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The Ship Who Sang [Mass Market Paperback]

Anne McCaffrey
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 12 1985
Helva had been born human, but only her brain had been saved and implanted into the titanium body of an intergalactic scout ship. But first she had to choose a human partner, to soar with her through the daring adventures and exhilarating escapades in space.

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About the Author

Anne McCaffrey was one of the world's leading science-fiction writers, and won both the Hugo and Nebula awards as well as the Margaret A. Edwards' Lifetime Achievement Literary Award. Born and raised in the US, although of Irish extraction, she spent the last years of her life in Ireland, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains. She died in 2011 at the age of eighty-five. She is the creator of the Dragons of Pern series. Her website is www.annemccaffrey.net --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne McCaffrey at her best June 28 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first, and the best, of Anne McCaffre''s Brainship stories. A young woman, Helva was born with terrible physical problems that were incompatible with any kind of independent life. New technology allowed her to be encased in a titanium shell that formed the core of a spaceship, with her brain wired up to the ship, allowing her to use her formidable intellect to act as the craft's central 'computer'. She has become the first of the 'Brainships' and can now have a freedom and independence of sorts, the freedom to travel between the stars accompanied by the pilot who will be her 'Brawn'. Helva proves to have a love of music and an incredible voice to go with it; her constant singing leads to her fame as The Ship Who Sang.

It's hard to believe this book was written so long ago, it has certainly stood the test of time and is as enjoyable now as it has ever been. McCaffrey has introduced the idea of cyborg technology in a way that makes you question the morality of combining man and machine and to think about issues such as euthanasia. She never loses sight of the humanity of this young 'hybrid' however, and Helva's development and growth as a person makes for moving reading. Granted this isn't a heavyweight of literature, don't expect lengthy prose or hard science, and occasionally the book lapses into more of a romance than a sci-fi story, but that aside, this is still a really good read. Keep an open mind and give it a chance, you won't be disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful McCaffrey book! May 10 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a huge Anne McCaffrey fan. I have been putting off reading this book though. I shouldn't have. It was wonderful. I did not realize the book was written in the early 60's. I expected it to be dated in some of its technology. It was not. Anne McCaffrey was way ahead of her time. A light easy read that pulls you into the story of Helva and compels you seek out the following books. A great introduction to Anne McCaffrey that leaves a reader wanting more.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Undeveloped in several areas Jan. 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ok, right off the bat you have a brain separated from its body. How such an organ operates without sensory input is, well, better left to the science fiction writers. Anyway, the brain not only thinks but talks and even sings, with the "voice of an angel". Yes, I know this is a physical impossible without a mouth but hey, this is the space age and anything goes.
While exploring and practicing for the Met, Ms Brain (Helga) suddenly discovers Mr. Right who, unfortunately happens to be a "real" person who is "really" attached to his brain. You'd think with all her great powers she could simply invent the perfect mate and do bad things in cyberland. But she wants the real McCoy and on the way battles a lot of bad guys. What can you say? It's like a combination of the worst of the original Star Treks (gorgeous aliens and cardboard rocks) and one of those "books for the wellbred teenage young lady". Belongs in the Romance Section.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Very good Aug. 22 2002
By Kotori
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book best, of all A MC's work. You sympathise with the character, you feel what is happening through the powerfully written words, reinforced with the imagery evoked by lyrics from Dylan, who is held up as a future Icon. (well hell, he is one now!) We love Nyal and his inadequacies as a person, and identify with the ship... I read it too long ago to be sure I even get the names right, but I can darn well remember the feel of them!
It's a great book and well worth reading, the first of the "ships who..." stuff, and the best. More scifi than fantasy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A living spaceship with the voice of an angel April 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This short story collection marks the genesis of the concept of 'brainships' in McCaffrey's Central Worlds universe: infants born so damaged that they cannot survive without life support, but whose minds are sharp and alert. Given a matchless education at Central Lab Schools, they don't strap on prosthetics - some become space stations or city managers. Those with a head for starflight mathematics, like Helva, may become brainships - the 'brain' half of a brain/brawn team, a human mind installed in a spaceship.
See also "Honeymoon" in McCaffrey's _Get Off the Unicorn_ for the tale of one of Helva's missions to Beta Corvi that didn't make it into this book.
"The Ship Who Sang" - Helva is unusual in that she developed her particular hobby while quite young: moving from a passion for Shakespeare, to grand opera, to overcome the technical difficulties in learning to sing. But there's a reason shellpeople don't consider themselves handicapped in any way...
"The Ship Who Mourned" - Helva has just endured the funeral of her beloved brawn partner; only to be expected, given the difference in their lifespans, but that doesn't help the sharp edge of her grief. MedServ's usual lack of sensitivity has sent her straight back out to carry physiotherapist Theoda to treat the survivors of a plague that left the few surviving victims paralyzed. And Helva sees more mourning than her own...
"The Ship Who Killed" - MedServ has assigned Helva a 3-year mission and a new brawn (temporary, but for the duration of the mission) with an unusual twist. Nekkar's entire population has been left sterile by a radiation flare from their star, and Helva and Kira now have Assignment Stork: delivering thousands of embryos to Nekkar from worlds all over known space.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR MCCAFFREY FANS!
I am a second generation McCaffrey fan, raising the third generation. My 15-year old daughter and I both thouroughly enjoyed "The Ship Who Sang". Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2001 by Plane chick
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that literally changed my life...
... as in, it gave me hope to go on. Helva's struggles as she loves, loses, and grows were like an atomic blast to a 15-year old -- "I'm *not* a cripple!" -- in 1968. Read more
Published on July 9 2001 by Samanda b Jeude
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT ON MANY LEVELS
It never occured to me to write, or even read a 'customer review' of Anne McCaffrey. I've enjoyed her since I was eighteen years old. Read more
Published on May 2 2001 by Gerald J. Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality
This book was one of the most realistic books I have ever read. McCaffrey created Helva to be such a powerful character, that I couldn't once find fault with her work. Read more
Published on March 29 2001 by Leia
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!
I first read this book several years ago, and I loved it then, and I love it now. The plot is wonderful, telling different stages of her development as a person, and adjusting to... Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars People of intelligence will love this book.
Unfortunately, intellectual snobs will use this lovely book to go off on tangents about words like "undulate" etc. etc. Ms. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who misunderstand
I've read many of these reviews, and a lot of them seem to be about censorship.
If you want to censor what people read, go ahead, but giving a book one star because it... Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
When I read this book I was surprised to see it had first been published in the 1960s. The idea of a ship controlled by a human brain is so 21st century I was amazed that Anne... Read more
Published on June 8 2000 by Kali
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