The Wreck of the River of Stars
The book by Michael Flynn wouldn't automatically make you think of Jane Austen. It's set aboard a former luxury liner the MS The River of Stars that plied the Earth-Mars route on solar sails. But the Farnsworth engine removed the need for sail and the once glorious ship has been turned into a hybrid tramp freighter that retained it MS designation -- Magnetic Sail -- o ...more
I was probably ignoring the obvious (in hindsight) fact that this really isn't my thing in the first place. I love the concept -- so the ship was originally a luxury cruise space ship, but now it's outdated so it's been retrofitted with some sort of ...more
Incidentally, the story is set in the same universe as ...more
The "River of Stars" is a spaceship that carried both passengers and cargo and flew the routes on magnetic sails. She is long past her glory days and her magnetic sails are an outdated technology and she becomes a hybrid retrofitted ship using new engine designs. Though she is now like a magnificent sailing ship that now runs only on diesel engines.
The fact that the title o ...more
This is hard sci-fi, but mostly it's a character study. The author used the Myers-Briggs personality types to create 15 disparate characters and placed them on an interplanetary spaceship - a former luxury cruiser now serving as a cargo freighter.
We observe as they squabble, or make love, or isolate themselves; as they project their own desires and inadequacies onto the motivations of others; as small mistakes and misunderstandings slo ...more
The characters have some depth and colour, but more important are the interactions between the characters. It's a novel about a spaceship but really it's about social conflicts in a small ship alone in big space.
The plot arc moves quite slowly so I found it easy to put down. However, I never wanted to leav ...more
Flynn explores many of the themes of space adventure and flips them on their head: a disaster in space, a rag-tag crewing working to fix it, people acting like heroes. But nothing comes out quite right.
Very moving at the end (just like his other great book, Eifelheim).
The Middle System -- Mars, the Belt, Jupiter space -- has not developed tidily, and the crew is made up of casualties of the great 21st- ...more
It’s worth noting that neither of the two technologies is new (see notes below on superconductivity and the Farnsworth engine.) How Flynn applies and expands on these concepts as a narrative device, is quite origi ...more
Michael Flynn has written the best SF in the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein of the last decade. His major work was the Firestar sequence, a four-book future history. "As Robert A. Heinlein did and all too few have done since, Michael Flynn writes about the near future as if he'd been there and was bringing back reports of what he'd seen," said Harry Turtledove. Now, in this sweeping stand-alone epic of the spaceways, Flynn grows again in stature, with an SF novel worthy of the master himself.
The book was apparently based on ...more
I underestimated Mr. Flynn. This was the first of his books that I'd read, and I soon ...more
It's a great exploration. Some characters are more deeply explored than others, but that's not to the book's detriment. Flynn does more telling than is fashionable, but this gives a window into the th ...more
The characters are all well described and fleshe ...more
This novel wasn't quite as high-rated for me as Eifelheim, IMHO, but has some really good character development; and, despite the apparent spoiler of a title, a compelling story.
I put it on my "sf-tech" shelf, as technology plays an important role in the story. The setting ends up being as much a character as the actual ones - in that respect (and the "sf-tech" element), it remind ...more
What gets me is the amount of foreshadowing. You can see the train coming. This character assumes people will say no to an order if it's beyond them. This other character assumes that he'll only be g ...more
But...the 'ship' happens to be an interplanetary tramp freighter plying the 'seas' between the middle planets of our solar system.
The story could easily have occured in bygone years on a large sailing vessel (the spaceship is in fact a type of sailing vessel). What's important here is not the setting, but the interactions between the ship's crew, a motley collection of rejects and ...more
I read this because I liked Eifel ...more
Michael Francis Flynn (born 1947) is an American statistician and science fiction author. Nearly all of Flynn's work falls under the category of hard science fiction, although his treatment of it can be unusual since he has applied the rigor of hard science fiction to "softe ...more
Good luck, on the other hand, was something one created.”