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The Ship Who Sang: Fantasy Paperback – 23 Apr 1982


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New Ed edition (23 April 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552091154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552091152
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.2 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne McCaffrey was one of the world's leading science-fiction writers, and has won both the Hugo and Nebula awards as well as the Margaret A. Edwards' Lifetime Achievement Literary Award. Born and raised in the US, although of Irish extraction, she lived in Ireland, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, where, as well as writing, she bred horses. She was the creator of the Dragons of Pern series. She died in November 2011.

Product Description

Book Description

A novel by the creator of the Dragons of Pern

From the Back Cover

The brain was perfect, the tiny, crippled body useless. So technology rescued the brain and put it in an environment that conditioned it to live in a different kind of body - a spaceship.

Here the human mind, more subtle, infinitely more complex than any computer ever devised, could be linked to the massive and delicate strengths, the total recall, and the incredible speeds of space. But the brain behind the ship was entirely feminine - a complex, loving, strong, weak, gentle savage - a personality, all-woman, called Helva...


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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
Anne McCaffrey, the author of The Ship Who Sang, is a popular science fiction writer. The Ship Who Sang was her first book of her brain series: stories about physically impaired children that were transformed into shells and then wired into spaceships. Just like her other books, The Ship Who Sang is exciting and enticing. I have not read another book that was more compelling than this one, which is due to the emphasized human interaction, great title, unbearable suspense and profound character development. The Ship Who Sang is about Helva, a "brain" ship whose brave and legendary voyages gained her freedom in the short time of ten years. Yet, instead of accepting her independence, Helva remains in the service to be with the man she loved. This ultimate sacrifice is beautifully developed and is probable one of the main driving forces to the book's success. Yet, another important aspect of the book is its relevance to society. Instead of focusing on the supernatural powers of "brain" ships, Anne decides to focus on the human nature of these unusual spaceships. Thus, human ideals are made more powerful and important than the boring, unchanging power of a machine (this is especially refreshing to me since most science fiction novels focus on the unbelievable powers of their world). This allows current issues like euthanasia and cloning to be cleverly inserted and debated upon. Thus, by disobeying the archetypal science fiction book, Anne McCaffrey has introduced a new brand of fiction that combines romance, adventure and science fiction. In any book, the first impression is made by the title. The Ship Who Sang is a good representation of the book. Right away, we know the story is about a singing ship.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms. H. Sinton on 7 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the first, and the best, of Anne McCaffrey’s Brainship stories. A young woman, Helva was born with terrible physical problems that were incompatible with any kind of independent life. New technology allowed her to be encased in a titanium shell that formed the core of a spaceship, with her brain wired up to the ship, allowing her to use her formidable intellect to act as the craft’s central ‘computer’. She has become the first of the ‘Brainships’ and can now have a freedom and independence of sorts, the freedom to travel between the stars accompanied by the pilot who will be her ‘Brawn’. Helva proves to have a love of music and an incredible voice to go with it; her constant singing leads to her fame as ‘The Ship Who Sang’.
It’s hard to believe this book was written so long ago, it has certainly stood the test of time and is as enjoyable now as it has ever been. McCaffrey has introduced the idea of cyborg technology in a way that makes you question the morality of combining man and machine and to think about issues such as euthanasia. She never loses sight of the humanity of this young ‘hybrid’ however, and Helva’s development and growth as a person makes for moving reading. Granted this isn’t a heavyweight of literature, don’t expect lengthy prose or hard science, and occasionally the book lapses into more of a romance than a sci-fi story, but that aside, this is still a really good read. Keep an open mind and give it a chance, you won’t be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kali on 14 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
When I read this book I was surprised to see it had first been published in the 1960s. The idea of a ship controlled by a human brain is so 21st century I was amazed that Anne McCraffey had come up with the idea so early on in the 20th century!
The story centers around Helva, born with terrible physical defects, her brain is transplanted into a metal shell until she is old enough to be put inside a Space Craft where she will merge with the technology and become part of the ship. Her relationship with her pilots and passengers is poignantly portrayed, whilst her ability to sing is nurtured by those she comes to love and trust.
Helva is not just a dispossessed brain implanted into a space ship, she is totally human, she loves, she grieves, she gets angry. She is all woman but she is also part of a machine that has work to do among the many planets littered across the universe. Helva becomes aware that machines with brains also can go rouge, as humans do, but even though she looses a pilot she loves, she remains true to her designation and learns to adapt to every situation thrust upon her by the humans she works with and for.
The title refers to Helva's ability to sing, something she does out of love for her first pilot, and it is her singing that teaches her more about her human/machine soul, than anything she has learnt through study or experience. This is a quirky, curious novel about a human/ship hybrid, and is well worth reading, just for the wonderful ideas it comes up with. For example Helva is paid a salary to maintain herself, as well as being allowed to choose her companions (pilots.
The plot itself is fragmented in that it is not continuous, rather many little stories are being told as Helva takes on various missions and meets an assortment of people both good and bad. An interesting idea that works and reads well. Well worth buying.
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