Summary and book reviews of Starfarers by Poul Anderson

Starfarers

by Poul Anderson

Starfarers
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    Readers' Opinion:

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

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Book Summary

The story of an expedition into the far reaches of the galaxy, where answers to mankind's greatest questions await.

Poul Anderson, one of science fiction's most treasured visionaries, returns with a new masterpiece. Starfarers is the story of an expedition into the far reaches of the galaxy, where answers to mankind's greatest questions await.

The saga begins when evidence of an advanced civilization is discovered by SETI astronomers. "Trails" observed in the sky are thought to be from starships traveling at the speed of light, an enigma that spurs scientific minds until this breakthrough is achieved by mankind as well. An expedition is then mounted and an eclectic team of scientists chosen to journey into the sector where the intelligent life is allegedly located. But because the destination of the starship, Envoy, and her crew is 60,000 light-years away, the time required to reach the point of origin of the signals and return is 120,000 years--longer than Homo sapiens has been on Earth. And though the crew is ready to face the ramifications of such a trek, no one is prepared for what awaits them at the outer edge of the cosmos--or back at the planet they once called home.

Starfarers is a story of patience and immediacy, but most of all of courage. It is a saga for anyone who has ever felt the emptiness of life on Earth and found the missing substance in the spaces between the stars. Poul Anderson's latest is the story of those who see the future in a clear night's sky and are ready to journey into it armed with both insight and passion.

Excerpt
Starfarers

"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, ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle.

For readers who miss the kind of fast-paced, idea-rich science fiction that Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke produced at the height of their powers, this is just the ticket.

The Washington Post

Anderson, far more than many new science fiction writers, takes the trouble to envision a genuinely strange, complex future for mankind.

Author Blurb Stephen R Donaldson
Anderson has produced more milestones in contemporary science fiction and fantasy than any one man is entitled to; but he writes with such integrity and imagination that it's impossible to begrudge him either the esteem of his readers or the admiration of his peers.

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