Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gregory Benford & Larry Niven - Shipstar

Some sort of compulsive behaviour drove me to read Shipstar after I had denounced the first part of the two volume story. Its predecessor, Bowl of Heaven, was clunky and painful to read in places. But Shipstar seemed to have been better edited and planned. The first book left two teams of humans stranded on an enormous spacecraft. The spacecraft is a type of zoo, which has collected species from planets around the galaxy and now heads towards a distant star, also the destination of a space-craft of humans.

The problem is, as this book proceeds apace towards its end, the authors dump good idea after good idea over board. The whole story becomes about find out who built the flying space zoo bowl and why. As the explanation becomes increasingly obvious, readers must be squirming in disbelief. Then gasp audibly as they realise that both authors chose this particular explanation over ones that might be slightly believable. When they've got over that, and they make it to the end, where the authors' postscript offers some sort of scientific justification surly most authors would be wondering what the point was. I'm only grateful that I didn't pay for it. If you like science fiction, please, do not buy this book.

Related Reviews

Niven - Destiny's Road
Niven - Crashlander
Niven - Ringworld's Children
Niven - Ringworld

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