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Up Jim River

(Spiral Arm #2)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  386 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Hugo Award finalist and Robert A. Heinlein Award-winning SF writer Michael Flynn returns to space opera with Up Jim River. There is a river on Dangchao Waypoint, a small world out beyond Die Bold. It is a longish river as such things go, with a multitude of bayous and rapids and waterfalls, and it runs through many a strange and hostile country. Going up it, you can lose e ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Tor Books (first published 2010)
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  386 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The novel begins and ends with the Hound and a question. Still, as such novels go, whether they're adventures or Space-Operas or many-vista'd hues of gorgeous untamed planets, they're full of stories and stories within stories.

This one has all of the above, and for those who really enjoyed Bridget Ban and Donovan from the previous novel, you're in for a treat.

Not that you'll be seeing all that much of the missing Bridget, but you will see a lot of her daughter who's searching for her. Even the H
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Terence by: Sequel to The January Dancer
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I see that in my review of The January Dancer (TJD) I neglected to mention the frame upon which Michael Flynn hung his story, which is related by “the scarred man” to the harper Méarana of Dangchao Waypoint as they drink uiscebaugh in the Bar on Jehovah. Up Jim River picks up right after the scarred man has finished his tale. I’m not spoiling anything by revealing that he is the Fudir or that Méarana (née Lucia Thompson) is the daughter of Bridget ban (née Francine Thompson), the Hound who accom ...more
4.5 stars. Right off the bat, I need to say that I intend to re-read both this book and The January Dancer at which time, it is possible that both books will make it onto my 6 star list. Michael Flynn's writing is fantastic and the universe he has created is as interesting and original as any I have read about in the last few years. As good as the universe is, the characters are even better, with the "multi personalitied" Donovan being my clear favorite.

In fact, there is so much going on and so
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Flynn's Spiral Arm series takes place in the post-Solar human part of the Milky Way galaxy. Humanity has been seeded to numerous worlds beyond Earth which was abandoned in the distant past because of some unknown conflict in the remembered only from myths and legends and religion.

We met the main characters in book 1 The January Dancer, an average space opera, IMO. Book 2 goes a long way into fleshing out these characters and expanding our knowledge of Flynn's universe. It is a combination of my
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. I suppose I should hold judgment until I read the 1st part of the series, but it took me a long time to get into the story of this one. Lots of cool details and semi-interesting ideas along the way, but the main thrust of the plot was sort of uninteresting, at least until the end. The major plot twists were pretty easy to see coming, but I didn't really mind. Still, it's a genre I have a real weakness for, and it was a pretty good example.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Not as good as The January Dancer, but it picked up considerably in the last fifty or sixty pages. Otherwise, it felt unfocused and sometimes hard to follow. Still, Michael Flynn's exuberance in creating the mish-mash languages and customs of the far future are entertaining and I will, at some point, continue with the tetralogy.
Benjamin Kahn
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Not a perfect book, by any means. Not as good as its predecessor. Too much time spent on setting up each new planet, all of which seem to basically have a two-dimensional quirk. Early going, I found progress very slow. But it does build momentum as it goes, and at the end I was quickly flipping pages to find out what happened next. I thought early on that I might be done with this series, but now I feel like I want to see what happens next. So in the end, a good book.

And kudos to Flynn for nami
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Hm, it's as if this was written by a different author. Gone is the sparkly conversational style of The January Dancer, gone is the multilayered plot. Extrapolations on linguistic drift, while entertaining at first, occasionally grate. The narrative is direct, and the language, almost pedestrian. However, this is still a *good* space opera: the setting itself is worth the price of admission (at times reading almost as a homage to Jack Vance, although Flynn does not quite match Vance's flair and w ...more
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well. Wellwellwell. This series… well. It may just be the guiltiest of all my guilty pleasures (even more so than the Remo: The Destroyer books). The writing is just so purple it occasionally bursts through and dances across the entire spectrum of colours until it tumbles headlong into straight-up black, but then remembers itself and promptly segues back into solidly purple territory. However, underneath this frilly overwrought style lies an endlessly intriguing space-operatic universe filled wi ...more
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
First Line: This is her song, but she will not sing it, and so that task must fall to lesser lips.

