Singing the Dogstar Blues
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Singing the Dogstar Blues (Singing the Dogstar Blues)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  630 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Alison Goodman's first novel - in a very special new edition!

Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel, and a student of time travel at the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. This year, for the first time, the Centre has an alien student: Mavkel, from the planet Choria. And Mavkel has chosen Joss, of all people, as his roommate and study partner. Then Mavkel gets sic...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Firebird (first published 1998)
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Jul 21, 2011 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Flannery
Recommended to Tatiana by: Catie
As seen on The Readventurer

Singing the Dogstar Blues is that rare specimen of YA fiction called science fiction. That's right, not dystopia or rather dystopian romance, not sci-fi romance, but real deal sci-fi. There are no love triangles in it, no angst, no moping around boys. Gee, no wonder nobody read it. My library book was bought 6 years and looks as if nobody ever even touched it.

Joss Aaronson is a 1st year student at a time travel school. She is about to be paired up with her permanent T...more
Aug 28, 2011 Flannery rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA sci-fi fans
Recommended to Flannery by: Tatiana and Catie; Picked for TBR Challenge by Olivia (August)
I’m always on the lookout for a fun space-related story. Singing the Dogstar Blues isn’t set in space but there is a very futuristic feel to it and ALIENS so it definitely hit my sweet spot. If you are wondering if this book reads at all like Goodman’s other book Eon, the answer, at least for me, is absolutely not. I enjoyed Eon but the pacing was off and I wasn’t especially attached to any of the characters. That’s not the case here. Joss Aaronson attends a prestigious time-jumping school and h...more
Emily May

For me, this book balances science fiction, humour and interesting characters in a way that grabbed me far more than any Douglas Adams book ever did. To be honest, the author had me at "flappy-eared alien".

Science fiction when it is told well is easily one of my favourite genres, but too much of it turns into some crappy dystopian romance or is written for a male readership... the only sci-fi I can honestly say I've enjoyed in recent years is Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin. But I loved t...more
3 ½ stars

There are a definitely a few parts of this book that I would give a five star rating to. This book is exciting, irreverent, and fun and I practically inhaled it. Unfortunately it’s one of those cases of “okay…yes…yes…YES!…oh. Eh.” The ending leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. It feels really sheared off and over-simplified. In general, I am (especially lately) very weary of every single book being stretched and stretched as far as possible into long series. However, this is one...more
3.5 stars

I had attempted to read this once before but that was back when my reading horizons were fairly narrow and I was the sort of uninformed moron who, when presented with science fiction, automatically thought: “Wait, what if nerd hunters drive by and tranq and tag me?” [1] I only made it through a few pages before putting it aside. Maybe it just wasn’t the right book at the time. Whatever the case, I’m probably still a moron, but hopefully a slightly more open-minded and informed one.

A very charming, light and funny little book.

YA sci-fi (real YA sci-fi, not romance disguised as sci-fi) is still a rare thing to find, and I very much enjoyed this story about time travel, aliens, a DNA mystery and an unlikely friendship. Joss is spunky and rebellious without being annoying, Mavkel a very fascinating and endearing character. I loved how their friendship developed, how the Chorians communicated and how their society worked. The overall tone of the book was light, but not withou...more
Steph Su
It’s been a while since I’ve read a straight-up science-fiction YA novel, and yet SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES proves to be one of the best of its genre. With a great protagonist and a fully realized world, this small book will suck you in so fast you won’t even realize when you’ve lost your heart to it.

Joss is, without a doubt, my kind of girl. A bit jaded, a bit too smart for her own good, she is thoroughly entertaining to read about. Her tongue-in-cheek observations and flagrant disregard for Ce...more
Flappy-eared, double-nosed, telepathic aliens, music, danger, time-travel, friendship in unexpected places, searching for your roots, futuristic futures, Blade-Runner-style bars, gut-wrenching loneliness, highly-original, tongue-in-cheek twists, bluesy sadness, snarky humor. Wow. Just my kind of sci-fi. This my second five-star-read within eight days. I feel so lucky - kind of like overdosed on "Bliss-sticks". Thank you, all you Goodreaders who have been - voluntarily or involuntarily - pushing...more
One of the many great tragedies of the modern age, friends, that there just isn’t a lot of teen sci-fi out there right now. I mean, there are plenty of books that claim to be science-fictiony, but it’s frequently only in the very loosest sense. Like the author decided that they didn’t want to write a paranormal romance, but a contemporary romance would be boring, so BAM let’s add a new and exotic futuristic locale!

