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Second Star (Star Svensdotter, #1)
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Second Star (Star Svensdotter #1)

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  679 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Earth's first space colony is overrun by spacepirates, politicians and saboteurs. One person dedicates her life to keeping her beloved colony safe: Esther "Star" Svensdotter. She's dealt with all kinds of human troublemakers, but the rules change when the colony receives its first contact from aliens.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 1st 1991 by Ace
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I gave this book a shot on the word of an Alaskan friend who's a fan of Stabenow's work - though I think she likes the mysteries, not this stuff. Maybe those are better. I certainly hope so, because this book just wavers back and forth between 'mediocre' and 'terrible', and even for a first novel it strikes me as weak.

The one strength of the novel - despite Stabenow's introduction explaining that she was worried most about getting it wrong - is actually the scientific research that went into it;
Dava Stewart
Nov 29, 2011 Dava Stewart rated it liked it
As usual in a Dana Stabenow story, the characters make the story enjoyable in Second Star. There were a couple of things that bugged me a bit: the characters had to work too hard to explain what things were for and who people are. I hate when characters say things to each other so that the reader knows what's going on that people would never actually say in real life. I would never say to my daughter, "When your dad gets home from working at Push Hard Lumber, where he has worked for eleven ...more
Carolyn F.
Audible Audiobook & Kindle book

Marguerite Gavin did a great job on the book I love sci-fi and if you throw in a romance, it's even better. I'm planning on reading more of this series.
Stabenow builds a very interesting world where this planet has reached its sell by date and off earth stations are being built for colonization. The resources come from the Moon and asteroid belts, the projects are expected to pay back their start up costs with interest, and no one is expecting Utopia, just a place they can safely call home. Where the book falls very short is that there's way too much telling in the first half - literal telling of characters explaining things to each other that ...more
Chris Wolak
Dec 04, 2011 Chris Wolak rated it liked it
I'm not an experienced reader of sci-fi, but I love Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak mystery series so when I stumbled across a free e-copy of Second Star I had to give it a try. You can download it free here: (I just checked today--12/4/2011--and it is still free, as are the first books in Stabenow's two mystery series which I highly recommend.)

Although I'm a great admirer of NASA and think we need to do more with space exploration, reading sci-fi tends to shut
Mar 16, 2012 Deb rated it it was ok
I definitely understand why this first science fiction novel by one of my favorite authors sank without a trace when it was first published. Star Svensdotter is in charge of getting ELLFIVE, an artificial star, ready for the first wave of Terran colonists. Between sabotage by anti-colonist terrorists, political intrigue from rival Terran groups, and a possible invasion from non-Terran life forms, Star has her hands full. I had a hard time keeping the story straight. There was too much technical ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A good adventure story with a couple of minor weaknesses. The basic premise is that mankind has done a rush job of hurrying into space after receiving an apparent SETI message. The building of an L-5 colony, mining endeavors in the asteroid belt, a lunar colony and a Martian outpost all result in a remarkably short time, coinciding with major political turmoil on Earth. What could possibly go wrong? Well, there are the effects of the radically changing world view on religion, philosophy, ...more
Feb 11, 2013 Thom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-series
Plenty of similarities to "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and a few to Star Trek: the Next Generation. Quite a few characters in this book, most of whom are fairly flat. The story was good, if a bit predictable. The science seems pretty accurate, but it's been a while since I read about colonies in space. Overall I enjoyed the story and will read the next one in the series. 3 stars.

Despite the author being a woman of genre fiction, this is not one of the books I am reading for that challenge in 2
Feb 13, 2013 Darlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Darlene by: kindle freebie
Oh my. No plot, no problem? Trying to be Asimov or Heinlein without the machismo? Ancient science? Strong Fem main character seemed only to be impressed with her own mind. Only one character I liked and she came and went somewhere about 70% into the book. I gave an extra point for trying to be a sci-fi. Sorry. Wish I could say more for it. I wanted to be able to share this with my sci-fi friends but nah. Don't bother.
J.L. Dobias
May 01, 2013 J.L. Dobias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction fans fans of Heinlein
Shelves: book-shelf-11
Second Star (Star Svensdotter Book 1) By Dana Stabenow

Perhaps the title of this comes from everyone's favorite quote from Peter Pan by James M. Barrie.
"Second to the right," said Peter, "and then straight on till morning."

