-restricted profession of pilot. Caught up in circumstances beyond her control, she makes an unusual alliance, finds herself pitted against the Hegemony, and discovers that she has powers in excess of anything anyone expected.
All in all, a satisfying read and much more interesting than is usual in science fantasy blends. Scott makes the most of her talents in this book - pity it's out of print, but many libraries will have a copy.
(NB: Five-Twelfths of Heaven is the first in a trilogy - the sequels are Silence in Solitude and The Empress of Earth - that should definitely be read in order.)
The act of space travel is explored here in a way that is rarely seen in sci-fi. Most franchises tend to just have a captain say "Bring me that horizon" and the ship goes. This novel makes it a more mechanical process, like the ancient mariners checking their sextants and gauging the winds before setting sail.
Parts of the story involving the ship, cargo, the crew, pirates, etc, reminded me of Firefly, but this novel was written fifteen years before the pilot of that show aired. So technically Firefly is reminiscent of THIS, but the entire book is a beautifully-formed creature all of its own.
Very glad this trilogy is being released in Kindle editions. It deserves a place among the pantheon of great speculative fiction.
Silence is a unique individual. A female star pilot, she lives in a very backward (and familiar-sounding) culture that does not treat women as equals. In spite of that, she perseveres and embarks on amazing adventure.
The idea of starships being powered by magic/alchemy was new at the time (1985), and marked a departure from the standard formula for space opera. Read this book, and the rest of the series. You won't be disappointed,
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Synopsis:The Magi had mastered the new physics and harnessed the newly discovered power of elemental harmonies – Alchemy. Read morePublished 14 months ago by empress8411
This was a re-read on my part, but after almost thirty years a lot of it read like new. I enjoyed it then and enjoyed it again but it certainly isn't Moby DickPublished 22 months ago by Bruce 22
I have alway loved this triolgy and was very pleaed to find the ebooks book 1 on audio.Published 23 months ago by Peggy Preiss
Found this book by pure accident and am ecstatic! The writing's crisp and the characters are well fleshed. I'm downloading the second book immediately... Even though it's 5am.Published on April 3, 2014 by LucMee
I ran across this wonderful book by Melissa Scott as a Science Fiction Book Club omnibus of the trilogy many, many years ago. Read morePublished on January 13, 2013 by Lisa Gonzales
I have loved this book for more than twenty years, and I'm excited to see it available in ebook format. Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by Jo Wyrick
The author has a very vivid imagination as to the way to power a starship. She also has created a very interesting set of characters for her trilogy.Published on September 6, 2012 by Jay W. Bouldin
I was delighted to see a Kindle version of Five-Twelfths of Heaven since I have been nursing a tattered paperback for years. Read morePublished on August 10, 2012 by C. Conly