The Starry Rift (英語) ペーパーバック – 1994/9/1
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
This novel set in the far-future and filled with action, extraordinary characters, and visionary speculation, chronicles the human exploration of alien planets with strange and mysterious life forms
SOME CURIOSITY SUSPECIOUS PARTICULARS REGARDING THIS TITLE:
TOR issued this hardbound book collection of three Tiptree stories in July 1976 and subsequently issued paperback editions in 1989 and 1994. Paperback editions in Italian (1987) and a British edition (1988) conclude the regrettably short publishing history of this title. All three stories were previously published in science fiction magazines 1985 & 1986. My SFBC hardbound edition is 183 pages long. This book is noteworthy for two items: it's introductions and the author's world-building universe - "The Rift".
Two aliens visit the "Great Central Library of Deneb University" to learn about human history through fictionalized version of actual events. An alien university librarian, in the role of a mentor, selects and recommends stories for them. These several page introductions to the three tales are informative and tantalizing. The book concludes with a satisfying coda from the alien reader/students.
These three stories along with the novel "Brightness Falls From the Air" are lamentably the only "Riff" stories Tiptree/Sheldon wrote. I have read both books and was seduced by the author's inventive future of mankind's seeding of the stars and the interaction with other alien races and some particularly dastardly humans.
The three stories in this book are science fiction outer space adventures - through backs in themes and content to those published in Astounding and Amazing magazine in the 1940-50's. As such they are peppered with "space" jargon - intelligent aliens - interstellar empires and courageous men and woman. I happen to, on occasion, greatly admire these types of stories but if your expectation or interests are otherwise you may wish to mull over purchasing this book.
STORY TITLES AND OPINIONS:
"The Only Neat Thing To Do" - A precocious teenage girl with a single-minded desire to explore the stars meets up with a parasitic alien that caused her to make the ultimate decision. A quite effective story that could of been just "too cute and heartrending" but is not, thankfully.
" Good Night, Sweethearts" - The pilot of an interstellar fuel tanker renders assistance to a stranded space cruiser only to discover his long, very long, lost love. Attacked by space pirates our resourceful pilot must solve several confounding riddles. An overused plot idea put to good use in this compelling story.
" Collision " - Space explores of the interstellar Void encounter some extraordinary aliens and then things happen. A brilliant story, full of inspired ideas without being juvenile. My vote for best in the book.
Say, this is an uncommon collection by a most clever author with an extraordinary real-life story. 1st time readers are in for an astounding treat. Highly recommended.
The first story "The Only Neat Thing To Do" is amazing. It follows the perspective of a young fifteen year old space-crazy rich girl who ends up saving her Federation from a Brain-Plague type alien threat. It is emotional moving. Five stars.
The second story deals with cold sleep, freedom, and pirates. It relies too heavily on technical science for plot movement, and I could not picture the climax well because it depended upon advanced technological quirks, and I'm not even sure the science holds up. Three stars.
The third story deals with aliens and war and first contact. It has too many 'just so' coincidences, and I didn't enjoy it that much. Two and a half stars.
Overall, I highly recommend the first short story. The rest of the book can be ignored.
In the first story, a teenage girl is given a "Space Coupe" as a birthday present, and shortly sets off on an unauthorized journey into unexplored space. She becomes infected with a mind parasite which is shortly going to eat her brain. The problem she must solve is getting the word back about the danger, without infecting the rest of the human race. Tiptree doesn't make me believe for one second that there could exist a planet where natural evolution could result in all mind and intelligence being carried by microscopic parasites, while all large animals are mindless, brainless hulks who function only when the parasites create brains for them. Or that the parasites must be carefully trained as children in "parasite day school" to avoid killing their hosts. That's not the point. Her aim is to take that bizarre situation as a given, and work out the logical consequences. In this, she is somewhat like one of her obvious influences, Murray Leinster.
The second tale is more conventional space adventure. A solitary man who makes his living salvaging space junk finds himself in a situation where he must rescue the most beautiful woman in human space (and her clone!) from insanely vicious space pirates. Tiptree's delight in describing the mechanics and details of her imaginary interstellar space ships, space communications, and resulting space puzzles to be solved by the characters, is obvious throughout.
In the final tale, explorers encounter a hitherto-unknown, technologically advanced galactic empire of three-sexed kangaroo-like aliens. The aliens are religious fanatics who practice sacrifice of their own kind, and who have good reason to destroy any humans they encounter instantly and with no questions. [It's those pesky space pirates, see story 2, again.] The explorers face the problem of avoiding an interstellar war, by somehow making the aliens understand that the human race doesn't consist entirely of pirates. This story is the only one of the three that contains fantastic/supernatural elements, and they don't help either the reader or the plot in any way. Again, Tiptree can't make the three-sex system plausible, and that's not her goal.
It's typical of Tiptree that the mind parasite we get to know in story 1 has the personality of a small female child, and that the key roles in story 3 are played by a teenage female alien, and a dying "3rd sex" mother who is callously ignored by the other aliens because her days of utility are past.
These later Tiptree tales tend to be disliked both by readers and critics, but fans and critics who concentrated on Tiptree tended to know and care very little about science fiction. Tiptree herself loved it, and the love here is plain to see and feel.
First Tale: "The Only Next Thing To Do"
Second Tale: "Good Night Sweetheart's"
Third Tale: "Collision"
This book is actually written by Alice Sheldon, writing as James Tiptree, Jr., as shown on the photo of the author on the back of this book!