The Void Captain's Tale Hardcover – Dec 1982
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“Without doubt Norman Spinrad’s finest piece of science fiction.” —Michael Moorcock
About the Author
Norman Spinrad is the author of over twenty novels, including the acclaimed BUG JACK BARRON. He is a multiple nominee for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for science fiction achievement, an American Book Award Nominee writer, and winner of the Prix Apollo. He has written scripts for Star Trek and produced two feature films. He has also published over 60 short stories collected in half a dozen volumes, and his novels and stories have been published in over a dozen languages. He has been President of Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) three times. He is a tireless campaigner for authors' rights and is the creator of the "model contract" now in use by several writers' organizations. He's been a literary agent, President of World SF, briefly a radio phone show host, has appeared as a vocal artist on three albums, and occasionally performs live. He is a long time literary critic, sometime film critic, perpetual political analyst, and sometime songwriter. He grew up in New York, has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and Paris, and travelled widely in Europe and rather less so in Latin America, Asia, and Oceania. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
My only criticism is that I felt that Spinrad used a convoluted sentence structure much of the time, that coupled with frequent use of arcane words really did make this novel a chore to read, at least for me. Overall though, well worth reading.
Is this a classic? Not sure. It must be around 20 years old now, and certainly when first released it was regarded as prime new wave material - advetised in *Omni* no less! But of course age doesn't make it a classic.
It's certainly original: I can't think of any other tale in the genre predicated on starships propelled across space by the power of orgasm. But that doesn't mean this is a sex fantasy either. Spinrad makes the idea work, and casts the captain of his ship into a credible (at least within this premise) dilemma, and eventually a real bind ... with a very new wave lack-of-ending to boot.
The genre may have moved on from the needs to break through barriers of editorial conservatism that - in part - inspired books like this. In some ways 'The Void Captain's Tale' will seem terribly dated, and I have to say that I think other wirters have since tackled broadly similar ideas and one it better. So this re-release may be of more interest to people who are bona-fide fans of 70's sci-fi than to the general reader.
But if you want some idea of where the genre has come from, it's worth a look.
Dominique asks Genro to jump blind. His failing to set the proper navigational mix will free her so that she lands in eternal ecstasy inside the Void. Fascinated by her, he leans towards neglecting his duty to his crew, passengers and himself because no one knows what will happen if a ship jumps blind.
Though at times the use of "modern vernacular" slows down the story line because the reader needs time to interpret, THE VOID CAPTAIN'S TALE remains a strong science fiction novel. The theme compares sexual prowess with power and the hold that sexual needs have on humans (Freud must have been a passenger on the Dragon Zephyr). The tale is different, but works on several levels because readers can feel the magnetic tension between the Void Captain and the Void Pilot. First released in the 1980s Norman Spinrad's novel still spins quite a tale...
Most recent customer reviews
I have to admit that when I first started Spinrad's novel I found the tone and the use of so many foriegn words pretentious and irritating. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2002 by Mitchell Glodek
In an undefinedly distant future, humankind navigates to the stars using alien "Jump" technology aboard each Void Ship, which technology must be controlled by a Pilot, who must be... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2001 by Kevin W. Parker