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Stardance (Stardance #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,553 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
A woman of perfect beauty is to big for perfect grace as a ballerina; she will never be more than an understudy. Stardance is the story of one such, one with the body of Venus di Milo and a talent greater than Pavlova's. But if there is an answer, genius will find it; Shara Drummond goes to Space, where her life is devoted to creating a weightless art form that is to Dance ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 1991 by Baen Publishing Enterprises (first published February 1st 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Megan Baxter
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review was initially written in 2012. It is not my birthday!

This is my birthday present to myself - to review one of my favourite books by my all-time favourite author. It is made more poignant by the last shuttle launch yesterday, which made me cry like a baby.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Daniel Splittchinzki
Reading this book, more than any other experience I've had in my life, helped me understand why people hated hippies so much. Every one of the main characters group of friends is a radical free loving zero-g erotic dancer, and everyone in space does pot all the time, and if you can't see that as the inevitable course of mankind fuck you, you're what's wrong with humanity. This was a three hundred page prolonged groan and I can't comprehend why it's so well-received.
J'aime les livres qui parlent du futur des arts. Et celui-ci ne fait pas exception, même si la danse n'est pas vraiment mon expression artistique préférée.
C'est en fait une oeuvre en plusieurs partie.
La première, la plus réussie à mon avis, met en scène une danseuse trop grande, trop pulpeuse, pour la danse sur Terre. Par contre, dans l'espace, sans gravité, elle devient authentiquement divine. Et ses trois représentations en font l'idole d'un monde aux portes de l'espace.
Dans les parties suivan
Christina K
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any future book written in 1977 is not only going to get a few things wrong, but have a very different sensibility. Fortunately, this book is not handicapped by that, because of its focus on dance and music as a way to communicate-- with aliens. When you think about that, it makes sense.

Our narrator is a cameraman and former dancer, contracted to record a series of zero-g dances, who gets pulled into the attempt to talk to the "glowing fireflies" that have shown up just at the edge of Mars by o
In a visionary future of 1979, pot has been legalized, the penny has been abolished, Betamax won, and belt buckle calculators are a thing. Could dancing save mankind and rule its destiny?


p216. [Saturn's] a hellacious big planet—the biggest in the System if you don't call Jupiter a planet...


p227. There is a kind of familiarity beyond déjà vu, a recall greater than total. It comes on like scales falling from your eyes. Say you haven't taken LSD in a long while, but you sincerel
Fantasy Literature
2 stars

Spider & Jeanne Robinson’s Stardance was first published in Analog in 1977 and won both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards for Best Novella. It was up against Vonda N. McIntyre’s Aztecs, John Varley’s In the Hall of the Martian Kings, Gregory Benford’s A Snark in the Night and Keith Laumer’s The Wonderful Secret. In 1978, Analog published a sequel called... Read More:
There is a common practice for science fiction writer to take a very popular short story and expand it into a novel. Stardance is an example of this. The short story is five star quality but when Spider Robinson finishes his expansion, he adds nothing to the original, If anything, the added material subtracts from the experience. Still, it is entertaining although I would say read the short story first then go for the novel if you wish.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF fans
The signal work of this author and his wife.
Kat  Hooper
review coming soon at
Jason Hayes
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written before there was even a space shuttle, this incredibly original Sci-fi tale of love and human connection through dance and aliens is a great, and quick, read if you want something fun.
Leland Gilsen
OK until last sections of the book that deteriorates into pap
Jeff Yoak
I was drawn to Spider Robinson after reading Variable Star. It was remarkable on many levels. The book was written by Spider Robinson after Robert Heinlein's death based on a newly discovered 14 page outline for the story. One remarkable thing about the book was that it was recognizably a great Heinlein novel. Another is that Joel Johnston is one of "Heinlein"'s best characters. The thing is that though a rough outline of the character was no doubt available, most of that had to come from Spider ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Note: I'm actually reading this version: The Stardance Trilogy but I'm adding them separately so I can review them individually.

Stardance is just OK. It's not bad and it's probably more of a 2.5 but I can't give 1/2 stars in my rating. The thing is, this book was written in 1977-79 (first as a short story; later expanded to full novel length) and it reads like it. It's very outdated and really comes from a mentality of 70's "hippies" and that "crunchy granola" culture of the era.

Everyone in the
Erik Graff
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robinson fans, dancers
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I have a friend who reads a lot of science fiction, something I used to do a lot of myself. I keep an eye open for him when I pass used bookstores, yard sales and the like.
I found this book at the sole remaining used bookstore in Chicago's East Rogers Park neighborhood, the Armadillo's Pillow. Having read some of Spider Robinson previously, it seemed a safe bet. Indeed, it being by Robinson was sufficient to get me to look at it personally before handing it off--and this despite the bad cover a
First of all, this novel isn't just based on the short-story by the same name; the first several chapters ARE the short story. If you've read the novella, you'll remember how the story went on for a couple dozen pages, and then the last two pages summed up what happened afterward. The novel goes until the climax of the novella, and then the last three quarters of the book are the "what happened afterward". And then some.

Do I think the novel added anything to the story? No, not really. In my opi
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Robinson is an excellent writer, he does an fantastic job in pulling you into the story (even a story like this one about dancing in zero gravity--why in normal circumstances would I care about that?). He has great clever bits of dialog and does credit to the genre with sci-fi innovation.

