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The Ship Who Sang Mass Market Paperback – Dec 12 1985


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (Dec 12 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345334310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345334312
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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. Simply, She is one of two SF/Fantasy authors I buy in hardback. I'm enjoying reading the thoughts of people just discovering her, and also the controversy!
That said, THE SHIP WHO SANG is marvelous on many levels. Ms. McCaffrey has said that what she does best are love stories and Helva is as heroic yet soft-hearted as anyone could wish. As a silly little escape from the realities of the working world, this book succeeds. As a homage to her father, she overwhelms.
In a purely sci/fi vein, McCaffrey took the concept of cyborgs to a great extreme at a time when artificial heart valves and kidney transplants were in their infancy. The first functional pace maker didn't debut until 1960. The first of the Helva stories that make up this book came out in 1961. THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN didn't appear until twelve years later, when Helva and her peers (shell people) were already the elite of space exploration, single-handed managers of major metropolis's and coordinators of space mining platforms. STAR TREK didn't boldly go here until 1966! While it's not Jules Verne, this ain't too shabby!
I see the Helva stories as perfect to spark high school discussions. McCaffrey's unified galaxy, Central Worlds presaged our current move to a global economy by forty years. Her social consciousness emphasizes the need for the arts in a civilized society and serious issues like euthanasia, drug use and civic responsibility are all major themes. The entire concept of social protestors evolving into 'Dylanists' should set the stage for historical discussions of the Viet Nam Era and extrapolating Shakespearean universality into alien societies should do the same.
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By A Customer on Jan. 2 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unfortunately, intellectual snobs will use this lovely book to go off on tangents about words like "undulate" etc. etc. Ms. McCaffrey has done an outstanding job of making Helva one of the most lovable HUMAN people ever created. Her interactions with her fellow human beings either uncovers their true worth (as in the case of Niall Parollan), or shows the baser side of humanity. Somehow characters who get to know Helva forget that she is "a deformed dwarf in a titanium column, with only a functional brain". They tend to treat her like the wonderful exciting, sexy woman she was meant to be. It is not hard to believe that a man would have unfulfilled sexual notions about a woman like Helva. And just one comment to all the teachers who have a tendency towards censorship -- this book wasn't written with children in mind. It is for adults. The snobby sounding reviews from some teachers and university elitists makes them sound like self proclaimed superior intellectuals (and it makes a few of them sound sexually repressed). Give us a break and stick to reviewing Plato.
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