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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars let's fly again
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...
Published on 5 Aug 2008 by Paul Tapner

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In space nobody can hear you snore
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,...
Published on 28 Jan 2011 by Sam Quixote


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars let's fly again, 5 Aug 2008
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orbiter (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
5.0 out of 5 stars To the stars, and back again..., 13 Jun 2003
This review is from: Orbiter (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
1.0 out of 5 stars In space nobody can hear you snore, 28 Jan 2011
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Orbiter (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.

I can see why this book is out of print as it's far from the high standards I associate with the excellent books Warren Ellis has written previously. For Ellis or comic fans looking for a good sci-fi read I'd direct them to "Ocean" and "Ministry of Space". Avoid "Orbiter", it's too dull.
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4.0 out of 5 stars space shuttle, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Orbiter (Hardcover)
This comic helps lift the lid on why people want to get into space and a manned space program. Warren Ellis manages to keep a good plot going with great graphics and characters.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book but...., 25 Jun 2008
By 
M. Dench "Ruined Eye" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orbiter (Paperback)
I'm sorry to say I was very disappointed by this book. That's not to say it isn't a good story and a beautifully executed piece of work, but it defied my expectations. I was expecting a 'Quatermass Experiment' and got 'Close Encounters' (which I have to admit to disliking intensely!). The story builds wonderfully and an air of mystery and suspense is superbly created. I won't spoil the story for those who haven't read it be listing the details of my dissatisfaction, but I was left feeling cheated. Having finished the book, I was also left feeling that the condition of John Cost at the start of the book is purely a plot device, as his mental state and actions would appear to be totally at odds with his experience.

Sorry all you Warren Ellis diehards - this is good, but just too benign and lightweight for my liking. Lovely to look at though, with a nice cinematic feel. But that isn't enough.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, better edition quality, 1 Mar 2004
This review is from: Orbiter (Hardcover)
The book shows how US used space exploration not for cientific purposes, or any other noble cause, but a way of outcome the USSR. It shows a decadent NASA, surrounded with a camp of former middle-class - now homeless. It describes a bunch a bright americans, that believe in building a better society, regardeless of sick obsession of outcoming someone or something.
The quality of the edition (paper, cover, colours, you name it!) is simply great!
The story mixes some interresting ideas in the cientific field, together with an organig approach of cience. In the middle there's still time for a love couple, and some clever humour.
Pricy, but woth it.
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Orbiter
Orbiter by Warren Ellis (Hardcover - Jun 2003)
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