Most helpful positive review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A great, enjoyable book with wonderful focus on human ideals
on 21 February 2001
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. Furthermore, the use of the word "who" instead of "that" indicates that the ship is partially human. Thus, we have a human ship or a "brain" ship. Singing is also important, as it is one of the minor themes of the book. In a future where ships are forced to learn "trajectory, propulsion techniques, computation, logistics, mental hygiene, basic alien psychology, philogy...", there is no requirement for arts. Ironically, Helva's singing is the linchpin to her success in three of the four missions. Thus, by showing the importance of arts in the book, Anne is trying to protest the diminution and discouragement of art and music in our current world.
If there is a weakness in this book, it is its banal plot. After all, many stories contain odysseys of women who make a sacrifice to marry the man they loved. Although marred by being unoriginal, the plot is superseded by its suspense and character development. From the beginning, Helva was predestined for glory but I somehow wanted to see and read more about her adventures. Part of this compulsion may have been the extraordinary character development. Although the story was told in episodic events, Helva's character development was unified and well developed. The third person point of view gave us Helva's gave us a deep insight into her feelings and thoughts so that we could actually feel and predict her emotions at the end of the book.
I give this book a 9 /10. Its suspense and adventures made it entertaining and fun to read. The creativity of Anne McCaffrey was perpetual with the beautiful usage of human ideals and the unusual importance of singing. Yet, the greatest power of this book is its ability to combine science fiction with art: a great achievement for any modern book. Therefore, I avidly recommend this book for all readers.