Up Jim River is the sequel to Flynn’s 2008 novel The January Dancer (review), picking up almost immediately at where the first novel left off. Where The January Dancer was written as a story being told, sort of an extended flashback with brief interludes in the here and now, Up Jim River takes place entirely in the present. If you haven’t read The January Dancer you really ought to stop now and go a
Nicholas Whyte
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was ok

Got this because I have enjoyed a lot of Flynn’s other work, but I bounced hard off it and gave up after 70 pages. Discovered only afterwards that it is the second in a series; maybe I would have done better to start at the beginning.
This one is a direct sequel of the superb The January Dancer - it starts 20 years after the main events there, but immediately after the interludes that tell those events.

We reconnect with the main characters from the novel, but here the tale is simpler - Lucia the 19 year old daughter of "Hound" Bridget-ban (aka super agent for the League, one of the main powers of the novels and the "good guys") is looking for her disappeared mother; of the three men who were with Bridget on the January Dance
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Up Jim River is the second book in Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm series. It picks up after the events of The January Dancer with Mearana (the Harper) and Donovan (the Scarred Man) as they set out to find Mearana's mother. Her mother is none other than "Hound" Bridget-Ban, the super-agent who played a major role in The January Dancer. It seems that Bridget-Ban has gone missing for about two years. Her organization, the Kennel, which is the intelligence arm of the League, has given up the search for ...more
Mary Catelli
The second Spiral Arm book and so the sequel to The January Dancer. Unlike it, it is not a retrospective tale. It is still, however, a tale of vivid characters, intriguing plot twists, marvelous and marvelously detailed planetary societies -- the planets are, I think better, even

Spoilers ahead for The January Dancer.

The harper is going to look for her mother, because the Kennel has given up. Donovan, knowing something of what it would take to keep Bridget ban away and make the Kennel gives up, a
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Up Jim River continues telling of a future universe Flynn first chronicled in The January Dancer.(If you haven't read The January Dancer, do so---you will not regret it.) In this far future, much of our present world and point of view has been forgotten, swallowed by vast time and space. Flynn's characters play in an heroic Space Opera dominated by the League, a quasi-governmental group whose will is done by the Kennel, whose agents(Hounds and their Pups)are resourceful, relentless, clever, mani ...more
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I finished Michael Flynn's Up Jim River a couple of days ago, and it was quite good. This is the sequel to The January Dancer, and it picks up pretty much right where that left off. Donovan/Fudir is handled deftly in this volume - most of the internal voices each have their own font, and that's tremendously helpful. I found that the book steadily picked up speed as it progressed - it became less of a an exercise in sifting through history and more of a romp. I find the whole notion of the Hounds ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi

I really do enjoy Michael Flynn's style of writing.  He has the ability  to put you into the conversations of the characters. His descriptions of the worlds you visit make you think you are looking out the portal of the ship. The characters are alive and real; flawed yet they reach a level of nobility. 

It seems a rare thing in trilogies to like the second better than the first , but it is the case here .

In January Dancer we are introduced to a complex system of worlds in the far future, there is
Scott Cleveland
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Up Jim River is the second book in the January Dancer series. I liked The January Dancer, but I liked Up Jim River even more, probably because by now I’ve gotten a handle on who everybody is and the plot presentation is much more traditional than the first book. The author continues to impress me with his elegant use of language and imagery.

THE PLOT: Basically it’s about a young woman looking for her missing mother. As we learned in the first book, the Harper is the daughter of super-cop Bridg
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I didn't realize this book was a sequel until I came across references to the January Dancer in the text of this book. Then I remembered seeing that title on Flynn's Amazon page. D'oh! Oh well. I debated stopping Up Jim River and reading January Dancer first, but by then, the story was moving right along and I didn't want to quit.

Flynn is quite the storyteller. I was fully involved in the search for the Harper's mother, even though I didn't care all that much whether or not they found her. I'd
Tim Jin
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
"Up Jim River" is a sequel to "The January Dancer" and there are two more installments in the Spiral Arm series. I'm still having trouble trying to grasp to the story. The story is long and tedious. It's not an easy book to read after you had a long day. In order to be fully immersed to the space opera, you need to read this book into different segments, where you need to take a breather in between the pages. It's not like running a marathon, where you can sprint to the finish.