And then; perhaps making use of the often added Star. "Second Star to the right, and straight on till morning."

Stronger evidence; is that this quote shows up in the book.

I've always loved Robert A. Heinlein all the way from his juvenile series of space novels to his controversi
Mike Finn
I bought this book because I'm going through withdrawal after having finished the twenty books in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series and because I was curious to see how Dana Stabenow, would handle Science Fiction.

On her website, Dana Stabenow says she wrote "Second Star"

"in response to the Challenger blowing up, a story about a space program that worked. Rage is a great motivator. "
The result is a book, in the tradition of Heinlein and Niven, that is in love with the dream of space exploration
I first tried reading Dana Stabenow's "Second Star" almost two years ago and had to stop at the 20% mark: I just couldn't take it any more. This time around, I forced my way through it. Was it worth it? No, not really. I've got three issues with it. First, there's not much of a plot. It's mostly a lot of things happening one after another with no apparent purpose. When you get to the end, something interesting has happened. But, it doesn't come across as something the characters were aiming for. ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book
Having read all of the books in author Dana Stabenow's 2 Alaska series PLUS her Coast Guard standalones, I decided to take the plunge and check out her science fiction trilogy.

Different. On many levels.

The book (in my case, the audio book version) falls into a convention common to science fiction and fantasy books – the simple acceptance of some aspect(s) of the characters' reality that is not shared by the reader. Sometimes the explanation follows shortly, others it comes eventually, and occasi
Feb 19, 2014 Liberty rated it liked it
I'm trying to get into sci-fi books more and more, and figured since I recognized Dana Stabenow as a mystery writer, I'd give her a try (even though I've never read her mystery novels.) I didn't realize when I began this how old it was (1991), or that it was her first book.

Taking that all into account, I wanted to like this book. In fact, I really enjoyed the characters, although there were so many that I had a hard time keeping track of everyone except about 6 characters. I also felt that the
Gerold Whittaker
Picked this up as a Kindle "Freebie" and expected good things from it - a recognised author after all! A sentence in the "About the Author" chapter of the book immediately had me worried though. I quote: "Her first science fiction novel, Second Star, sank without a trace..."

"Star” Svensdotter’s job is to oversee the construction of Ellfive, a space colony being built in an attempt to "field some kind of force into space to act as a Terran reception committee". Star allows no weapons on Ellfive,
Dec 19, 2012 Daniel rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
Classic SF. Given that I grew up in the days when the Russians (or Soviets) were a driving force, this novel felt familiar. This is basically an alternate future book, where a message from space shows that Aliens are out there and motivates the world to head outwards to greet those aliens on a more equal footing.

Star is basically a construction manager / captain of the still developing L5 community being put together by the Western alliance (US, Japan, Mexico, Canada) on a grand scale (miles lon
Ugh. I picked this up because it was one of the only ebooks available off of a recently circulating list of sci-fi by women. I was in the mood for a book with a fabulously cheesy cover and a gripping, visceral read within (ie Lois McMaster Bujold). Instead I got this soulless, mechanical walkthrough of a space station, with random political asides and a heavy dose of Robert A. Heinlein-nostalgia. Star is not even close to believable- everything is urgent, pounding exposition and data-dumps. She' ...more
Dec 15, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good old fashion, Heinlein'sk science fiction novel. The best way to mentally approach this novel is as an alternate-history science fiction story.

Imagine an event happened in the 80's that jump started our drive into space, where we didn't have the lost 30+ years we have now, but instead drove the world into space to stay, with perminate bases on the Moon, Mars and L5 (where this story is based).

There's conflict, love, fights and loss... with a dash of aliens thrown in too.

If you like
I'm not sure why I even bothered finishing this book, except that it's short and I wanted to see space aliens. There's some good ideas in here-- I love space stations and living in space and exciting space things!-- but there are some real clunkers, too. The romance! Was so terrible. The love interest did SUPER CREEPY THINGS, stalker things, and everybody was just like "lol isn't that cute." WHAT.

I'd try one of the author's other series (she does mysteries, too), but no way am I reading another
Review of audiobook format.

