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Plague Ship Hardcover – Feb 18 1971


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Hardcover, Feb 18 1971
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd; Second Impression edition (Feb. 18 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575006439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575006430
  • Shipping Weight: 789 g
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9953bca8) out of 5 stars 68 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99195150) out of 5 stars The Patrol is ordered to destroy the 'Queen' July 4 2005
By ealovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Plague Ship" (1956) was one the first science fiction novels I ever checked out of our local library (I can still close my eyes and see that one dinky little shelf, crammed with some of SFs' greatest juvenile authors: Norton; Heinlein; Del Rey; Nourse).

This book contains the second 'Solar Queen' adventure. Norton's four-book series about the trader-crew of the 'Solar Queen' ended in 1969 with "Postmarked the Stars" but beware! Lesser authors have butted into the series, presumably with Norton's permission since this remarkable Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy and Nebula Grand Master just recently passed away after a long and extremely fruitful career (her first novel was published in 1934, her latest fantasy in 2005).

One 'Solar Queen' rip-off to avoid at all costs is "Redline: the Stars."

Norton's 'Solar Queen' stories are told from the viewpoint of Dane Thorson, an apprentice-Cargo Master who is introduced in "Sargasso of Space," the first 'Solar Queen' novel, as a "lanky, very young man in an ill-fitting Trader's tunic." Most of this author's heroes and heroines are young, uncertain of themselves, shy, with a tendency to trip over their own enthusiasms and load themselves up with guilt at the slightest opportunity. They are very likeable and their adventures are narrated in remarkably lean prose with just the right touch of description.

After ten years of schooling, orphan Dane Thorson is assigned via a computer analysis of his psychological profile--not to a safe berth on a sleek Company-run starship that his classmates were vying for--but to a battered tramp of a Free Trader. To say that the 'Solar Queen' "lacked a great many refinements and luxurious fittings which the Company ships boasted" was an understatement. But she was a tightly-run ship and what she lacked in refinement, she made up for in adventure. Dane soon settles in under Cargo Master Van Rycke and learns "to his dismay what large gaps unfortunately existed in his training."

Sometimes I just want to give Dane a big hug.

"Plague Ship" takes the crew of the 'Solar Queen' to Sargol, where the enigmatic feline natives seem very reluctant to trade away their fabulous scented gemstones. When Dane Thorson discovers an herb that the Salariki are willing to swap for their gems, he fears that his eagerness to make a trade breakthrough might have poisoned a native child.

That becomes the least of his worries when the 'Solar Queen' blasts off from Sargol with invisible, undetectable stowaways that would brand the free traders anathema to all inhabited worlds.

In space, the more senior members of the 'Solar Queen's' crew succumb to a strange plague that resembles sleeping sickness. Dane and his fellow-apprentices, with the assistance of Captain Jellico's Hoobat (a sort of blue parrot-lizard, or at least that's how I've always pictured it) discover the source of the plague: venomous hitch-hikers from Sargol. "It walked erect on two threads of legs...a bulging abdomen sheathed in the horny substance of a beetle's shell ended in a sharp point." It was only about a foot-and-a-half high and could change color like a chameleon.

The Hoobat kills and eats the first creature, and then the hunt is on for others of its kind.

Even with the source of the sleeping sickness discovered, the 'Solar Queen's' young apprentices must still convince the rest of the galaxy that they are not a plague ship--and therefore eligible to be destroyed on sight without warning.

The 'Solar Queen' novels are prime representatives of Norton's lean action-packed brand of story-telling (at least the ones she solo-authored.) If you haven't read them since you were a teen-ager, I urge you to try them again. For a few pleasant hours, you will be immersed in the adventures of a likeable, feisty band of free traders on exotic, carefully-drawn alien worlds.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x991d35c4) out of 5 stars The second 'Solar Queen' adventure April 21 2007
By ealovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Plague Ship" (1956) is the second 'Solar Queen' adventure, and sequel to "Sargasso of Space." Norton's four-book series about the trader-crew of the Solar Queen ended in 1969 with "Postmarked the Stars" but beware! Lesser authors have butted into the series, presumably with Norton's permission since this remarkable Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy and Nebula Grand Master just recently passed away on March 17, 2005 after a long and extremely fruitful career (her first novel was published in 1934, her latest fantasy in 2005).

One Solar Queen rip-off to avoid at all costs is "Redline: the Stars."

Norton's Solar Queen stories are told from the viewpoint of Dane Thorson, an apprentice-Cargo Master who is introduced in "Sargasso of Space," the first Solar Queen novel, as a "lanky, very young man in an ill-fitting Trader's tunic." Most of this author's heroes and heroines are young, uncertain of themselves, shy, with a tendency to trip over their own enthusiasms and load themselves up with guilt at the slightest opportunity. They are very likeable and their adventures are narrated in remarkably lean prose with just the right touch of description.

