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Orbital Resonance [Mass Market Paperback]

John Barnes
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 15 1992 Meme Wars (Book 1)
Melpomene Murray's concerns are those of any teenager: homework, friends, dates. But Melpomene lives on the Flying Dutchman, an asteroid colony located thousands of miles from an Earth almost destroyed by disease, war, and pollution. She and her spaceborn classmates are humanity's last hope, and Mel's just starting to realize how heavy a responsibility that is. Her parents and teachers have trained her from birth to lead mankind into the future.

What they never realized is that Melpomene might have plans of her own...

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Thirteen-year-old Melpomene Murray lives on the Flying Dutchman , an asteroid set into an Earth-Mars orbit, for use in shipping resources back to a devastated Earth. Its Planners devised a scheme for psychological conditioning in order to keep the new generation dedicated to the asteroid; but these adolescents--bright, motivated and exceptionally well educated--end up being even more rebellious than usual. Melpomene, assigned to write a book about her life in space, describes the tumult that begins when a student transfers in from Earth. His arrival highlights what is unique about the artificial society of the asteroid. Barnes ( Sin of Origin ) offers up Melpomene's first draft, which makes for an occasionally rough read but allows him to vary the chronology. The action is limited, but what does occur is well motivated, perfectly in keeping with the characters involved. Barnes's concentration on personal interactions allows him to hold up a polished mirror to our own society, reflecting a less than flattering image but resulting in a thought-provoking book.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Teenager Melpomene Murray's life aboard "The Flying Dutchman," an asteroid colony, consists primarily of school, friends, parental difficulties, and dreaded lessons on the condition of Earth--a troubled planet with which she feels little connection. When an Earthborn student joins her class, Melpomene begins to question her own upbringing and realizes that all is not as it seems. Barnes's ( Sin of Origin , Harlequin Bks., 1989) latest novel succeeds in visualizing the reality of life in space. His choice of narrator lends a welcome freshness to this standard sf theme. A good selection for most sf and YA collections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Dr. LOVELL says I have writing talent, so I have to enter this stupid contest, so I'm stuck with a bunch of extra hours at the werp-and with my Full Adult exam less than six months away, too. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Juvenile Story April 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
(...)I like well written stories written from a child's perspective.
_Orbital Resonance_ is supposed to contain all those elements and more, so what happened? Why did I find this book such a major disappointment?
First, all the characters were names attached to concepts rather than people. You the concept called "Bully", "The Reformed Bully", the "Girl Who Is Growing Breasts", the "Shy But Smart Kid" and on and on. Those descriptions basically sum up the whole character development that you get for all the characters introduced in the book.
Second, the main cardboard character has empathy for people, and the writer shows by the character continually hugging and kissing everyone, but we don't get to see or hear why this character is empathetic, or what she's thinking, or why. I guess it's "enough" that if a character hugs every other character, this is a wonderful empathic character.
Third, the dialog is so shallow in most cases. Here is a typical example:
"I'm sorry."
"No, I'm sorry."
There was a hushed silence, then a the main character tittered a laugh.
"Gosh, um, I'm so embarrassed."
"It's all right. I like you."
"Wow, that's a relief, I really like the fact that you like me."
"Me too."
The characters hugged each other and wiped away a few tears.
This type of writing that spews from the page, on and on. A few instances of this, I can take, but if the entire book is devoted to scenes like this, it gets real boring and insulting real fast.
Fourth, the whole notion of the characters being "smart" doesn't come across well in the writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lim kopey! Jan. 15 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The most common themes that seem to emerge in Young Adult science fiction are the same that we face upon becoming adults: realising the world isn't as it seems, feeling the burden of responsibility, the way we begin to resent adults as we realise that they have to do things that are unpleasant, and that we ourselves will have to do things that we are not entirely comfortable with, during our passage to adulthood. John Barnes has addressed these themes in a stellar book that I think was intended for adults, but makes wonderful and enlightening reading for smart kids and young adults alike.
