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Star Ways by [Anderson, Poul]
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2.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 460 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 69180 KB
  • Print Length: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Electronic & Database Publishing, Inc. (June 7, 2008)
  • Publication Date: June 7, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001AV1RPA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,960,681 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason S. Taylor on April 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Before I read this book I might well have said that it is hardly worth writing serious space opera without proper worldbuilding and it is impossible to do that outside of a Dune sized epic. The former I might still contend. The later no longer. Poul Anderson has, in a compact novella, written a story of first contact, culture clash that is as beautiful as the author so often is, set amid a compelling description of a culture. The Nomads are classic Space Cossacks, fugitives from civilization who have set up on their own inside their starships at the edge of an expanding empire and redeveloped a tribal culture. The author goes to great work making them seem real and developing them the way such a people would develop. They live as traders and mercenaries and adventurers in the back of beyond, each ship a wandering village of it's own like a bedouin encampment. During a traditional meeting their leaders learn of a rumor of mysterious aliens and send one of their number to investigate. On their trip they meet a Terran agent who is on the same mission. They combine forces and set off into the unknown. The nature of the aliens is kept secret until the very end making them mysterious and frightening until we meet them. They remain so after we meet them, but the author is wise enough to delay the meeting long enough to instill foreboding realizing as a good speculative author should, the power of The Unknown.

So much for the good which is indeed good. Now for the bad. This copy is poorly done and frustrating to read. It can be read if the reader is patient and is worth the reading. But the reader must be warned.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Poul Anderson's third novel contains a few glimmers of his later slick storytelling but lacks developed ideas and convincing characters. This is not entirely Anderson's fault, as he points out in the introduction to a later edition, because the original manuscript was heavily edited without the author's knowledge in order to achieve a specific page limit. The end product (tampering and all) is rather dull and forgettable.

Brief Plot Summary

The Nomads are a group of individualistic star traders who are loyal primarily to their ships instead of a planet or empire. The members of each ship are considered gigantic extended families -- the social order reflects this, for example marriage is prohibited within the "family." These tentative social postulations about a solely spacefaring people are fascinating but underdeveloped.

One of the main characters, Trevelyan is a Cordy -- a Union law enforcement/investigative officer. The Union is a massive interstellar organization of planets at heads with the Nomads who refuse to settle on a planet.

Joachim, a captain of a Nomad ship, sets off on an expedition to an area of space where all indications indicate that powerful civilization exists that potentially could threaten the Nomads and the Union.

Trevelyan, an instrument of the Union, sets off for the same reason and meets up with Joachim and his Nomads. The third main character Sean is a young Nomad who against the taboos of his culture has fallen in love with Ilaloa, a native from the planet Rendezvous.

The actual encounter with the alien species is out of the ordinary. Instead of a militaristic all-powerful society they find something quite different, and alluring.
Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
City under the Sea: 3 Stars:
The background to the story is that humanity has set up farms on the continental shelves which are owned by many different corporations; these corporations press-gang people into working for them, since the job is so unpopular.
At the same time, various submarines of the Underwater Sea Force have been disappearing in the Mariana trench, and there are increasing suspicions that perhaps this is caused by an alien intelligences.

The story begins with Major Dodge, of the space force, coming to inspect his inheritance, which is one of these sea farms, which he received when his uncle died.
However, when he is taking a tour from a sea hotel, he is press-ganged into one of these illegal corporations.
When Dodge wakes up, he finds that he has been operated on, and he now has gills, and has to work on the sea farms as a slave.
The rest of the novel deals with Dodge as he tries to escape, and his attempt to create a rebellion among the slaves (the Men-fish), while at the same time the Space Force is looking for Dodge, since they suspect he was kidnapped.
The stories of the attempted rebellion, the search for Dodge, and the disappearing submarines are tied together at the very end, in a mostly satisfying conclusion.

Since this novel takes place under the ocean, with people who do not need special equipment to survive, it definitely has a different flavor than any other science fiction novel that I have read, which is good; however, the basic plot of a man rebelling against an unjust system has been done so many times that the unique and pedestrian sort of cancel each other out, and I only rate it about 3 stars.
Starways: 3 stars:
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