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on 14 April 1999
Much in the same style as a Heinlein book in it's gruff long-lived hero, Anson Guthrie, the story may not please some who want up to the minute hard techno SF or a tight linear plot. The focus on the humanity of the characters, the way they think and feel at first seems distracting but leads you to give real thought to the conflicting philosophies that are presented by the various types of humans and the computer derived "protectors" that they have created somewhat in their image... In between you meet many various characters from different human and evolved animal societies and get involved in what their dreams,wishes, loves, and regrets are... I saw the books questions could be applied to our own here and now and what should be important for humanity to do... Should we be safe and save resources and stay here on our Earth or is there some reason or need to gamble and send man and not just robots to space.. This book explores all that and more without
pushing answers on you..It's also an entertaining big-question, old-style, many ideas at once SF story...not for everyone...but Poul Anderson sure does write characters you would like to know and can feel for... It moved me and made me cry at the end...and whatever a book's faults I guess that's an endorsement of the characterization...
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on 1 October 1997
"Fleet of Stars" is old-style sf dressed-up for the 90's and being walked around. I didn't finish it.
In the story Anderson recycles the classic, hero Anson Guthrie from "Harvest of Stars". "Harvest" was not a bad novel. And I could believe its vision of the future. In "Fleet", hundreds of years have passed. On Earth, an interplanetary sentient computer network exists along side of nano-tech, planetary engineering, and near FTL travel. When two of the characters are given a calculator and told to memorize all the sines from zero to 45 degrees to four decimal places as punishment, I stopped reading. Calculators! Here is an author unclear with the concept. Thinking like that would result in flint chippers being issued as standard equipment with nuclear warheads. That is the problem with "Fleet" everyone thinks and acts like they're in 60's or 70's USA.
Anderson remains technically a good writer, but he is severely dated. Claims to be a "Hard Science Fiction Author" mean he does not write novels with scenes violating the laws of physics. However, societal and technologic change are considerably more volatile then the speed of light. This is a novel by an author who is literally "locked-in" to his formative years. "Fleet" is golden age of sf draped in 90's techie buzzwords. The result is a story not silly enough to be considered a parody.
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on 21 November 1998
I read the entire series and found it mostly boring. I don't think that Anderson actually resovled any of the problems raised from the conflict between the two main groups. The ending was especially disappointing, I wait through the entire book to find out whats going to happenwith some new alien civilization and he has a useless meeting between to characters in order to revive a dead one who ends up doing nothing. The entire last chapter was 'Fenn woke.'.
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