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Orbital Resonance Mass Market Paperback – Dec 15 1992

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (Dec 15 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812532384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812532388
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.7 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,779,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Thirteen-year-old Melpomene Murray lives on the Flying Dutchman , an asteroid set into an Earth-Mars orbit, for use in shipping resources back to a devastated Earth. Its Planners devised a scheme for psychological conditioning in order to keep the new generation dedicated to the asteroid; but these adolescents--bright, motivated and exceptionally well educated--end up being even more rebellious than usual. Melpomene, assigned to write a book about her life in space, describes the tumult that begins when a student transfers in from Earth. His arrival highlights what is unique about the artificial society of the asteroid. Barnes ( Sin of Origin ) offers up Melpomene's first draft, which makes for an occasionally rough read but allows him to vary the chronology. The action is limited, but what does occur is well motivated, perfectly in keeping with the characters involved. Barnes's concentration on personal interactions allows him to hold up a polished mirror to our own society, reflecting a less than flattering image but resulting in a thought-provoking book.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Teenager Melpomene Murray's life aboard "The Flying Dutchman," an asteroid colony, consists primarily of school, friends, parental difficulties, and dreaded lessons on the condition of Earth--a troubled planet with which she feels little connection. When an Earthborn student joins her class, Melpomene begins to question her own upbringing and realizes that all is not as it seems. Barnes's ( Sin of Origin , Harlequin Bks., 1989) latest novel succeeds in visualizing the reality of life in space. His choice of narrator lends a welcome freshness to this standard sf theme. A good selection for most sf and YA collections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
(...)I like well written stories written from a child's perspective.
_Orbital Resonance_ is supposed to contain all those elements and more, so what happened? Why did I find this book such a major disappointment?
First, all the characters were names attached to concepts rather than people. You the concept called "Bully", "The Reformed Bully", the "Girl Who Is Growing Breasts", the "Shy But Smart Kid" and on and on. Those descriptions basically sum up the whole character development that you get for all the characters introduced in the book.
Second, the main cardboard character has empathy for people, and the writer shows by the character continually hugging and kissing everyone, but we don't get to see or hear why this character is empathetic, or what she's thinking, or why. I guess it's "enough" that if a character hugs every other character, this is a wonderful empathic character.
Third, the dialog is so shallow in most cases. Here is a typical example:
"I'm sorry."
"No, I'm sorry."
There was a hushed silence, then a the main character tittered a laugh.
"Gosh, um, I'm so embarrassed."
"It's all right. I like you."
"Wow, that's a relief, I really like the fact that you like me."
"Me too."
The characters hugged each other and wiped away a few tears.
This type of writing that spews from the page, on and on. A few instances of this, I can take, but if the entire book is devoted to scenes like this, it gets real boring and insulting real fast.
Fourth, the whole notion of the characters being "smart" doesn't come across well in the writing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the book that introduced many of us to John Barnes. For many of us, it is still our favorite. A lot of very "Barnesian" ideas are established here. For one thing, all of his books except for Mother of Storms and One for the Morning Glory are written in the first person. What probably hooked me more than anything else on his writing is that he chose to make his debut with a book written from the first person of a 13 year old girl. Personally, I can't think of any demographic that I have LESS in common with than teenage girls. And I certainly wouldn't attempt to write a novel from that perspective. Barnes has an incredible gift for putting himself in his characters' shoes and telling it from their point of view. Regardless of how radically different their personalities are, they always seem authentic. How the different personalities of Melpomene Murray, Currie Curran, Joshua Ali Quare and Giraut Leone could all spring from the same mind and all feel unique and authentic is a trick I'll certainly never master. (I guess that's why he's published and I'm not.) Comparisons to Ender's Game are appropriate. Even though Melpomene and Ender have very little in common, they are both written by superb authors who managed to authentically empathize with children.
Another precedent here is that he doesn't pull any punches. Melpomene is a 13 year old girl. Well, she's gonna face situations that a 13 year old girl would likely face, and she's going to deal with them the way a 13 year old girl realistically would. That means it might make you occasionally blush. (However, despite a certain reviewer's knee-jerk reaction, this is NOT a book about adolescent girls describing their orgasms.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
All told, this was a fun book, and Barnes should be given lots of credit for writing from the viewpoint of a thirteen year old girl (which I can say from experience is one of the most self absorbed groups on the planet . . .) and making it utterly entertaining, he definitely pulls you into the world he's created and makes you care for his characters. What we have here is a future Earth that is being ravaged by diseases and wars and the usual stuff that always happens in the future, and so a lot of people have pulled themselves into an orbiting colony in an attempt to get above it all while the earth pulls itself together. Enter our protagonist, Mel (I won't even try to spell her whole name) who is concerned with the usual thirteen year old fascinations, puberty, boys, classwork and friends and . . . oh yeah, saving the world. Or at least getting ready to run it. But all of that seems almost secondary to the writings of this young girl, we get a peek into her and the life of teenagers and how their social pecking order works. Mel's a fascinating character, she loves her family, can act real annoying sometimes and alternates wallowing in angst and self congratulation. When her father admits that the kids are being conditioned psychologically to want to help save the world and run it, her reaction is quite realistic considering the circumstances and you can't help but feel for her. However, Barnes doesn't have much to say about the interactions of teenagers other than the usual amazement of how cruel and kind they can be to each other at the same time, most of the clique stuff you can see coming a mile off once the gears start rolling and that familiarity takes away from some of its emotional impact. Most of the adults except for maybe her father are ciphers, especially her mother.Read more ›
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