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The Last Starship From Earth

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  189 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Haldane IV and Helix were a part of an ultra-rational society where mathematicians did not write poetry, where mathematicians did not fall in love with poets, and where most specifically, Haldane IV, young mathematician, couldn't possibly marry Helix, the attractive poet of his choice. It was in the best interests of the human race, said the State, that mates be selected f ...more
Published 1972 by Pan Books (London) (first published January 1st 1967)
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Jun 15, 2014 Kay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose to read this book because I was seeking classic science fiction from a time when ideas were more important that character development or even plot development. In this, this book succeeds although it is dated and certainly not forward thinking in many areas. Some ideas are so hurried that it becomes a wild ride by the end where I was left wondering how it even got there. The tale is about a very specialized society where professional fields (and apparently everything else) are highly seg ...more
J.L. Dobias
Nov 25, 2014 J.L. Dobias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SFF lovers
Shelves: book-shelf-09
The Last Starship from Earth (a novel) by John Boyd

Back in the late sixties early seventies I joined the science fiction book club and this was one of many offerings. I still have the 1968 edition they sent me and it's in fair condition. What wasn't so much intact was my recall of the story; so I had to reread it. I was seventeen in 1968 when this was published and I was going to Junior College while just barely becoming eighteen. This book creates for me the feeling of a literary epic. It's wri
Perry Whitford
Set in a future society where citizens are split bewteen professionals and proletarians, and the state is run by a triumvirate of Soc(iologists), Psyc(hologists) and the Church.

A scientist named Fairweather discovered a Simultaneity Formula that made travel to the stars easily possible, yet the spaceships are used to exile those accused of "deviationism" to planet Hell, where Jesus Christ seems is worshipped in an unfamiliar way, the sign of the cross replaced by a mysterious sign of the "crossb
Gabriel C.
Nov 19, 2011 Gabriel C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: garbage, among-others
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Invadozer Misothorax Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat
Ya'd think with a title like this there is a chance that this is all about the wipe out of a fleet of ships going into the far reaches of the galaxy or some crap. No. This is a book on control of the line of humanity to breed a perfect society with eugenics and manipulation. Some great patches in the book reminds me of Brave New World (caste system with numbers and letters), 1984 (virgins for the state, big brother types spying for aberrations) and maybe a little bit of Behold the Man (Jesus? He ...more
Jun 06, 2009 Miriam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miriam by: SF Signal
"Rarely is it given man to know the day or the hour when fate intervenes in his destiny, but, because he had checked his watch just before he saw the girl with the hips, Haldane IV knew the day, the hour, and the minute." Thus begins the forbidden love of a theoretical mathematician and a poet.
David Gerritsen
Jan 24, 2016 David Gerritsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a surprising and bizarre book. I picked it up on a whim in the bookstore and found myself both intrigued and dismayed by the amount of unabashed bravado and sexism on the first page alone. To be clear, the book was written in a different generation for a different set of sensibilities. If you're politically sensitive, this might not be the book for you. If not, however, the book is a quick and interesting read.

What I liked about the book was the way it (view spoiler)
In a society with strict class and career divisions, a poet and a mathematician cross specializations and break laws to fall in love, beginning a strange chain of events. The first line of my review notes reads, "Good my lord, what was that"--and I have no better way to summarize this book. A dystopia-cum-social commentary in line with Fahrenheit 451 or 1984, but plagued with vast inconsistencies of content, worldbuilding, and tone, it's hard to make much of The Last Starship from Earth. It's hu ...more
Michinio Camorelli
This book is a good example of Hollywood-like realization of a possibly interesting sci-fi idea. Many issues resemble it as a being such, but main is primitiveness of everything is this book - dialogues, trains of thought, chess playing, depiction of social relations, knowledge of basic human psychology, trial, science... but the worst is the main twist: (view spoiler) ...more
John Schmidt
Jan 23, 2010 John Schmidt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
This is a fun time travel story showing what the world was like before Judas Iscariot is sent back in time to prevent Jesus of Nazareth from going to war against the Romans.

Judas puts Jesus into his time travel machine before it disappears and thus initiates the historical timeline of our world.

The only reason I do not give this novel five stars is because I've never understood what the protagonist (Judas) was supposed to be doing on Earth during all his long centuries on Earth (he does not age)
Reading Science Fiction written in the past (in this case the late 1960s) creates a situation where what was posited as a story of the near future becomes a story of an alternate history. In this cae the novel is set in a dystopian society in the very near future. In the world of this story, Jesus did not die on the cross, but was killed leading an assault on Rome. He was the Messiah that people expected. The government of John Boyd’s world is a global government run by Christians along “scienti ...more
Michael O'Donnell
Jan 29, 2016 Michael O'Donnell rated it really liked it
In an alternate world, where Jesus was a rebel leader, the Pope is a computer and Hell is a planet orbiting a distant star, the state is controlled by the Church, the sociologists and the psychologists.

