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Rite of Passage [Hardcover]

Alexei Panshin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition 3.84  
Hardcover --  
Hardcover, Feb 1969 --  
Paperback 10.24  
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Book Description

Feb 1969
In 2198, one hundred and fifty years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on a hundred hastily-established colony worlds and in the seven giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars. Mia Havero's Ship is a small closed society. It tests its children by casting them out to live or die in a month of Trial in the hostile wilds of a colony world. Mia Havero's Trial is fast approaching and in the meantime she must learn not only the skills that will keep her alive but the deeper courage to face herself and her world. Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd (Feb 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0283980532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283980534
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,439,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A second reading really surprised me 5 Oct 2005
By Alianor
Format:Paperback
I first read this book more than 20 years ago. I remembered some of the basics of the plot but not too much more. It's the story of Mia Havero, aged 12 when the story begins and 14 when it ends. She's one of a number of priviledged survivors of a catastrophe, caused by unlimited population growth, which destroyed Planet Earth. She lives on a spaceship created in an asteroid, with access to education and technology, while less fortunate descendants of Earth's survivors live on colonies on planets scattered throughout the galaxy. In order to control population growth, the citizens of the Ships are sent down to planets for 30 days after they turn 14, to survive as best they can with some pretty extensive training and a limited amount of supplies and tools. This is the Rite of Passage.
The story is told in 1st person and at times I felt it went into a bit too much detail, but Mia's voice is very convincing and I was impressed that the author -- who I think was in his 20s at the time he wrote this -- could write from the point of view of an adolescent girl so well. The future society he's created is very interesting and the book is a fast, easy read. But it's not simple. It raises a lot of moral questions which, when I read the book for the first time in my teens, mostly passed me by. After rereading it recently, I was left feeling actually quite shocked by the ending. The book is very thought-provoking, and like the best science fiction, it raises more questions than it answers. Highly recommended -- I gave it 4 stars only because I think it could have been a bit more tightly written and/or edited.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A second reading really surprised me 5 Oct 2005
By Alianor
Format:Paperback
I first read this book more than 20 years ago. I remembered some of the basics of the plot but not too much more. It's the story of Mia Havero, aged 12 when the story begins and 14 when it ends. She's one of a number of priviledged survivors of a catastrophe, caused by unlimited population growth, which destroyed Planet Earth. She lives on a spaceship created in an asteroid, with access to education and technology, while less fortunate descendants of Earth's survivors live on colonies on planets scattered throughout the galaxy. In order to control population growth, the citizens of the Ships are sent down to planets for 30 days after they turn 14, to survive as best they can with some pretty extensive training and a limited amount of supplies and tools. This is the Rite of Passage.
The story is told in 1st person and at times I felt it went into a bit too much detail, but Mia's voice is very convincing and I was impressed that the author -- who I think was in his 20s at the time he wrote this -- could write from the point of view of an adolescent girl so well. The future society he's created is very interesting and the book is a fast, easy read. But it's not simple. It raises a lot of moral questions which, when I read the book for the first time in my teens, mostly passed me by. After rereading it recently, I was left feeling actually quite shocked by the ending. The book is very thought-provoking, and like the best science fiction, it raises more questions than it answers. Highly recommended -- I gave it 4 stars only because I think it could have been a bit more tightly written and/or edited.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Rite 5 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback
I borrowed this book from an aqcuaintance a few years ago and have been looking for it ever since. I truly enjoyed it the first time, found it to be an inspired tale and a very well written insight into the mind of a twelve year old girl given that the author is neither female nor twelve years of age when he wrote the book (to my limited knowledge).
I really enjoyed the attention to detail; of a world which doesn't (yet) exist, of the thought processes of the main characters. I felt that although the main character, Mia Havero, is going through a maturing process designed to bring her to adulthood, she still maintains the thoughts and feelings of a 'normal' teenager. She is no 'genius child of the future', just an ordinary kid with ordinary feelings who is thrust into a situation she has little or no control over.
I thought that it reflected real-life to a degree, although metaphorically, as all young people go through an experience in life that defines the person they later become.
On a lighter note, it is also a really good read, with excitement and new ideas, colourful characters and a complete story that leaves you mildly interested in what might happen next but not chomping at the bit for a sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem 1 July 2008
Format:Paperback
Other reviewers have told you about the story.
This book is one of the unforgettables, with a permanent place in my library. I re-read it every few years, often finding something new in it.
An outstanding piece of work.
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