Excerpt from Starfarers by Poul Anderson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


by Poul Anderson

Starfarers by Poul Anderson X
Starfarers by Poul Anderson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 1998, 383 pages
    Oct 1999, 512 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Look yonder." The man pointed northeast and aloft. "That very bright star in the Milky Way Do you know it?"

"Yes," answered his son. 'Alpha Centauri. The nearest to us. it's two, really, and a third that is dim."

Don Lucas Nansen Ochoa nodded, pleased. Juan was barely past his seventh birthday "Now look up from it, a little to your right. That other brilliant one is Beta Centauri."

"Is it close, too?"

"No, it's far off Almost seventy times as far, I have read. But it shines thousands of times as bright as our sun. Most of those we see are giants. Else our eyes could not find them across their distances."

Man and boy sat their horses for a while in silence. They had drawn rein after leaving well behind them the house and its outbuildings, walled off by a cedar grove. The autumn air rested cool, still, and altogether clear. They had light enough without a moon, stars crowding heaven, galactic belt gleaming frosty. The Paraguayan plain rolled away through this dusk toward darkness, grassland broken by stands of trees and big, stump­shaped anthills. No cattle were in view, but now and then a lowing went mournfully through the early night.

"Where are they?" whispered the boy at last. Awe shivered in his words.

Don Lucas's hand traced an arc along the constellation. "Look on upward from Beta, to your left. Epsilon ­ do you see it? ­ and, past it, Zeta. The name Zeta means it's the sixth brightest in the Centaur. That's where the signs are.

"At Zeta?"

"No, as nearly as I can find out from the news, that star just happens to be in our line of sight to the things. They are actually far beyond it."

'Are they ... are they coming here?"

"Nobody knows. But none of them are headed straight toward us. And we don't know what they are, natural or artificial or what. All the astronomers can say is that there are those fiery points of X rays moving very fast, very far away. The news programs yammer about an alien civilization, but really, it's too soon for anybody to tell." Don Lucas laughed a bit. "Least of all an old estanciero like me. I'm sorry, you asked me to explain what's been on the television, and I cannot say much more than that you must be patient."

Juan pounced. 'Are you?"

"Um­m, I hope they'll corral the truth while I'm still above ground. But you should surely live to hear it."

"What do you think?"

Don Lucas straightened in the saddle. Juan saw his face shadowed by the wide­brimmed hat like a pair of wings against the sky. "I may be wrong, of course," he said. "Yet I dare hope someone is faring from star to star, and someday men will."

Suddenly overwhelmed, cold lightnings aflicker in him, the boy stared past his father, outward and outward. It was as if he felt the planet whirling beneath him, about to cast him off into endlessness; and his spirit rejoiced. He became the grandfather of Ricardo Nansen Aguilar.


With never a sight of beautiful, changeable Earth, Farside gained a night which stars made into no more than a setting for their brilliance. And the Lunar bulk shielded it from the radio noise of the mother world; and the stable mass underfoot and the near­vacuum overhead were likewise ideal for many kinds of science. It was no wonder that some of the most gifted people alive were gathered here, in spite of monastic quarters and minimal amenities. Besides, Muramoto thought, those should improve. Already the desolation of stone and dust was redeemed by an austere elegance of domes, detectors, dishes, taut and silvery power lines.

Excerpted from Starfarers by Poul Anderson. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Published by Tor Books. No part of this book can be reproduced without permission from the publisher. Copyright (c) 1998 Poul Anderson,

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...
  • Book Jacket: Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Tara Westover had the kind of upbringing most of us can only imagine. She was the youngest of seven ...
  • Book Jacket: The Girls in the Picture
    The Girls in the Picture
    by Melanie Benjamin
    Melanie Benjamin's fine historical novel about the relationship between two women in the early ...
  • Book Jacket: The Driest Season
    The Driest Season
    by Meghan Kenny
    On a summer afternoon in 1943, an almost sixteen-year-old Cielle Jacobson walks into the family barn...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The House of Broken Angels
    by Luis Alberto Urrea

    The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story from an acclaimed storyteller.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano

    A charming, bighearted novel starring Auntie Poldi, Sicily's newest amateur sleuth.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Y L D W D, Y'll G U W Fleas

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.