STARBORNE by Robert Silverberg


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 In veteran writer-editor Silverberg's (The Mountains of Majipoor, 1995, etc.) 23rd century, Earth faces terminal decline, so it makes a last effort to send forth a starship to locate and colonize new worlds. Wotan, commanded by an elected (and never named) year-captain, contains 50 men and women, plus vast genetic stores. Blind, beautiful Noelle will maintain communications with Earth via her telepathic link with her twin sister, Yvonne, who remains behind. Some months later, Noelle reports communication difficulties caused by some sort of static in the nospace continuum through which the ship speeds. Still, they reach the seemingly habitable Planet A, only to be driven off by a psychic field that induces uncontrollable terror. The year-captain is elected for a second and a third term, and accepts that he's been given a permanent job. As the ship heads for Planet B, the link with Earth fails completely; perhaps the static is caused by entities living in nospace. Noelle reluctantly agrees to try to contact these hypothetical beings--and discovers them to be stars! Finally, the stars, the crew of Wotan, and the entire population of Earth join together in a joyous psychic communion. Planet B proves unsuitable; the search continues. Another polished and agreeable presentation, constrained by its overly familiar scenario; the present-tense narrative doesn't help--though some sparks of originality would've worked wonders.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-553-10264-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Spectra/Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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