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Robert J. Sawyer's first novel, Golden Fleece, kicked off his career in a big way. It won the Aurora Award for best novel and set a high standard that Sawyer has maintained ever since in award-winning works such as The Terminal Experiment and Calculating God. Golden Fleece combines the conventions of several genres: it's both a first-starship-from-Earth story and a first-contact-with-aliens story, and it mixes these SF elements with a suspense thriller plot. A murder has been committed onboard the starship, although at first only one character, the victim's ex-husband, Aaron Rossman, thinks there is anything suspicious about her apparent suicide.
The reader is under no such illusions, however, since the story is told from the perspective of the murderer himself--or, rather, itself. The suspense builds as it becomes clear the murderer has more secrets to hide, and a second problem as well: the humans on the ship are about to vote on whether to continue their voyage or turn back to Earth. The murderer naturally has a vested interest in the outcome: he's the ship's computer.
Sawyer mixes the elements of SF and murder mystery with the touch of a master. If there is a problem with the novel, it is in the details of Aaron's life, which are necessary to understanding why he reacts as he does but are presented in a way that at first seems to distract from the main story. And it's pretty easy to see where Sawyer found his inspiration; few readers will miss the parallels to 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the end, though, a satisfying resolution establishes Sawyer as a writer well worth reading. --Greg L. Johnson
The unexpected death of a crew member of the spaceship Argo during a ten-year voyage to a newly discovered, potentially habitable planet plunges the space-weary crew into a nightmare of suspicion as one man attempts to expose a murderer. Sawyer's first novel expertly combines mystery and sf in a fast-moving thriller recommended for sf collections.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
An excellent novel/mystery; the plot and twist at the end are outstanding.
It will keep you guessing until you finish it and wondering long after you're done..!
The narrator of this book is the artificially intelligent computer running a huge starship, and the first thing it says (prior to killing a character who has uncovered some... Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2002 by David Barrett
Science fiction is supposed to be a genre that uses real science to tell a good story with morals, lessons and ideas. Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2001 by kcarter
I thought this was a terrific book, really well done with good characters and good plot, and lots of nifty speculations about A.I. Sawyer has clearly read Minsky and other A.I. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 1999