Mathematician Haldane IV falls in love with poet Helix, a forbidden pairing in this totalitarian state, where the population is strictly controlled by eugenics. They are discovered and sent for trial, leading them on the path to Hell and an unexpected chance to change society forever.

The first par
Bob Rust
Jun 29, 2016 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Starship From Earth - A complex tale told with baroque vigour, a Dystopia, an Alternate-History story, a Space Opera with Time-Travel components making it impossible to say which of various spaceships actually is the last to leave Earth and in what sense "last" is intended the book is a bravura and knowing traversal of sf protocols. The protagonist sent from a stratified Dystopian Earth to the Prison planet Hell for machiavellian reasons ends up travelling through time making sure Jesus ...more
May 16, 2010 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm rereading this now. It reminds me of Heinlein.
Zeb Kantrowitz
Jul 24, 2014 Zeb Kantrowitz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is considered to be one of the great classics of Science Fiction. It was written in 1968 right in the middle of the last large upheaval in European society. Students were demonstrating in most countries of the “Free World” against bourgeois restraints and in the US against the war in Vietnam. The idea that the world could be united in “Love, Peace and Harmony” didn’t sound that clichéd in those days.
This was his first and still his most famous novel. It starts out on a Dystopian world whic
Apr 05, 2012 Julio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cf
Imposible no relacionarlo con "1984" y "Un Mundo Feliz". Al igual que éstos, la novela describe una sociedad totalmente controlada y totalitaria. Esta, además, está racionalmente optimizada mediante la separación (¿crianza?) de la gente en profesiones estrictamente imposibilitadas de mezclarse, y aún menos con los proletarios inferiores, bajo pena de esterilización y extradición a Infierno, el planeta helado. Los orígenes de esta distopía no se describen, aunque se adivinan ante referencias al H ...more
Brian Clegg
Aug 21, 2013 Brian Clegg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading this book after a long time I am impressed just how well it has stood up. Although it was written in the 1960s it is still fresh and enjoyable. I've recently been introduced to Iain Banks and this is writing to equal Banks for that combination of sophistication with great readability.

I was a little worried by Robert Heinlein's comparison with 1984 and Brave New World on the cover. I can see why he did it - this another book about an all-controlling, totalitarian state - but I thought
Jan 15, 2016 Norman rated it really liked it
A thought-provoking science fiction novel which makes you consider how a fascist regime does not need to be overtly oppressive to control and also how the human spirit conquers
Mar 13, 2016 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine, sci-fi, philo
A book that rushes through to the end, with a quick twist. I enjoyed the voicing of the characters and the building of the world.
Alex Alfaro
Jan 03, 2014 Alex Alfaro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Jesus' death was different and his life changed from the stories we know, how could this have changed the world. Would it be a world worth keeping or is his sacrifice necessary so we can live as free people, of free will without big brother watching and ordering the world? Quick read if you enjoy Orwellian dystopian reads grab and tear through. Nice and enjoyable, very interesting story to entertain.
May 16, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by this book. I would not have brought it based on the cover, but it turned to be a a good book, not what I would call a classic, but enjoyable.

The plot reminded of the TV series Logan's Run in that it was a state controlled society. Its a type of novel that I don't think is written anymore.

At 182 pages I thought it was a little short and rushed, but that may just be a side effect of when it was written.

At the end of the day the further I got into it the more I wanted to read. I
Jul 23, 2009 George rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a struggle to get through. Even though it was overwritten, the first 75 percent of the book did create a sense of anxiety about these two people stepping outside their assigned roles.
Then in the last fourth of the book, the writing changed, the story changed and things went all goofy.
Timothy Boyd
Not a bad older SiFi story. Defiantly a different type of read than modern SiFi books. Recommended
Erik Graff
Jun 16, 2009 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Upchurch wrote this, his first, novel as "John Boyd". If the description is accurate, it sounds very interesting. I recall buying it at a resale shop in the Andersonville neighborhood in Chicago while visiting Mother there, but cannot recall the contents.
Aug 18, 2012 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, but you need to pay attention. The end takes a turn of its own and you need to pay attention to ensure you don't get lost (or don't get lost too badly anyway).
Aug 08, 2009 Charles rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Supposed to be one of a trilogy but I've never read any of the others. It was intersting but not compelling enough to make me seek out more by Boyd.
Jul 22, 2013 Javier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencia-ficción
Realidad alternativa, reminiscencias de "1984", sorpresa final... ¿qué más se puede pedir?
Thom Dunn
"Dedicated to the memory of Henry Tudor VIII" O....K.
Booknerd Fraser
Jan 10, 2010 Booknerd Fraser rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
takes too long to tell an historical joke
Mar 04, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cover author John Boyd. Grade B.
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