I give the book such a low rating because this is the second book by him that I have read which resorts to a cheap, out of character, and unreasoned action by a character in order to throw in an obligatory clima
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Enfin bref, c’est un roman totalement dépaysant que j’ai découvert grâce à la Masse Critique de Babelio. Je ne regrette nullement ma lecture, bien qu’elle m’ait demandé un petit temps d’adaptation et qu’elle exige parfois une concentration accrue afin que son contenu nous soit un minimum accessible. C’est un voyage extraordinaire et tellement original qui nous est proposé, je vous le conseille sincèrement ! Du cynisme, des belles réflexions, un truc épique au final et un travail indéniable de l ...more
May 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-spaceopera
I highly recommend that everyone read old school sci fi from time to time, if only to giggle at how people in the 70s envisioned what society would be like and what technology would be available to us today.

There are moments when this book is fascinating. I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the dance choreography and the elaborate "sets" that could be envisioned in the zero-g environment. In fact, I pretty much enjoyed all the descriptions of life in zero-g. But towards the end it go
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it was first published and I've read it numerous times since then. IMHO, it should be listed with the science fiction classics. It captures the yearning to travel off earth that I felt when I first started reading science fiction.

Don't get me wrong, it has some flaws. It feels as if it is a shorter story with a sequel, which knowing it was first published as a novella explains that impression. I wish Spider wrote more books with his wife. Most of his other books, just don'
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heard
I was thrilled to find this, one of my all-time favorites, available on CD, and what's more, read by Spider Robinson himself.

This one, for me, is a touchstone, a talisman and a promise. It's one of my favorite pie-in-the-sky utopias, and I've read it countless times. Listening to Robinson read it brought a whole new perspective. His timing is impeccable, his jokes are funnier spoken, and I could really hear Charlie speaking through him. Even his goofy accents are endearing.

Highly recommended.
La danse des étoiles est un roman de science-fiction très agréable à lire. Mine de rien, c’est un roman plus profond qu’il n’y parait. Sous couvert de science-fiction et de vie en apesanteur, c’est aussi un roman qui nous parle avec justesse des différences, du fait de ne pas entrer dans le moule mais d’aller au-delà pour vivre ses passions. C’est un roman qui parle aussi d’amour, d’amitié et de liens indestructibles, renforcés par les étoiles.

Chronique complète sur :
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always had a fascination with space and the conditions of it, plus I used to dance and I imagined zero gravity dance and the author talks about how much a challenge even moving in zero g is. I did not know, before I read this book how zero g. can affect a human.

This young woman, Shara---her determination to follow a dream, to dance "because she needed to" inspired me to live again, my unconventional life. Dance does not have fit a box, not even in a zero-g boz.
Kaya Doyle
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like a "not very plausibe but fun to read" science fiction book, this one will be a winner. The larger-than-acceptable dancer's body is compelling and the whole star dance theme apealed to my sense of space theater. The main characters transformation from gruff and cranky to optimistic as graveity pulled on him less and less was food for thought.

I look forward to reading the whole trilogy.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book several times (in fact it is the first SciFi book I ever read) and always find something new in it. It has a little bit of a Robert Heinlein feel to it with Charles philosophizing and social commentary. The way that the authors are able to paint the visuals of the dancing is amazing. I suspect is is Jeanne Robinson's dance background at work.
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this back in my twenties and Spider's books have remained in a spot of honour on my bookshelves ever since. Being 6'5", I could totally relate to Sharra's frustrations even though I am not a dancer. I met Spider and his lovely wife at The HALCON convention many years ago to my great delight. This book has always made me wish that I could travel into space... So far, I keep hoping.
I'd forgotten about this book until it was mentioned in John Darnielle's novel Wolf In White Van. Like the narrator in that, I read it when I was a kid, enjoyed it and I only really remember zero-g dancing. Unlike JD, I also remember the zero-gravity sex (unless that was in the later volumes). I don't know if it holds up, but I loved Spider Robinson when I was younger.
Sep 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, but overreaching in philosophy. Robinson lards on the sex (and sexy women), as usual, though I admit I don't entirely mind. Also, Spider Robinson has only a half grip on what life would be like in zero-G, and his mistakes distract me.
David Silverman
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I first read this in the 70s, and several times since. It's a great human story. It was uplifting, and sad. The Audible version is read by the author. The contrast between the story being read and reading it very much improved my experience.
Angela Daniels
Apr 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has some fabulous ideas. Zero gravity modern dance, dance as a universal form of communication, evolution. I found it to be an entertaining and easy read, even if the protagonist does get on his soap box occasionally. Definitely recommend.
Nancy White
When I saw the cover of this book I thought it had to be bad, but then I started reading it and it was actually great. And then I realised it was a Hugo & Nebula award winner so I shouldn't have been surprised. It got weird at the end but like... good weird. I think. I recommend this one.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Stardance - 6th March Book 1 2 Mar 19, 2013 02:43PM  
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Spider Robinson is an American-born Canadian Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author. He was born in the USA, but chose to live in Canada, and gained citizenship in his adopted country in 2002.

Robinson's writing career began in 1972 with a sale to Analog Science Fiction magazine of a story entitled, The Guy With The Eyes. His writing proved popular, and his first novel saw print in 1
More about Spider Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Stardance (3 books)
  • Starseed (Stardance, #2)
  • Starmind (Stardance, #3)

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