And that’s fine, if that’s your thing! But sometimes I just want some straight-up...more
It's a shame that Harry Potter has done wonders for YA fantasy, but that no book has come along to elevate science fiction aimed at the same audience. The back flap of Singing the Dogstar Blues describes it as genre-bending, as if out of obligation, I hope, because there's very little that's bendy about it. This is a story about students--including one alien exchange student--at a school for time travelers. Though the science fiction tropes it adopts seem to come from a myriad of sources that do...more
Don't be put off that this book is a little "old" now (published in the - gasp! - '90's, which in YA makes it practically a dinosaur). This sci fi story for young adults is pure brilliance, and a little time hasn't diminished its relevance.

Joss is a university student studying time travel sometime in the future, when her college roommate is a Chorian (alien) named Mavkel. Mav and Joss are a sort of experiment in human/alien living relations for the university. In Mav's culture, everyone has a tw...more
Thea’s Take:

Joss Aaronson is a misfit and a maverick, and thanks to her famous reporter mother, Joss has been shipped off to more boarding schools than she can count. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Joss is finally part of something that is passionate about. A first-year in the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies, and one of a very select few that will train to travel back in time, Joss is about to embark on an academic journey to study and observe first-hand the birth of s...more
This book was really interesting. It's from the perspective of a girl named Joss, who is 17/18 during the course of the book. Though authorities would view her as a touble maker, she's more of an independant spirit, who seems to get caught...a lot. Enough to get kicked out of 12 schools.

She manages to get into an exclusive program involving time jumping, and gets paired with a Chlorian, in a historical first for the world. It seems Chlorians are born in a...we'll call it twinship, and if one die...more
(Fifth book/sixth text for the readathon.)

I first came across Alison Goodman in the Firebirds Rising anthology, which included a short story by her set in the world of this novel. So, when I wanted some books to cheer me up, this is one of the ones I ordered -- and when I wanted something lighter once it got to god knows what AM during the readathon, this is what I picked up. It was exactly what I wanted: light but still absorbing, a nice change of pace.

I enjoyed the characters and the world, wh...more
Quick, easy read. The secrets don't take too much guesswork, but the most charming part was the loveable, if overly touchy-feely/sneezy (emotionally) alien. I enjoyed Joss, her sass and drinking habits, but I would have liked faster pacing where the end was actually the middle of the story and we could have seen Mav and Joss develop a bit more independently, and then as a team, or more appropriately, a pair.

My biggest issue was that I couldn't visualize Mav at all. I was told what specific body...more
A refreshing story that is actually sci-fi through and through. Although Joss is sometimes irritating as a main character with her blatant disregard for authority and her selfishness, overall she is still likeable since she is loyal and willing to take risks for the people she cares about.

I found the background to the alien race very interesting, and wished that we had more of the meatier science-y world/race building stuff, but even though it was bare bones I didn't find what was given to the...more
Reading this novel was a bit like watching a quirky anime - the world building was a mish mash of different things. I liked Joss' sense of humour and the concept of studying time travel at an Australian university (if it was a real-life option, I'd totally go for it.) I also found Mav to be an endearing character for an alien. I think I wanted to explore Mav and Joss' friendship a bit more because they were so likeable and intriguing with the sci-fi element thrown in.

Random asides: It was a nice...more
I like YA that doesn't read like YA. This was a very moving book. The main character isn't so sassy and jaded that she's lost her ability to experience real emotions. If the bravado isn't properly balanced, you've just got a ball of snark with no heart. Joss has a tremendous amount of heart.

This books' appeal isn't limited to YA readers, although I'd love for my daughters to read it. Proper character-driven, alien-populated scifi is what it is. With a touch of time travel, just a pinch, for fla...more
I really enjoyed this. Excellent scifi grounded in good characters with a fast paced plot that I breezed right through. And, shockingly, there was no romance. Usually that'd be a disappointment for me, but the friendship was enough. With a little bit more development on a few of the relationships I think this would have been five stars for me.
I'm not actually sure why I'm giving this a three instead of a four, except that I'm stingy sometimes, and I have author bias (hence none of Tammy's books getting less than a four, even if they probably deserve it sometimes). Not that I'm biased against Alison Goodman - I really liked Eon and Eona, actually, more than some of my close friends did. But anyway. So it goes. I rate how I want!! Nyah nyah. Maybe it's a 3.5.

That said, I do actually recommend this book. Science fiction YA is rare, and...more
Kate McMurry
Young adult science fiction novel with wonderful characters and world building

Joss Aaronson is almost 18 and about to begin studies in time travel at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies in Melbourne, Australia, circa 2050. She is the child of a sperm donor and a famous, newscaster mother who has had little time for her daughter, whom she sent away to boarding schools starting at age 12. Joss hides a soft heart beneath a cynical, tough, wise-cracking exterior. She tells herself that what's impo...more
Joss Aaronson is a comp-kid. She came straight from the petri-dish, she has a mum named Ingrid--who's a Thinking Man's Lust-beast and also gets rejuved a lot--,and there's a bloke named Porchi--son of a man named Lenny who she saved from a river's cleaning system--who keeps trying to snork her. And then there are Chorians as well, aliens that didn't actually come from Sirius A, who have advanced space-travelling tech and likes things in pairs.

