The Ship Who Sang Mass Market Paperback – Dec 12 1985
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
As fun to re-read as it was the first time. That was years ago but the characters remain believable Technology references may jibe but the people and circumstancess still ring truePublished 4 months ago by Bruce Banks
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. Read morePublished on May 10 2004 by Amazon Customer
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2004 by Avid Reader
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... Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2002 by Kotori
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 morePublished on Aug. 13 2001 by Plane chick
... 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 morePublished on July 9 2001 by Samanda b Jeude
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 morePublished on March 28 2001 by Leia