Melpomene is a young woman living on a corporate space-station who must deal with everday life like everyone else, its triumphs and its embarassments. She does well in school, has good status with her class-mates, but must deal with the embarassment she faces when her mother quits her station job (exposing her to be unproductive, not socially responsible, basically an oddity to everyone else on the station, an outsider) and spents all her time lounging round their apartment reading boring novels sent from earth. The story is told through Mel's journal entries, written in retrospect, and is an account of the arrival of a newcomer to the station: a boy from earth who has been shuffled around by unwanted relatives and is 'different', too earthlike, for the tastes of our mature, space-station reared class of children. With his arrival comes that of bullying, something that children on the space station haven't experienced before...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Where's Ender? June 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
All told, this was a fun book, and Barnes should be given lots of credit for writing from the viewpoint of a thirteen year old girl (which I can say from experience is one of the most self absorbed groups on the planet . . .) and making it utterly entertaining, he definitely pulls you into the world he's created and makes you care for his characters. What we have here is a future Earth that is being ravaged by diseases and wars and the usual stuff that always happens in the future, and so a lot of people have pulled themselves into an orbiting colony in an attempt to get above it all while the earth pulls itself together. Enter our protagonist, Mel (I won't even try to spell her whole name) who is concerned with the usual thirteen year old fascinations, puberty, boys, classwork and friends and . . . oh yeah, saving the world. Or at least getting ready to run it. But all of that seems almost secondary to the writings of this young girl, we get a peek into her and the life of teenagers and how their social pecking order works. Mel's a fascinating character, she loves her family, can act real annoying sometimes and alternates wallowing in angst and self congratulation. When her father admits that the kids are being conditioned psychologically to want to help save the world and run it, her reaction is quite realistic considering the circumstances and you can't help but feel for her. However, Barnes doesn't have much to say about the interactions of teenagers other than the usual amazement of how cruel and kind they can be to each other at the same time, most of the clique stuff you can see coming a mile off once the gears start rolling and that familiarity takes away from some of its emotional impact. Most of the adults except for maybe her father are ciphers, especially her mother. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, classic SF reminiscent of Heinlein
This book is a worthy addition to the sub-genre of SF which focuses on the young man or woman growing into themselves within a new frontier of space. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2003 by Matic
4.0 out of 5 stars Good early work by John Barnes
If you're a fan of John Barnes and haven't read this book, it's about time you did. This book, more than any other, to me establishes his style of thinking, plotting, and... Read more
Published on June 2 2003 by Scott R. Lucado
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Plot,nice Characters, Somethig missing...
I start with this is a good book, not the best and not a must reader. But if you like Scifi at all this book is good. Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2002 by Hypno
3.0 out of 5 stars Asteroid Adolescents
An interesting story much in the tradition of some of Heinlein's work in the fifties (Podakayne of Mars). Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2001 by Gary A. Grelli
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tale Begins.....
This is the book that introduced many of us to John Barnes. For many of us, it is still our favorite. A lot of very "Barnesian" ideas are established here. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2000 by Philip Manitta
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty terrible
Awful coming-of-age tale. If you are interested in an adolescent girl describing her orgasms in a science fiction setting, this is the book for you. Read more
Published on July 31 2000 by omarbukka
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for John Barnes fans
Now that with the end of the 1990s the scope of John Barnes's work has become clearer, it's possible to put his first "hit" novel, Orbital Resonance, into perspective. Read more
Published on June 3 2000 by joe_n_bloe
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest
This has long been my favorite book - inside its genre, it'll probably stay that way. I love this book because it maps out a world in a honest and clear way; Mel is a... Read more
Published on April 13 2000 by B. Alewijnse
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This was the book that made me want to read more of John Barnes' books. Great characters and storyline, everyone should read it.
Published on June 7 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a very good book.
I was only 13 when I read this book, but I loved it after I got done with it. Read it. It is sometimes boring, but in all, it is a very good book.
Published on April 20 1999
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