It's a bit confusing, isn't it? Well, Singing the Dog...more
I'm about halfway through.

The nifty stuff:
Scifi/futeristic young adult novel. Aliens and overtones of cyberpunk. That's a fun blend.

-The main character has a bit of a "Salander's cleverness meets Y.T's ingenuity/pith" flavor to her.
Salander being the neurotic, abused hacker from The Girl w/The Dragon Tattoo, Y.T. being Neil Stephenson's smartalecky lone wolf courier from Snow Crash.

Overall this book feels like a mashup of different styles, characters and overtones. There's a little "Fifth Elem...more
Actually 4.5/5 stars.

The blurb:
Joss Aaronson has two loves in her life: Playing the blues and training to jump through time.
Then Mavkel, the first alien student on Earth, selects her to be his time-travel partner and Joss’s life gets a lot more complicated. There’s an assassin on campus, an anti-alien lobby group chanting slogans, and Joss is constantly being tracked by the tight security around her friend.

Life with Mavkel is not all that bad, though. Music loving Joss is fascinated by him and...more
Dark Matter
This review was written by Nalini Haynes for Dark Matter Zine. This and more reviews, interviews etc are on Dark Matter Zine, an online magazine.

Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman is a science fiction comedy thriller YA (young adult) novel set in Melbourne in the future. Joss is a spoilt rich girl rebelling against authority by hanging out in the seedier side of town with Underbelly-type people while studying at an elite time-travel school. Joss shows up...more
I picked up Singing the Dogstar Blues, because I loved Eon and Eona. I was also intrigued by the possibility of time travel like Hourglass. More good literature by an author I enjoy. What is not to love?

I won’t say I was disappointed, because I wasn’t. I just wasn’t enthralled as I had hoped to be. With that being said, I enjoyed Goodman’s character development of Joss and Mavkel. They were real, believable characters whom I wanted to see more of.

Joss, a petri-dish kid (comp), and Mavkel, a Chor...more
This book was amazing - it was truly like nothing else I have ever read. I'm so used to reading the typical YA novel (which involves a pretty heroine falling for a hot vampire/werewolf/ghost/etc, and together they go off on an adventurous journey to save the world/uncover a conspiracy/overthrow a corrupt leader/etc) that this was such a nice refreshment.

I think what I loved most was that this book was not about romance or damsels in distress, it was about true friendship. The heroine, Joss, was...more
Another awesome book by Alison Goodman in which she steals some of my ideas! She even uses a name I used in an online game -- Jorel. (Which people kept thinking meant Superman's dad, though it totally isn't! Do you see a hyphen in there?!)

This is like.. a YA time travel school/first contact story. And like, more awesome than the title would lead me to believe. I don't like music in my fiction, as a general rule, and blues and jazz is about the worst.

The main character's name is Joss, which I onl...more
Laura Martinelli
This is one of many books that I read back in high school and never found them again outside of a library. I can remember details about them, like the plot or a character or three, but couldn’t recall the author’s name or title if I tried. So, cut to when I’m reading Eon, get to the author bio and go “Holy crap, Allison Goodman wrote Singing the Dogstar Blues? I remember that book!” And then I found it in Barnes & Noble and had to pick up a copy.

The reason why I really like this book: Joss....more
Nancy O'Toole
I’m not really a sci-fi fan. Occasionally, I’ll pick up one of those rather depressing dystopian novels like 1984, but I tend to lean away from anything involving little green men. Alison Goodman’s Singing the Dogstar Blues is a bit of a departure for me. I’m somewhat familiar with the author’s work, having read “The Real Thing,” from the anthology, Firebirds Rising, which stars the same cast of characters. Still, what really attracted me to this book was the fact that one of my favorite authors...more
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Alison is the author of EON and EONA, a New York Times Bestselling fantasy duology which has sold into seventeen countries and been translated into ten languages. EON was short-listed for Victorian, NSW, and WA Premier’s Literary awards, and won the 2008 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. It was also listed as an American Library Association Best Young Adult Book (2010), a James Tiptree Jr. Ho...more
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“Don't ask any questions and you won't hear any lies.” 10 likes
“Don't say anything. Just act cool," I whispered.
Mavkel started to shiver.
"Like this?" it asked.
"No, I mean act calm."
Mavkel stopped shivering.”
More quotes…