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THE SAILS OF TAU CETI by [McCollum, Michael]
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THE SAILS OF TAU CETI Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Length: 300 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael McCollum is the author of 10 science fiction novels and one book of short stories, with total sales of 250,000 books in bookstores. He is now the proprietor of Sci Fi - Arizona, an Online Science Fiction bookstores and publishing company.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1783 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Sci Fi - Arizona (May 8, 2009)
  • Publication Date: May 8, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00295RO1W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,670 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John A Lee III on August 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Humanity is delighted when it discovers an artifact heading towards Earth from Tau Ceti, especially since that star recently became a nova rather unexpectedly. They are thrilled when they realize that the artifact is a ship carrying refugees. Some are xenophobic but most are eager to get their hands on some first class alien technology. An expedition is dispatched to meet the ship and all goes well...almost too well.

The aliens seem to know a lot about humanity. In fact, their knowledge seems uncanny and even frightening at times as they try to mimic their hosts. One person, though, learns the reason for this. They are not a simple group of refugees. They have much bigger plans and the survival of humanity depends upon treason and deception.

This is a well written and crafted story for most of its extent. The end is a bit draggy but it is worth reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a pleasant surprise this book was! From the beginning I found the plot incredibly intriguing and the writing style engrossing. Less than halfway through the book one is confronted with a moral delimma I hope we never have to face as humans. In fact, it's one of the most unique and difficult choices imaginable. How it's resolved, as this remarkable story unfolds, is fascinating. Needless to say, I loved this book and recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback
I was reluctant to buy a book that had little to no dissenting voices, 4-5 star reviews, including a Top 500 reviewer. Sounded fishy. But...having good cashflow right now I went for it and, to my surprise, it /is/ good.
Others (along with the blurb) have done a good job of explaining the initial plot details, and the core of the mystery. Read their reviews for that.
So how's the novel, you might ask?
The characterisation was realistic, from motivations to personality to discourse. Unlike Robert L. Forward's Rocheworld (which I just read), these characters actualy think and talk in a realistic fashion, and McCollum does nothing silly and amateurish with the way he types, such as exclamation points every other utherance, or capitalized words in someone's speech.
The science exposition is adequately limited for our enjoyment, and what of it there is - to my knowledge - appears accurate, from space radiation exposure, light-sail dynamics, relativistic physics, to orbital mechanics.
The book has minimal esthetic appeal for collectors (low-budget small press), but a relatively good job has been done on editing nonetheless. At least, many other novels make you bleed from the eyes at the number of errors.
Final word: worth the read, but not impressive, hence 1 star less. I can only vouch for the editing and physical appearance of the Sci Fi-Arizona edition, not the older Del Rey one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Just as construction of the earth's first interstellar probe is nearly finished, humanity receives its first visitor from the stars. A light-sail powered craft is coming from the direction of a recent nova, Tau Ceti. Yes, hard-sf fen, Mr. McCollum does explain how Tau Ceti went nova!

When astronomers learn that the alien vessl is a decelerating generation ship, the interstellar probe is refitted for an ambassadorial mission and launched with a crew including Victoria "Tory" Bronson. A co-designer of the probe, she has a rare ability to receive direct input from computers without her becoming disoriented.

Reaching the generation ship, the earth's ambassadors grow sympathetic to its crew, the survivors of the Phelan, because of their courage in making a difficult, hazardous voyage to save a remnant of their species from destruction. The Phelan appear to the ambassadors to be gentle, peaceful, and eager to please, but are hiding a terrible secret.

This, Tory learns to her dismay when the Phelan blackmail her into being their agent. For the sake of humanity's survival, she must convince her people to grant the Phelan a homeland on the earth...

The Sails of Tau Ceti is a well worked-out story that presents the reader a plausible setting and motive for a threatened interstellar war that would be fought at sub-light speeds. The novel invites comparison with Niven and Pournelle's Footfall, though Sails is written on a more modest scale than its predecessor was. Sail's strongest points are its well worked-out setting and conflict and the internal struggle that Tory faces in being required to save humanity by appearing to betray it.

Sail's weakest point is that its writing tends in places to be dry and too technical.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
I'm only a little way in and I love both the premise and science. But in just the first half hour I had to back up no less than 4 times because of of grammar-school-level mispronunciations by the reader - starting with the Title of the Book! Sails of Tau "Seat-us". Where was the Director? Good story but I may not be able to whether this for much longer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unwanted visitors that seem fascinating, then morph into something repulsive. You notice this book really gets you going emotionally. You imagine yourself in the situation this story so well describes and wonder how you would handle it. Very engrossing on many levels. I also think the author did one of the best jobs I have seen fleshing out female characters in the way females really react, and the same for male characters.

The ending is quite satisfactory and needed to reach a climax. Not at all your typical shoot'em up first encounter with first contact of an alien people. Yet set up so you think it will become just that at any moment. Even convinces you of how difficult it might be for any aliens to interface with humans without some sort of unavoidable conflict that will end badly.

I have been a bit amorphous on the details because I don't want to give away too much. It would be a shame to spoil such a finely done piece of writing.
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