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The Starry Rift

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  14 reviews
These are the heroes of the Starry Rift, a dark river of night that flows between the arms of our galaxy: A headstrong teenaged runaway who makes first contact with a strange alien race. A young officer on a deep-space salvage mission who discovers an exact double of a woman he thought he'd lost. The crew of an exploration ship who must plead for the human race to avert an ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published May 1st 1986 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1986)
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This is not actually a novel; it's three novellas, connected by setting (sort of -- in the same universe, and same version of humanity's future, but with no characters in common) and by the conceit that the stories are all a sort of well-researched historical fiction that alien students of the future can read to get a sense of the "ambiance" of human history.


The first story, "The Only Neat Thing To Do," was my favorite. It's about a girl whose parents buy her a space coupe for her sixteenth
Three short stories about humans in the rift (empty space) between two arms of a spiral galaxy, stitched together as historic reading assignments for a young alien couple. First a young explorer meets a new species and makes a heroic sacrifice. Second, a space resupply/scavenger saves an old flame three times in two actions (or five times in three actions maybe). Third, and similarly oversimplifying, communication across the rift nearly leads to war with new civilizations.

While I really liked t
There's something about science fiction of a certain age that keeps me coming back to it - a reliable flavor, so to speak, that can be found in all SF books published within this time period. I'm not sure what the time period is, but the phenomenon exists nonetheless.

This book is... solidly 'sci-fi of a certain age' to me. There's not much revolutionary to it, not much that really pushes the boundaries of the genre. The aliens aren't too alien, the human characters not particularly nuanced, the
This is a collection of three novellas set in the same shared future history, with linking narration between them. All three stories describe stories around the edge of a Federation containing both Humans and aliens, at an area of space where stars are rare, and has something of a frontier feel to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book but am struggling to say much about it. Although the technology Tiptree describes has dated, the characters and their interactions and motivations have not and prove
This is very old-fashioned science fiction, which makes it hard for me to read it as anything but a curiosity. It's clearly more about ideas than about constructing a realistic world -- the characters are flat, the exposition is painfully communicated, the pacing is odd. The ideas are interesting (I particularly enjoyed the bits about alien reproduction), but not enough to make me really engage with the stories.

Noted as a specific curiosity: I was several times amused that these future space-far
Michael Bafford
Actually three short-stories loosely connected about the "early" days of human expansion into the galaxy. In one direction the human sphere is stubbed by a vast river void of stars.

Not surprisingly there's still plenty to discover. And individuals can still make a difference.

Surprisingly "hard" Sf from a woman!
(With appologies for my gender stereotyping).

I like Tiptree. Plenty of invention and suspense. SOW and menorable characters - not all of whom are human. And a kick-ass librarian.
Tim Hicks
Nov 10, 2011 Tim Hicks rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all SF readers
A re-read for me too, and it's still as good as ever. Readers, get everything Tiptree wrote; you won't regret it. Sadly, there aren't that many of her books.

I particularly liked the way the third story stayed away from the tired old trope of having one side learn the other's language in eight minutes.
Also its mix of experienced and inexperienced people on both sides, and no Heinlein-style I-can-do-anything heroes.
Diana Welsch
This was really good. It's hard to say which of the three stories was my favorite, but probably the first one. They were all excellent, and truly captured the cold, lonely, exciting feeling of freedom and possibility that being behind the controls of a spaceship must bring - the stories had some wonderful ideas in them, but I'd read it again just for that feeling.
Jo Marie
I love this type of novel, composed of related short stories. The first one especially is such a punch in the gut. Awesome, of course. I enjoyed another Tiptree collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever a little more and felt a little more gobsmacked by it. Five stars, though, because it would make great re-read material.
I hadn't read anything by Tiptree before but definitely want to read more after reading this! I thoroughly enjoyed the equal parts sweeping and intimate nature of her stories, as well as the classical sci-fi tone. Makes me remember that I love great, old fashioned space stories.
This was fun to read, and she stayed very true to the format. All three short stories are presented via a librarian who is helping a young couple do research. There is a certain childishness about this work which is fun. A good light read at any rate.
Zachary Jernigan
OBJECTIVE RATING (my best stab at looking at the book's merits, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it all that much): 4

PERSONAL RATING (how much the book "worked" for me personally): 4
This is a re-read, but I enjoyed revisiting Tiptree's worlds.
Jeremy Adam
I first read this back in the 80s. Loved it then, love it now.
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"James Tiptree, Jr." was born Alice Bradley in Chicago in 1915. Her mother was the writer Mary Hastings Bradley; her father, Herbert, was a lawyer and explorer. Throughout her childhood she travelled with her parents, mostly to Africa, but also to India and Southeast Asia. Her early work was as an artist and art critic. During World War II she enlisted in the Army and became the first American fem ...more
More about James Tiptree Jr....
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever Brightness Falls from the Air Up the Walls of the World Ten Thousand Light-Years From Home Houston, Houston, Do You Read?

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