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Take Back Plenty

(Tabitha Jute #1)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  411 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A fast-moving space adventure featuring mysterious aliens, a journey to a de-populated planet, a mad run from space cops, a ship captain in trouble, and her AI (Artificially Intelligent) companion/ship's computer. Winner of both the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year and the British Science Fiction Association Award for best novel of the year ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 1991 by Grafton (first published 1990)
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3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  411 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Kristian Olesen
At some point in the 1960s, all the hip kids started writing books about nothing. In science fiction, this trend asserted itself in the works of writers as diverse as Philip K. Dick, Samuel Delaney, and Arthur C. Clarke, all of whom endeavoured to take us on ponderous journeys into the heart of the human psyche, eschewing conventional narrative structure, and blah blah blah.

They're all shit.

I hope at least some of the people who've read - for instance - Clarke's "Rendezvous With Rama" shared my
David Hebblethwaite
The novel on this year’s Clarke Award shortlist that stuck out as being most anomalous was Chris Wooding’s Retribution Falls, because it was the kind of exuberant adventure sf which tends not to do well at the Clarke. Probably the last time a book of that kind won was back in 1991, when the Clarke went to Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland, a novel which also has a reputation as being one of the founding texts of the ‘New British Space Opera’ that’s flourished in the past two decades.

Quite a we
Paul Baribeau
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of Science Fiction. This book really took me by surprise. Had so much fun reading it. Can't convince anyone else to read it though. Too bad for them. This one is a gem.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
fun enjoyable space opera. Got great reviews when originally published may be because the main character is not the usual super competent pilot.

May not be as awesome but still a good fun read.
The sequels to this book rated awesome covers by Jim Burns but I didn't enjoy this book. It was readable, or I'd've never finished it, but not good enough for me to even read the sequels...
Michael O.
Female Han Solo gallivanting around the galaxy in a decidedly British SF offering. It's a Culture novel with significantly better style and writing, but absent anything really interesting to say.
I think this is supposed to be a madcap, comical space opera with a likable female protagonist who is sucked into an adventure that she wasn't really looking for and of which she wants no part. It fell a little flat for me. The characters, several of which could have been really interesting, ended up underdeveloped. The plot, and the way it was structured, left me confused. On the other hand I thought the writing was good, there were instances of humor and excitement, and some of the aliens were ...more
Ce roman nous raconte donc les aventures de Tabatha Jute, pilote d’une fidèle gabarre (l’Alice Lidell) intégrant une IA. Elle va se retrouver malgré elle mêlée, comme d’habitude dans les romans de sf, à une aventure qui va bouleverser l’ensemble du système solaire. Et, grâce à un certain caractère, elle va s’en tirer.
Dit comme ça, ça ressemble à une banale balade dans le système solaire, alors qu’il ne s’agit pas du tout de ça. Au début du roman, il me faisait penser à la mécanique du centaure,
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know much of what to expect from this. I knew it had one the Arthur C. Clarke Award and was a well considered piece of space opera but that was it. I am glad to say I was delighted by it. Whilst it has a distinct flavour of the early 90s it slips very much into the contemporary mode of character driven space opera. The type where the characters are so vivid and well drawn that even if they weren't going through a bonkers adventure you would still enjoy the journey. It also touches on a ...more
Tony Ellis
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Bit of a disappointment, this. I remember it appearing to a big buzz back around 1990, heralded as British sci-fi's triumphant return to the good old days of explosions and spaceships, and I always meant to get around to reading it. Brian Aldiss and Michael Moorcock are on the cover, telling you what an epic-scale adventure this is.

It's all right. It's entertaining, knockabout, episodic fun, sharply written with more style and wit than you'd find in a lot of American SF then or indeed now. I can
Alan Rylans
This book won the BSFA Award for the Best SF Novel of the Year 1990 (and the Arthur C Clarke award the following year) but I can't say that it really met my expectations. It seemed over long although I was sucked in by the exuberant descriptions of carnival time on the Martian canals in the opening chapters. Tabatha Jute is a fully fleshed out character and her adventures after she picks up a band of weirdo entertainers are fun. Her philosophical dialogues with her ship - Alice (Liddell) - are a ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I liked this book as you can see... it’s a nice space sci-Fi (the only sort I want really!). I didn’t really understand exactly what happened in the end to be honest hence only 4 stars. Also, I expected all the main people to survive, but without spoilers... that is not necessarily the case and there is a little peril in there!
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, spaceopera, scific
a bit too long for the story. but, interesting.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining space opera with strong characterization.
Guido Eekhaut
Amusing but otherwise conventional adventure.
5/10. Leído en el 97 no me dejó ningún recuerdo salvo su nota en la base de datos. La idea era atractiva, original, pero el desarrollo no estuvo a la altura.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Never really clicked with me. Too long - started well and ended okay but most of it was a slog.
What if I told you there’s a book with an alien that looks like a demented baby, incestuous twins, a dead woman smarter than all else, and a man who steals the body of an extinct alien? You’d be a little interested, right?