Flynn writes in d
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
“Up Jim River” is the second book of Flynn’s ‘Spiral Arm’ series. It takes place about 20 years after the first book ‘January Dancer’. You really need to have read the first book for this one to be readable.

My review of the first book “ January Dancer” still applies. That is, that this series is only very superficially science fiction. It’s more of a purple prosed,‘sword-and-sorcery’ road-trip story, with the tech substituting for magic.

In this story, the author does develop the protagonist ‘De
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Another visit to Flynn's space opera universe, focusing on Bridget-ban's daughter, Donovan and a newly split personality, and the search for a lost Treasure Fleet from the Commonwealth era among other things. Wildmen from remote planets figure in, other Those of Name agents from the Commonwealth keep tracking Donovan and the rest of the team as they keep up the search in remoter and remoter lands. Full of humor and pathos and plenty of teases about the eons and eons of human and alien history on ...more
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think I preferred January Dancer to this one, mainly because the harper was much more a main character in this book and I just never liked her. I figured out the twist in the relationships in the story early, as I think we're meant to, but the old friendships were what was most interesting to me.

The story of tracking Bridget Ban ended up being more of a tour of worlds than a story in its own right, as well.

The best part of the story dealt with the fractured personality of Donovan, another cha
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The not-so United League of the Periphery, where the Hounds of the Ardry battle the chilling machinations of Those Of Name, and a kaleidoscope falling out of an (ahem!) Irish stew of cultures, has emerged as a captivating milieu for futuristic adventure, and we must hope for many more.

This is a sequel to THE JANUARY DANCER, and clarifies what was actually going on there, while opening up more picaresque settings of the Periphery and the Wild.

There are more enigmas which gnaw at the reader. How
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Flynn. The Donovan character/s is/are really well done. Interesting way of presenting the fragmented person, etc. That said, the actual story didn't quite grab me quite as much as other stuff by the TOF. It felt like more of a story that puts ideas and "isms" on display, but the result is that you are reading more of collage than a plot. Maybe that's due to the fact that it's a "road trip" story with lots of stops on the way to the destination. Still, to it's credit, this book r ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: space-opera, sci-fi
I'm a fan of author Flynn and the second book in this trilogy was much better than the first one, The January Dancer. Great story telling here but not a lot of shoot 'em up action, if that's what you're looking for. Excessive use of made up, or alien verbiage, but what the hell, it's sci-fi. I bought the third book, In the Lion's Mouth and look forward to the continuing adventures of the protaginists in Flynn's universe. Flynn provides a map of his universe, planets, etc. to better follow the st ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Not as much fun as the first one. This is admittedly a hazy sort of measure; briefly, I read through the first book in one sitting, and this one took many.

For around half the book I wanted to scream at the characters that (view spoiler).

I was confused by the chapter where (view spoiler)
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Almost as poetic as the first. Better storytelling then the first. A poetic space opera that holds you close with prosaic images and men with swords.

While this is just me speaking, (Spoiler), i do find it intresting that they take thes story from the point of veiw of a space faring civilization that collapsed thousands of years ago, and formed these remnants of culture that became the modern spiral arm. Since i know several languages, i was able to pick up a decent amount of the mixed cultures,
Jeff Miller
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a sequel tthe January Dancer, a book I much enjoyed, I must say I liked this one more since it was more focused. You already have a basic outline of jthe universe involved and most of the characters.

This time the Harper is off to find her missing mother who disappeared on a mission so across the universe they go seeking clues later involving something like an old African adventure. As always Flynn is a great writer okf dialog and solid plots. I expect another in the series as the ending left
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
The first book in our group that I think no one liked. I think that it suffered from being a second book, and background seemed to be missing that may have been covered in the first book (January Dancer). Others said that the melange of languages threw them out of the book. No one really liked the characters, or the mystery of the missing mother. I liked that genealogy was a dead art. It's a far future novel, and the remains of earth culture have gotten all mixed up, Irish and Islam, pidgin engl ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. Please see this page for the list of authors.

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 t

Other books in the series

Spiral Arm (4 books)
  • The January Dancer (Spiral Arm, #1)
  • In the Lion's Mouth (Spiral Arm, #3)
  • On the Razor's Edge (Spiral Arm, #4)