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Tuf Voyaging [Paperback]

George R. R. Martin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 23 2004
From the multiple award-winning, best-selling author of The Song of Ice and Fire series: Haviland Tuf is an honest space-trader who likes cats. So how is it that, in competition with the worst villains the universe has to offer, he's become the proud owner of the last seedship of Earth's legendary Ecological Engineering Corps? Never mind, just be thankful that the most powerful weapon in human space is in good hands-hands which now control cellular material for thousands of outlandish creatures. With his unique equipment, Tuf is set to tackle the problems human settlers have created in colonizing far-flung worlds: hosts of hostile monsters, a population hooked on procreation, a dictator who unleashes plagues to get his own way... and in every case the only thing that stands between the colonists and disaster is Tuf's ingenuity-and his reputation as an honest dealer in a universe of rogues... Tuf Voyaging interior illustrations by Janet Aulisio. Included will be her original eight illustrations, along with 28 newly commissioned ones.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This "novel" brings together a decade's worth of stories about Haviland Tuf, an honest but thoroughly small-time interstellar trader who happens to acquire a centuries-old and miles-long seed-ship of the once powerful Earth Ecological Corps. Originally a deadly weapon, it alone preserves the secrets of a now-forgotten science and still functions well enough to create, gene-splice and clone any of a myriad species of plant and animal, both benevolent and destructive. The eccentric but ethical Tuf now styles himself an ecological engineer and wields his ship's treasures to solve the problems plaguing farflung settlements, from famine to sea serpents. These colorful tales mostly skirt the more interesting and prickly issue of Tuf's playing god to fundamentally change the cultures he encounters. Still, the seed-ship is a wonderful idea and Tuf, protecting his pet cats from the charge they are useless "vermin," is a droll hero.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise for "Tuf Voyaging"" " "A rich blend of adventure, humor, compassion and all the other things that make being human worthwhile."--"Analog" "A new facet of Martin's manysided talent."--"Asimov's" Praise for George R. R. Martin "Of those who work in the grand epic-fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best. In fact . . . this is as good a time as any to proclaim him the American Tolkien."--"Time "" " "Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers."--"The New York Times"" " "I always expect the best from George R. R. Martin, and he always delivers."--Robert Jordan --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim, I have always been a fan of the movie Silent Running and thought this had a similar premise (turns out it doesn't really, but that's ok).
First off I have to say that the book is a little oddly constructed. I am tired of the one line author bios ("Lives in Maine with his wife and four cats...") but in the end papers of Tuf Voyaging we get Mr. Martin's CV for goodness sake. The man has a lot to be proud of, but really, come on. Let's keep the ego in check a little.
Besides, the book speaks for itself. I understand it is "cobbled" together from stories published previously, but for myself, coming in unawares, the chapters work just fine. The opening chapter deals with how Tuf gets an amazing space ship, a bio-engineering "ark" (in one of the less subtle moments the ship is named, um, The Ark). Then we get introduced to an over populated planet in need of help (and desiring The Ark). Then a few more chapters, cleverly showing how Tuf uses the Ark in unexpected ways to both help people and satisfy his sense of morals.
The books works because a) it is endlessly inventive, always the hallmark of good science fiction, and b) clever in execution. Each chapter lays out an interesting problem which Tuf then proceeds to, in his own droll way, solve. Not always the way people expect or want him too, but in a way which is interesting nonetheless.
I do have to agree the novel ends some what poorly. Martin boxes himself into a corner and then offers a fairly mediocre (if not logical) way out, but the rest of the book more than makes up for it.
Hey, it's a fun read, it makes you think (and imagine) and yet does not dumb things down or present silly ideas just for shock or novelty value. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read Nov. 17 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Surprising ,I don't normally read SiFi but this was a good read Great morality play about over population on a planetary scale
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book May 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great read. I highly recommend it to sifi enthusiasts. It racks with George R.R. Martin's finest Book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it! Dec 10 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fun Characters. I am a Science Fiction fan! I am also a fan of George RR Martin. Love his fantasy novels as well.
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Format:Paperback
The half dozen short stories centre on Haviland Tuf, a fastidious, pompous, somewhat misanthropic character, who outsmarts his foes, and appears to be the only person with integrity in the whole universe. The superior prequel story describes how he gained possession of an ancient but technologically massively advanced juggernaut - its most crucial capacity is genetics. Tuf can create virtually any species he wants - from devastating viruses to gentle cute grass-eaters to beasts of nightmare.
 
The story that started this collection (all written for Analog) probably came from the old notion that the technology we have now would make past cultures view us as God/s. In 'Call Him Moses', Martin sets up a self-styled prophet who takes over a planet by (secretly non-miraculously) reproducing most of the plagues of Exodus - the executive hand over office under threat of the first born'plague'.
 
Our 'hero' deliberately appears to this dictator as a pillar of light, saying I am the Lord God. With his far greater technology he displaces the 'false prophet'. Martin pushes this pretty hard, having his (not ironic or undermined) protagonist sincerely say for all intents and purposes in this case he is God because of the planet altering powers his ship gives him.
 
The same theme is explored in 'Manna from Heaven', written seven years later. Faced with an absurdly overpopulated planet which, after every chance to work on birth control (something their religion abhors), is descending into anarchy and expansionist warfare, Tuf devises a plant that will essentially sterilise 99% of the population.
"You have no right," declares the (straw woman) president of the planet. "...Who the hell gave you the authority to make that decision for them? ... You're no better than we are.
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