Tabitha Jute isn’t a competent pilot by any means. She doesn’t have all the answers, she can’t pull off the maneuvers that movie heroes do--heck, she can barely land enough jobs to keep her antique ship running. So when she stops on Schiaparelli, Mars to connect with old friend
Koen Crolla
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The very first science fiction I read, almost two decades ago, was the newly translated Problemen in Overvloed—or, in its original language, Seasons of Plenty. That's obviously the second book in the series, but eventually I managed to find Theater Tussen de Sterren (that is, Take Back Plenty). I remember liking the books, but I was eleven or twelve years old at the time. Either way, I never managed to find the third or fourth books—because they were never translated, it turns out—so I mostly fo ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This wasn't earth-shattering by any stretch, but it was extremely enjoyable. I was going to go straight onto the second one in the trilogy, unfortunaltely it gets really abyssmal reviews(on Amazon at least) so I'm now not at all sure I'll be reading it at all. I can't even bring myself to just skip the second and go onto the third, since that one only gets average reviews and says the first book is a lot better anyway.

Still, this one was good. Tabitha Jute is a well written character and her com
Aug 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take Back Plenty is a fun story that is reminiscent of pulp space adventures. It’s full of action, conflict, and strange alien species. With all the sudden turns, the story sometimes seemed pretty convoluted, but it was always entertaining. Tabitha Jute, the captain of the small ship Alice Liddell, was a very interesting protagonist to follow, and I enjoyed the development of her character through her relationship with her ship’s personality. The other characters seemed neat in theory, but fell ...more
-Hay muchas formas de hacer Space Opera, incluso Space Operetta.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En un Sistema Solar controlado sin excesos aparentes por una raza alienígena conocida como Los Capellanes pero plagada de miembros de otras razas incluyendo la humana, la capitana Tabitha necesita dinero para afrontar una serie de gastos inesperados, por lo que acepta el encargo de transportar en su nave inteligente a un músico hasta la estación espacial Plenty. Primer libro de la serie P
Kay Cheung
I was a bit disappointed, considering all the awards this has won.

On the plus side, the lead character and the places she goes to are interesting and it's packed with space-faring detail.

One problem I had was that in many scenes I couldn't quite picture what was happening. Perhaps all the details detracted from my overall understanding.

The other issue was that the structure is broken up between what seems like the main plot and digressions in which the lead is talking to her ship. Although thes
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A well-written sci-fi adventure, but much ado about nothing. It might make a set-up for a TV sit-com. I ended up reading exponentially faster toward the end so I could get to something more meaningful.

If you like sit-com-lit with discombobulated character who are driven by chance and serendipity, this book is for you.

The best think about the book was the writing and the authors use of allusion and of words I'd never encountered before. Look up names; they relate. The name of the spaceship is a
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Pretty good (as you would hope for a book that won both the Arthur C Clarke and BSFA awards). Well above-average space opera, feisty female protagonist, solar system where humanity is vying for space and influence with various alien species (like Stephen Baxter's Xeelee sequence but less depressing). Mild rewriting of history to allow us Mars as desert planet with breathable atmosphere and Venus as tropical hell. Generally good fun. Will prob ...more
Stephen Graham
That I had a hard time getting into this novel may be betrayed by how many days it took me to read it, particularly given several days off work. Fundamentally, Tabitha Jute wasn't engaging enough to overcome the irritating nature of Marco Metz and the initial plot. When the supposed protagonist is swept along by events, they need to give you some reason to hang in with them. The novel wound up in an interesting enough place. But I'm not much motivated to go on to the sequels.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Analog described this as "a wild ride," but for 500 pages I didn't feel it went very far. Instead of feeling "Wow," I felt relieved it was over. Full of crosses and double crosses, but it's yet another novel where I didn't find the characters particularly sympathetic. Greenland did a good job of surprising me with the repercussions of events I'd forgot about, and the loose ends got tied up at the finale. I doubt I'll be up for book 2 any time soon, however.
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who says enjoyable space operas aren't written anymore? Must Colin Greenland have thought, when he started writing this very enjoyable space opera -which put him promptly into the spotlights, winning both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Science Fiction Association Award for the best science fiction novel of the year.
Edward Davies
This is an entertaining story that creates characters that are both likeable and intriguing, but it does get a little bogged down and confusing towards the end. It's obvious why Tabitha became such a popular character, and why this book spawned spin-offs over the years, and fans of female-lead sci-fi will find this a fascinating and wonderful addition to their collection.
Jota Houses
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Una especie de Hacón Maltés espacial en el que la protagonista se ve envuelta en una complicada trama y va de acá para allá sin saber ni como ni porqué. A punto de abandonatlo en varias ocasiones. No hubiera pasado nada si lo hubiese hecho.
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Colin Greenland's fiction and criticism have been translated into a dozen languages and broadcast on BBC national radio. His multiple award-winning science fiction novel Take Back Plenty, long out of print in the UK, is available again in the Orion SF Masterworks series, and for e-readers at SF Gateway.

Colin lives in Cambridge and Foolow with his wife Susanna Clarke, the author of Jonathan Stran

Other books in the series

Tabitha Jute (3 books)
  • Seasons of Plenty (Tabitha Jute, #2)
  • Mother of Plenty (Tabitha Jute, #3)