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Leaping To The Stars: Book Three in the Starsiders Trilogy Hardcover – March 6, 2002
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This satisfying conclusion to David Gerrold's Dingillian series continues the story of 13-year-old Charles, his idiosyncratic family, and the artificial intelligence HARLIE as they seek a new home in the stars. Before Charles can even board the ship for his new colony world, he finds himself again swept up in adventure and political turmoil. With the voyage finally underway, the focus turns to social conflict as Charles must find answers to disturbing questions about HARLIE--and himself--while a faction of passengers disrupts the voyage with potentially fatal consequences for everyone on board.
This is a young adult novel that older adults will also find appealing. Charles is an engaging and sympathetic adolescent science fiction hero--smart, prickly, wrestling with hard lessons in adult responsibility. Readers new to the series should be patient: backstory is revealed gradually, so as not to interrupt the smooth mix of action and the scientific, philosophical, and religious questions that propel this thoughtful coming-of-age story. --Roz Genessee
From Publishers Weekly
Fans of Heinlein's trademark blend of space-bound high adventure and serious political philosophy will feel right at home in the third and final book of Gerrold's series (Jumping Off the Planet; Bouncing Off the Moon) detailing the adventures of 13-year-old Charles "Chigger" Dingillian and his family as they seek a place to call home. On the moon, Charles's HARLIE unit, an advanced artificial intelligence device packed into the body of a monkey, is coveted by Lunar Authority as well as by the revolutionaries who seek to overthrow it. The only option left for escaping these forces is to sign on as colonists bound for Outbeyond, Earth's most distant colony, where the only surety is a life of backbreaking labor but also the chance to finally be free. Once the colony ship Cascade has set off, however, nothing goes smoothly. The colonists, particularly Charles's divorced parents and two brothers, face pressure from Revelationists, a fundamentalist group traveling aboard the Cascade to their own colony on the way to Outbeyond. The Revelationists believe HARLIE is evil and must be destroyed, along with those who possess it and the Dingillians are at the top of the list. If that isn't enough, Charles has his own growing uncertainty about HARLIE's motives. Those new to the series will find the opening tough to follow, but through his engaging adolescent narrator, Gerrold gradually provides enough backstory to clarify without slowing down the action. The appeal to YA readers is obvious, but plenty of adults are also sure to enjoy this thoughtful adventure. (Mar. 15)"The Trouble with Tribbles."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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The story begins on a grossly overpopulated, drowning-in-credit earth, where every problem of adolescence is magnified by the all-over difficulties. It continues to the moon, which has its own society and economy and which is easily accessible via the “elevator.” There’s science (or pseudo science; I don’t think there’s anything real in those gravity lenses) and philosophy and interesting characters and coming of age... (Y’know, in some ways it’s better than Heinlein.) I hated for it to end.
David Gerrold has written other books, including a very amusing (yes, amusing!) chronicle of some terrifying monsters called chtorr. But among aficionados he is best know for having written “The Trouble With Tribbles” for Star Trek: The Original Series.
The colonists have their own intramural conflicts. One colony is a conservative religious retreat, and the colonists bound to be dropped off there view the more secular communities bound for other worlds with suspicion.
As always, Gerrold explores science and technologies that don't yet exist with a firm and credible eye and impeccable research, and explains them to us in language that is clear and concise, easily understood by teenaged readers.
As with the first two parts of Gerrold's "Dingilliad" -- all three books are collected in "The Far Side of the Sky: Jumping off the Planet ; Bouncing off the Moon ; Leaping to the Stars" -- this novel comes to a satisfying conclusion, while still being open to future installments. I, for one, hope Gerrold will continue this story in future novels.
However, the trip across the stars turns dangerous because everyone seems to want Chigger's HARLIE unit, an artificial intelligence device placed inside a monkey. The government, revolutionaries, and revelationists want HARLIE for different reasons. The government believes the device is so superior it will enable them to strengthen their positions of power. The revolutionaries want the unit so they can overthrow the government and take over the positions of power. However, the greatest known peril to the Dingillian brood comes from the revelationists who consider HARLIE as evil and his owners as devils needing eradication. Then there is HARLIE growing in intelligence to the point that even Chigger fears where the AI gadget is going.
LEAPING TO THE STARS is a fantastic concluding tale to David Gerrold's wonderful trilogy starring Chigger and his family. The story line is faster than space travel and will hook fans of the two previous novels from the very first meeting between the Dingillians and Commander Boynton leader of the ship taking them to the Outbeyond. New readers either should try the first two books before this novel or stay patient while Chigger methodically fills in the gaps from events previously told. Science fiction fans will jump, bounce, and leap to the stars with the Dingillian clan trilogy.
If you are a parent thinking about these books for your child, note that there is a homosexual relationship in the series. I don't find this a problem, but you might.