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Orbiter SC Paperback – 12 May 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (12 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401202683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401202682
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 0.5 x 25.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 728,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Publisher's Weekly, September 15th 2003: " Ellis has struck gold...giving this story an emotional depth far beyond that of typical sci-fi." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Warren Ellis has worked for Marvel Comics on X-Men, for DC/WildStorm (The Authority, Transmetropolitan and the award-winning Planetary) and on an array of titles, including Ministry of Space, and the forthcoming Morning Dragons and Scars. Colleen Doran has illustrated Neil Gaiman's multi-award-winning Sandman series, and is writer and artist of A Distant Soil, a multiple award-winning series in its own right. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
a graphic novel by writer warren ellis, drawn by artist colleen doran, and coloured by colourist dave stewart. a one off story complete in one hundred pages. It tells of a near future america where the manned space programme was abandoned ten years previously after the space shuttle venture disappeared with all hands. only unmanned space flight has taken place since.

yet one day, at cape kennedy which is now home to lots of transient families [a very striking image that opens the book] the venture suddenly comes home.

It's covered in something strange. Only one of the crew is on board. and he's not talking.

Can a rocket scientist, a former astronaut, and a psychologist help the military get to the bottom of the mystery?

both a science fiction mystery and a novel of character, orbiter centres on the first three of the above mentioned protagonists. altough the military guy is a pretty decent character in his own right. all three of them have their own reasons for dreaming of manned space flight resuming. they investigate the mystery, slowly find the answers [which get a bit technical at times but not desperately so] and their lives are changed by what happens as a result.

a book written and drawn by fans of space flight. and it shows. it considers what draws human beings to the prospect, and why humanity needs and wants to explore. all the characters develop nicely. The artwork and the colouring are very nice, and the end - if you have a sense of wonder - will make you smile.

and if you don't have a sense of wonder, that's your loss. Hopefully this book might inspire you to get one.

there is some strong language in this so it's for grown up readers only
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "scribeoflight" on 13 Jun. 2003
Format: Hardcover
'Orbiter' opens with images (I fell in love with Colleen Doran's art on page 2, and became more infatuated through every frame) of an abandoned Kennedy Space Centre now housing the poor and dispossessed of a near-future USA - the familiar NASA architecture delapidated, augmented by the detritus of poverty; clean white buildings replaced with shabby tents, abandoned cars, rubbish. Then, having glimpsed the future, things start to go a bit wild. A space shuttle, lost for ten years, returns to earth, landing amongst this ramshackle setting (killing, it is later shown, a good number of the inhabitants). And it seems to be covered in skin. Plus, test samples indicate that it landed on Mars. Techically, it is all impossible. The shuttle, and crew, couldn't last that long in space. Unless, of course, they were helped.
So begins a truly imaginative science fiction narrative - one of the best to ever grace the shelves of a comic shop. And if that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, it may help to learn that 'Orbiter' is written by Warren Ellis - so we're spared nothing; intensity levels dialled up to eleven. There is wonder and awe, in spades; and there is disgusting, strange, weirdness, until you're left wondering exactly where some of the ideas come from. But just as Ellis knows where to pile it on, he also knows when to pull it back in: the final scene is perfect, understated and subtle. Whether you're a reader of science fiction who has never touched a graphic novel, or a comic-buyer who rarely touches straight SF, 'Orbiter' is simply a must-have book.
Additionally, Warren Ellis' introduction, rewritten in light of recent events, is itself a great piece of prose - autobiographical and journalistic, it is a commentary on the need for space-stories (and space exploration), more now than ever. 'Orbiter' was always going to be a great book, but after the loss of 'Columbia' it has become important in ways it wouldn't have been before. And Ellis pins down why.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 100 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
In a world where one too many shuttle expeditions to space have gone wrong, the only explorations into space are now made in unmanned shuttles while the astronauts and other humans are left on Earth. Then suddenly an old shuttle comes hurtling back into the atmosphere containing a sole survivor - a man who should have died years ago. Even stranger he's been to Mars, something his shuttle didn't have the capability of doing. Even stranger still it seems he's been beyond our galaxy... but how?

"Orbiter" is probably my least favourite Warren Ellis book. I say this because it's the only book of his I haven't been able to finish, despite only being 100 pages long. First off the story isn't very clear. Humans now live in shanty towns but its unclear why. How is this level of poverty associated with space travel?

Secondly, I didn't care about the story of the "Orbiter" returning. Maybe this is because I recently read a far superior Ellis space story "Ocean" but this one seemed quite dull. The "mystery" which I didn't find out about was probably some alien who attached himself to the shuttle and thus made it travel great distances far beyond a shuttle's capabilities.

Thirdly, most of the story takes place in the drab, dirty area of a derelict Cape Canaveral. Not exactly visually appealing. This isn't a slight against Colleen Doran who does a decent illustrating job, but all of that grey and brown amid junk and debris doesn't exactly lift up the sub-par script.

Fourthly, a lot of pseudo-scientific nonsense takes up the majority of the text. It's unreadable and uninteresting, especially when Ellis tries to attach some of his humour at the end of lots of exposition. It doesn't work.
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