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Sternengeist : eine atemberaubende galaktische Odyssee ,… (1993)

von Poul Anderson

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Reihen: Harvest of Stars (1)

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6141130,138 (3.47)20
Earth lies crushed in the grip of totalitarianism. To save her planet, Kyra Davis is sent on a mission to liberate the last bastion of freedom and to rescue its legendary leader. Her bold adventure will sweep her from Earth's rebel enclaves to the decadent court of an exotic lunar colony.
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Anderson, Poul. Harvest of Stars. 1993. Harvest of Stars No. 1. SF Gateway, 2011.
Somewhere in the more than 500 pages of Harvest of Stars there is a 200-page story trying to get out. But it is buried in endless talk that slows the action to a crawl and hides rather than develops the characters. Anderson knew how to tell a story, but he did not get it done here. His protagonist, Anson Guthrie, shares a name with Robert Anson Heinlein, and the book is filled with plays on Heinlein’s characters and themes. I kept hoping that there would be some sign that Anderson intended parody, but no—the best we can say is that it is a clumsy, lugubrious homage. Guthrie is the recorded consciousness of an entrepreneurial space explorer. He and his company do battle with a totalitarian state and religious fundamentalism. Since he lacks a body, he has long philosophical conversations with Kyra Davis, a woman who is sneaking him out of the solar system to start a revolution. It is sad to see a grandmaster of science fiction make such a self-indulgent use of another writer’s material. There are three more novels in the series, but I doubt I will read them. 2 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Dec 19, 2021 |
I've never been a big fan of Poul Anderson's writing style, with its random archaisms and odd quirks of sentence structure. But I remember reading some of his earlier stuff and finding it entertaining or thought-provoking, at least. I'm afraid, though, that nothing I've read that he wrote after maybe about 1990 has struck me as anything but tedious at best. This novel was published in 1993, and it sadly has not changed my mind.

Which is too bad, because there are some decent ideas in here, and maybe a few moments that might have been kind of moving in a better story. The main plot conflict is between a totalitarian government on Earth and the computer-downloaded consciousness of the head of a space travel company. The bad guys get hold of a copy of the downloaded mind and reprogram him to accept their agenda, which could have led to a really interesting cat and mouse game between two versions of the same person. Instead the plot we get from that is incredibly slow and unengaging, then gets wrapped up ridiculously quickly and mostly off-screen about two thirds of the way through, at which point the whole thing turns into an equally unengaging story about interstellar colonization instead.

Similarly, there's potential in the concept of the totalitarian government. It feels very much like a real-world police state, but with some interestingly science fictional ideology driving it. Does that get explored in any meaningful way? Nope! Instead the whole concept rapidly degenerates into a simplistic "rugged, manly, 'politically incorrect' entrepreneur vs effete intellectual liberal oppressors" narrative, complete with long libertarian rants. Which sort of thing, I guess, has something of a long tradition in certain SF circles, and has even produced some reasonably entertaining novels, but I find that I've pretty much run out of patience for it.

I could go on. I mean, there's the way Anderson imagines his future English as heavily influenced by Spanish -- a decent and reasonable bit of worldbuilding -- and uses it mainly to make his dialog sound clunky and unconvincing in two languages at once. There's the eyeroll-inducing way the female main character falls instantly in lust with every single man she meets. And, oh, yeah, there's the moon elves. Because apparently colonizing the moon turns you into Legolas.

Suffice to say, I really think I need to add Poul Anderson to the list of authors I should just stop giving another chance. ( )
2 abstimmen bragan | Apr 1, 2018 |
I have always included Poul Anderson as one of great SF writers that got me into SF in my youth. His short stories are great. He has received many well deserved awards.

After many years away I began reading SF again and I am sampling dozens of authors. For Anderson I started with this one.

This book is a vast and very inventive Space Opera. Lots of good ideas about things to come and their affects on humans. It starts with conflicts among groups who want to rule the near solar system. Poul has a great scientific imagination. He openly hates dictatorships, like communism, that promise paradise with secret police and the re-education camps. The book then moves to a space colonization story which continues the adventures of our beloved characters. Finally it is a about extending life through technology and continuing to provide habitable worlds for our decedents.

The character development is very good and you can't help but care for their well being over the length of the book and their long lives.

Unfortunately it's a slow read. In one chapter the issue of years long space travel is discussed. I can solve that. Just read this book twice and you're there. The other problems comes with the Action (there is a little if you wait), the Philosophy (goes on for chapters), and the dialogue (see below).

Poul writes very good dialogue. Thumbs up! He often uses it to explain this future world and jumps in time. If you miss a conversion you might miss that we have jumped ahead 20 years.

The problem was the nature of much of the dialogue. It fell into a few exhaustive categories:
I'll tell you my history and how it motivates me and how I feel about it.
I'll tell you my memories and how I feel about it.
I'll discuss with you endlessly about what I intend to do and how I feel about it.
I'll discuss with you what just happened and how I feel about it.
I'll discuss my fears that I may hurt someones feelings and how I feel about it.
Where is Arthur C. Clarke when I need him?

This story focuses on longevity. I got the feeling that extending life is often a bad idea. Some people can hardly carry the baggage of 100 years of mistakes and regret. Is a mental burnout really better at 300 years? Maybe they're just standing in the way of their descendants.

I will read more books by Poul Anderson but this epic just made me sad. ( )
  ikeman100 | Aug 26, 2017 |
too much science, not enough action ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
It's a slow slow read. And for the majority, it's more a future-set historical and political thriller. The last 150 pages make up for it, though, and actually integrate the sci-fi setting into the speculation very nicely. ( )
  cjrecordvt | Aug 13, 2016 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Poul AndersonHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Di Fate, VincentUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt

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Earth lies crushed in the grip of totalitarianism. To save her planet, Kyra Davis is sent on a mission to liberate the last bastion of freedom and to rescue its legendary leader. Her bold adventure will sweep her from Earth's rebel enclaves to the decadent court of an exotic lunar colony.

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