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Ragged Astronauts Paperback – 1 Aug 1987

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (1 Aug. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0708882277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0708882276
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,136,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book many years ago loved it and never forgot it. I searched it out on Amazon and ordered the 3 books in the Ragged Astronauts series. I was worried that when I started reading the series it wouldnt be as good as I remembered from so many years ago. When I started it was a relief to find that the books were just as good as I remembered if not better, I read all three books in a week and they now have pride of place on my bookshelf.
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By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
Take a late medieval world which orbits along with a twin planet. Add a native balloon-like creature the pthertha, which is regularly hunted for sport, and which reacts by unleashing a deadly plague. You have the ingredients for interplanetary travel!
The twin planets are so close that there are two periods of daytime on the inhabited world, and a short night in between, with a longer night at the other end. There is a thin envelope of air, it turns out, linking the two planets, and if someone were to go up in a hot-air balloon he could just about cross over to the other world. But is the journey survivable and could an entire population be evacuated?
This first book in the series is definitely the best. The second, The Wooden Spaceships, deals with large-scale population movement and colonisation. Really Shaw could have left it at that but perhaps he was pushed into writing a trilogy. The Fugitive Worlds is readable but not so good or credible.
Bob Shaw was a Northern Irish writer who was a contemporary and friend of James White and Brian W Aldiss.
I consider his best work to be Other Days, Other Eyes, which is about slow glass.
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Format: Paperback
'A neat concept taken to a logical conclusion' would be a bald description of what is a rollicking good story. It is so well written, and drags you in its wake so fast, you don't have time to question the shaky science.

By keeping the technology deliberately low level, roughly equivalent to 18th-19th century Earth, Bob Shaw manages to keep it in the background to allow the story to flow unfettered.

Consider this; how would you expect people to travel between planets (believably) with such primitive technology? A hot air balloon perhaps?

The protagonists are sympathetic and believable, which makes a nice change from a lot of similar space opera. I pick my ancient copy off the shelf every now and then for a quick look, which always turns out to be a cover to cover read.

The two subsequent books in the trilogy, The Wooden Spaceships and The Fugitive Worlds take the story to a satisfactory finale.
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