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Sunday, September 17, 2006

more on science fiction

After looking over the science fiction list posted below, I've been thinking about The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey which I read probably 15 years ago. It belongs in the science fiction genre, although many of McCaffrey's works are fantasy.

Here are the first few paragraphs from the short story McCaffrey later developed into the novel:

She was born a thing and as such would be condemned if she failed to pass the encephalograph test required of all newborn babies. There was always the possibility that though the limbs were twisted, the mind was not; that though the ears would hear only dimly, the eyes see vaguely, the mind behind them was receptive and alert.
The electro-encephalogram was entirely favorable, unexpectedly so, and the news was brought to the waiting, grieving parents. There was the final, harsh decision: to give their child euthanasia or permit it to become an encapsulated "brain," a guiding mechanism in any one of a number of curious professions. As such, their offspring would suffer no pain, live a comfortable existence in a metal shell for several centuries, performing unusual service to Central Worlds.

She lived and was given a name, Helva... More here

Helva becomes a "brain ship" (those who have read Robin Hobbs' Live Ship Traders trilogy will note some similarities); Helva is a space ship whose brain manages all details of flight and operation, an advanced and human instrument with "the voice of an angel."

I'm about to abandon Golden Boy since I will only read a few pages at a time. I'm really enjoying the beautifully written A Map of Glass.


  1. i read the story from your link.. creepy. i don't think i'd read a book of hers based on this tho. i ended up skimming most of the made-up jargon.

  2. I didn't read all of the short story, but I did enjoy the novel. It seemed such an interesting take on the concept of sentient inanimate objects.

    You should be getting House on the Borderland soon. I put in the mail on Friday, I think. Now, that is a weird book!