After ten years of schooling, orphan Dane Thorson is assigned via a computer analysis of his psychological profile--not to a safe berth on a sleek Company-run starship that his classmates were vying for--but to a battered tramp of a Free Trader. To say that the 'Solar Queen' "lacked a great many refinements and luxurious fittings which the Company ships boasted" was an understatement. But she was a tightly-run ship and what she lacked in refinement, she made up for in adventure. Dane soon settles in under Cargo Master Van Rycke and learns "to his dismay what large gaps unfortunately existed in his training."

Sometimes I just want to give Dane a big hug.

"Plague Ship" takes the crew of the 'Solar Queen' to Sargol, where the enigmatic feline natives seem very reluctant to trade away their fabulous scented gemstones. When Dane Thorson discovers an herb that the Salariki are willing to swap for their gems, he fears that his eagerness to make a trade breakthrough might have poisoned a native child. That becomes the least of his worries when the 'Solar Queen' blasts off from Sargol with invisible, undetectable stowaways that would brand the free traders anathema to all inhabited worlds.

In space, the more senior members of the Solar Queen's crew succumb to a strange plague that resembles sleeping sickness. Dane and his fellow-apprentices, with the assistance of Captain Jellico's Hoobat (a sort of blue parrot-lizard, or at least that's how I've always pictured it) discover the source of the plague: venomous hitch-hikers from Sargol. "It walked erect on two threads of legs...a bulging abdomen sheathed in the horny substance of a beetle's shell ended in a sharp point." It was only about a foot-and-a-half high and could change color like a chameleon.

The Hoobat kills and eats the first creature, and then the hunt is on for others of its kind.

Even with the source of the sleeping sickness discovered, the Solar Queen's young apprentices must still convince the rest of the galaxy that they are not a plague ship--and therefore eligible to be destroyed on sight without warning.

The Solar Queen novels are prime representatives of Norton's lean action-packed brand of story-telling (at least the ones she solo-authored.) If you haven't read them since you were a teen-ager, I urge you to try them again. For a few pleasant hours, you will be immersed in the adventures of a likeable, feisty band of free traders on exotic, carefully-drawn alien worlds.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x991d3684) out of 5 stars A MARVELOUS ENTERTAINMENT July 19 2002
By s.ferber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Plague Ship" (1956) is the second installment in Andre Norton's so-called Dane Thorson series, and is a direct continuation of the previous volume, "Sargasso of Space." (A reading of that earlier novel is highly recommended before going into this one.) "Plague Ship" does everything that a good sci-fi sequel should: It expands on the possibilities of the previous book, deepens the characters, increases the action and leaves us wanting still more. This time around, Thorson and his 11 shipmates on the galactic trader Solar Queen...
It's a very fast-moving and suspenseful tale, full of unusual detail and unexpected turns. There are several highlights that make the book really shine, such as the gorp hunt early in the story. (And when I say "gorp," I'm not talking about high-energy nut-and-raisin trail mix, but rather reptilian, crablike monsters!) This gorp hunt takes place at sunset on the reefs of an oily sea, and is a highly atmospheric and exciting segment. Other great sections include a raid on an asteroid's emergency station; a landing in the Big Burn... and the viewing of the mutant life-forms therein; and the battle... near the book's end, where our heroes make a desperate bid to make their plea for justice to the citizens of the solar system. Like I said, this is a slam-bang sequel, that will leave few readers unsatisfied.
That having been said, I need to also mention that there are a few inconsistencies in the book. At one point, Norton tells us that Dane has been in the trading service for a few months; somewhere else, she says that it has been a full year. Huh? And I feel that I must chastise Ace Books for the deplorable job with which this book has been put together. Now don't get me wrong: I LOVE these little Ace paperbacks from the 1950s, especially those 2-in-1 Ace doubles. But there are so many typos--not to mention punctuational and grammatical errors--in this book that the reading thereof is made a labor. Should we blame Norton or the publishers for a sentence such as this: "His hands, blundering within the metallic claws of the gloves, Dane buckled two safety belts about him." How could any copy editor or proofreader let such an egregious line such as this get through, when just the simple deletion of that first comma would have made all the difference?! Apparently, these little Ace books were never proofed or edited. They're wonderful volumes, with marvelously pulpy covers, but sadly, the contents were not given their due. But enough about Ace's carelessness. "Plague Ship," despite the occasional blunder, is still a marvelous entertainment, and I do highly recommend it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x991d3888) out of 5 stars Plague Ship Jan. 17 2000
By K. Hanson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Solar Queen adventure about trading contract for the planet Sargol acquired after losing planet Limbo contract to Star Patrol(Sargasso of Space). Van and Dane find that the Inter-solar(I-S) company there ahead of them. Still, they tried for fair trade with the Salariki for their koros gems. The crew of the Solar Queen after takeoff find they have a plague on board and as the crew one by one becomes sick finds the Star Patrol out to destroy the ship on sight. Classic Andre Norton
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x991e16b4) out of 5 stars Trading on Sargol Dec 24 2015
By Arthur W Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Plague Ship (1956) is the second SF novel in the Solar Queen series, following Sargasso of Space. In the previous volume, Dane is a newly graduated cargo-apprentice from the Trade Training Pool reporting for his first assignment. He waits with some of his former classmates for the Psycho computer to match him with a Trade organization

The others are assigned to interstellar companies -- Inter-Solar and the Combine -- and even the local Martian-Terran Incorporated line. Dane is assigned to the lowest of lows, a Free Trader ship, the Solar Queen. However, the demeaning attitude of the other recruits only triggers Dane's stubbornness and determination to succeed in his assignment.

