Tuf Voyaging Paperback – Nov 23 2004
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Not that any part of the story is weak but the ending is very very strong.
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.Read more ›
Although this is certainly early Martin, I would argue that we can definitely see the same qualities here that we love in his current set of fantasy triumphs. Characters stand out for their strong personalities and unshakable convictions. Tuf, portrayed as intelligent and self-confident but still holding a sense of humor, embodies the same strength and likeability that we find in Tyrion Lannister and other unforgettable creations. As in the "Song", minor characters are also well-developed in the space of just a few lines, creating genuine emotional intensity as they vie against Tuf. I should mention also that the humor is strong. Things that are supposed to be funny actually are funny.
The best story of the bunch is "The Plague Star", the opening chapter in which we see how Tuf acquires his ship and grow introduced to his tough but patient personality. This one is a minor masterpiece that pitches an entire crew into an every-man-for-himself battle where nobody can be trusted. (Petyr Baelish and Varys would feel right at home.) As with his later fantasy novels, Martin toys with the reader.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book is very good and I went through it fairly quickly. I liked Tuf but I didn't really care for his cats. Read morePublished 23 months ago by victoria
Fun Characters. I am a Science Fiction fan! I am also a fan of George RR Martin. Love his fantasy novels as well.Published on Dec 10 2013 by Gary Turneer
Surprising ,I don't normally read SiFi but this was a good read Great morality play about over population on a planetary scalePublished on Nov. 17 2013 by David Drake
This is a great read. I highly recommend it to sifi enthusiasts. It racks with George R.R. Martin's finest Book.Published on May 9 2013 by Don Reynolds
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I found Tuf to be a compelling character with lots of layers taken off as the novel progressed to a deeper understanding of this Tuf. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2013 by gustovwind
Superb writing. That's the name of the game for all of Martin's works that I have read (which, unfortunately, includes only the Song of Ice and Fire series and this collection of... Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2004