The narration by Marguerite Gavin is spot on, she portrays various characters quite well. The story is a fight, for freedom, growth, acceptance, discovery, a job well done, among many other things. One almost gets the feel of a story about feminism on the side of radical, but it isn't. Dana Stabenow describes this very well via the character of Star, and I appreciate this. Although I am all fine with women having equal opportunity, so on and etc., I despise reading or
Jan 11, 2012 David rated it liked it
I download Kindle eBooks in batches. I interrupted my "Second Star" reading several times,to read better-written creative fiction. "Second Star" bogs down with endless dialogue. I often feel like I have lost my place, thinking, haven't I read this already. Kindle is good about bringing me to the page I last read.

I am just now (Jan 9, 2012) reading Chapter 5, where a social gathering with more of the same dialogue ends, and we get an astronomy lesson about asteroids. Very interesting, but not in
Feb 01, 2016 Deb rated it it was amazing
I am not sure why this book didn't take off when it was first published, but maybe people just weren't ready for it yet. I sure was and am looking forward to reading the other two books in the series. I loved all the references to the Heinlein books that I, like Dana, read growing up. I love the strong female characters and the society she has created on the EllFour habitat, reflecting so many of the values that Gene Roddenberry incorporated into his great Star Trek universe. The characters grow ...more
Nicole Cadet
Mar 16, 2012 Nicole Cadet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I got this free, however I liked it enough to contemplate continuing the series. There are some definite weaknesses with the book - the first part plods along like you're part of a tour in a museum, the dialogue annoyed me at times - everyone spoke and thought in obscure quotes, and parts of the story felt rushed while other parts dragged. Despite these things, the story picks up about midway and becomes more interesting.

The science is important to the story and has obviously been thought out,
Elizabeth M
Jan 19, 2016 Elizabeth M rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
This has fun, what if sociological angles. (Now sci-fi snobs call it "world building") Great characters. A lot of telling, but it has stuck in my mind for years.
I was desperately searching for SF by women with female protagonists and found this little paperback with the pages falling out. I sucked it down and then hunted for the sequel. Remember when we had to work to find the rest of an addictive series?
Yes, I know it's Stabenow's first published book and she doesn't crow about this series, bu
Oct 20, 2012 Cindy rated it liked it
The first of a series of three space opera type books that encompasses the life of Star Svensdotter, administrator and developer of the Earth's first orbital habitat. Plagued by continuing interruptions, threats to her life, and Earth's first encounter with alien life, the book weaves a story of the hardships and triumphs of mankind's ability to think and create in new and awesome ways. Though the dialogue is a bit stilted, the story is woven in such a way that you can over look it as you ...more
Nov 27, 2011 Heather rated it liked it
Deserves a 3.5. About as "hard" SF as a Heinlein juvenile. Too much exposition clunkily presented in dialogue. The romance is pointless and could just as easily not have been there. Too much "oh yeah and then back in '96 they cured cancer blah blah". But I liked it. I shall read the next one.

Oh yeah. Forgot about one big annoyance. There's an Irish character who's about as bad a caricature as Mickey Rooney's yellowface performance in "Breakfast at Tiffany's". And sure, one could imagine the char
Jan 04, 2014 Ukgardenfiend rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-125-books
Initially I was reluctant to read this as I so love the Alaskan stories of Dana Stabenow. That said, it was a good read but not as good as the Alaskan series either of them. There was not enough humour and it was limited in its characterisations in comparison. I still don't really feel I know anything at all about Star - certainly not enough to want me to find out more. So, I shan't read the rest... sorry Dana! It is almost as though there should have been a prequel which I missed.
3.5 A bit of an alternate history in which an accelerated space race, the Challenger failure, and corporate interests spurred us rapidly into first steps of colonization. At least for starters anyway, as it developed into something I wasn't expecting. An interesting visit back to her first published book, not nearly as polished as her (Edgar winning) next, yet featuring her trademark strong and quirky characters in a fully imagined world.
Nov 03, 2016 JodiP rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2016 Susan rated it liked it
This was perfect for a Heinlein fan. I would have loved it twenty-five years ago when I read Heinlein over and over. I finally maxed out on high tech stories, however, so Second Star seemed tech heavy to the (too) mature me. I liked Star and her cadre, but one of the best characters is apparently gone for good! I will read the sequel to find out how the rest of them manage on their next endeavor.
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Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage and raised on 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She knew there was a warmer, drier job out there somewhere.
More about Dana Stabenow...

Other Books in the Series

Star Svensdotter (3 books)
  • A Handful Of Stars (Star Svensdotter, # 2)
  • Red Planet Run (Star Svensdotter, #3)

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