After he has a not very enjoyable last meal with his former classmates, Dane is joined by two crewmen from the Solar Queen who have overheard the name of their ship. They introduce themselves as Rip Shannon, astrogator-apprentice, and Ali Kamil, engineer-apprentice, and accompany him back to their ship. There Dane meets Captain Jellico and the rest of the crew.

The first port of call is Naxos, where the Solar Queen buys ten-year trading rights to a planet, Limbo, in a Survey auction. The planet has been burnt off, but not completely. While their prospects don't look promising, a charter from an archaeological expedition interested in the Forerunner artifacts on Limbo will pay for the voyage.

In this novel, Dane Thorson is a cargo-apprentice on the Free Trader ship Solar Queen. He has learned a lot on Limbo, but still has a lot more to learn.

Rip Shannon is an astrogator-apprentice on the Solar Queen. He too has learned a lot on Limbo.

Ali Kamil is an engineer-apprentice on the Solar Queen. He is still learning his trade.

Jellico is the Captain of the Solar Queen. Since his ship is a Free Trader, he decides where to go next.

Jan Van Rycke is the Cargomaster of the ship. He selects the ship cargo, but each member of the crew has a cache of his own.

Steen Wilcox is the Astrogator of the ship. He sets the course to wherever Jellico wants to go.

Tang Ya is the Com-Tech of the ship. He tends the computer and communications resources of the ship.

John Stotz is the Chief Engineer of the ship. He keeps the ship as tight as possible.

Karl Kosti and Jasper Weeks are jetmen of the ship. They assist Stotz in keeping the ship fit. Weeks is a self-effacing native of Venus.

Craig Tau is the Medic of the ship. He looks out for the crew's health. He also has an interest in mental talents.

Frank Mura is the Cook-steward. He is a very good cook.

Sinbad is the ship's cat. He is a pet and controls the vermin on the ship.

Queex the Hoobat is the Captain's pet. He also hunts down vermin when he gets out of his cage.

Traxt Cam was a Free Trader. He had the trading rights ro Sargol, but then he was killed on Limbo. The Patrol assigned the rights to the Solar Queen because of their actions against the Jacks on Limbo.

Paft is a Salariki, the land sentients of Sargol. He is the chieftain of the clan where the trading grounds are located and thus is the senior in the trading circle.

In this story, the Solar Queen is on the planet Sargol. They had been using the rights for trade on the planet. The feline natives had traded with Traxt Cam for Koros stones, but they do not seem to have any interest in the Solar Queen.

When an Inter-Solar Corporation officer entered the trade circle, a kinsman of Paft raises the question of why there are two voices among the humans. The Solar Queen crew have the trading rights on Sargol. Paft gives the humans til noon to determine which voice will be heard.

The Eyesie have apparently heard of Cam's find. They approach the Solar Queen shortly after Paft's order. Ali commands them to halt when three I-S man approach the ramp.

The senior Eyesie demands to speak to the Captain. Ali says his Captain might deign to speak to him. Dane goes to report to Jellico.

Jellico and Van Rycke meet the Eyesies. The I-S Captain threatens the Solar Queen with the might of the I-S. Van Rycke records his comment and Jellico tells them to leave the planet before noon.

Two Salariki youngsters bring back Sinbad. The cat has been spending much of his time off the ship enjoying the smeels. A fixed trade has been established for his return.

One of the Salarikis wants to enter the ship. Dane decides to let him and follows behind. The youngster pauses at the top of the ramp to sniff the smells. Then he steps into the corridor and continues sniffing.

He suddenly finds a scent and races to hydroponics. Mura lets him into the ship's garden. He finds one plant and stood on tiptoe to smell the plant. He has found the catnip herbs.

Dane gives him a branch with three leaves. The cub races out of the ship. Dane reports the event to Van Rycke. The cargomaster takes him to Tau and asks if catnip is harmful to the natives.

This tale brings the chieftains of every clan in the trading circle. Even the Salariki women and the storm priests come. They all want to trade for catnip.

The Eyesie cargomaster interrupts the trade to quote trade regulations with Van Rycke. He is introduced to a storm priest who announces that the trade articles have been followed. The I-S cargomaster departs, but hasn't give up yet.

The Solar Queen crew discuss other scents that the Salariki might like. The next installment in this sequence is Voodoo Planet. This novel and Sargasso of Space are also available within the omnibus edition Solar Queen.

This novel is missing in most of the omnibus editions about the Solar Queen. Maybe because much of it takes place on Earth.

Highly recommended for Norton fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of strange planets, alien cultures and a persevering young man. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin

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