STAR WINDSThe sails were the product of the old technology, lost long ago in the depleted Earth, and they were priceless. For with those fantastic sheets of etheric material, ships could sail the sky and even brave the radiant tides between worlds and stars.The alchemists who had replaced the scientists still sought the ancient secrets... and Rachad, apprentice to such a wSTAR WINDSThe sails were the product of the old technology, lost long ago in the depleted Earth, and they were priceless. For with those fantastic sheets of etheric material, ships could sail the sky and even brave the radiant tides between worlds and stars.The alchemists who had replaced the scientists still sought the ancient secrets... and Rachad, apprentice to such a would-be wizard, learned that the key to his quest lay in a book abandoned in a Martian colonial ruin long, long ago.But how to get to Mars ? There was one way left - take a sea vessel, caulk it airtight, steal new sails, and fly the star winds in the way of the ancient windjammers.Here is an intriguing, unusual and colorful novel of ships that sail the stars riding before the solar breeze that blows between the worlds....
|Format Type||:||Mass Market Paperback|
|Number of Pages||:||191 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Star Winds Reviews
Probably one more star than it deserves, but rounded up for nostalgia. This is a book I remember finding (and taking home) frequently on the paperback spinners at the public library when I was young.It's kind of gloriously ridiculous -- set a few thousand years in the future, and see, we were totally wrong!!!! It turns out that the alchemists were right; everything is comprised of the five elements -- earth, air, water, fire and ether -- and you can actually craft "sails" that catch etheric currents and can be used to make your ship sail through the air, or even out into space.Of course, nobody on Earth has done this for generations -- we're too close to the Sun to weave the sailcloth properly, and nobody comes here any more, so such ships as remain stick entirely within the atmosphere, riding on increasingly tattered patchwork sails.This is the sort of book (a DAW paperback original from the 1970s) where the entire book is maybe 60,000 words long, and the part where they laboriously convert an airship to be capable of venturing into space, and make the perilous voyage to Mars in search of a missing fragment of an alchemical text that will allow them to create the Philosopher's Stone, is just the first half of the story.No, I didn't mention any characters by name. I'm pretty sure there were multiple characters in the book, but if so it's kind of irrelevant to the functioning of the story.
I thought it was really a cool idea and had a lot going for it. I didn't think the story was all that wonderful, though.
'Star Winds' is set a few thousand years in the future, where alchemy has become the predominant science and space travel is possible through ether sails which catch the star winds. Earth has become a backwater, and a lack of ether sails has cut off contact and made trade increasingly difficult. A crew set out to find new sails, but instead become involved in a galactic war and the search for the Philosopher's Stone, in a novel about escape, both physical and intellectual. Barrington Bayley is something of an acquired taste. He was part of the British new wave science fiction of the 60s and 70s, and was associated with New Worlds magazine along with Michael Moorcock and J G Ballard, though as Fantastic Fiction says, 'of the three, Bayley was perhaps the most inventive and the least successful'. His books are firmly in the pulp fiction tradition, adventurous and fizzing with ideas and plot twists, but sometimes lacking in characterisation and with the science secondary to the plot. His work has tended to be difficult to get hold of, being out of print or only published intermittently in odd editions. Gollancz are now bringing out his back catalogue as eBooks. www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/bayley_...
Well, the basic premise of the book is that alchemy is the basic science of the universe, and sail boats fly in the sky and to the other planets by using special sails that sail on the ether winds. It starts off fine, despite all that, with a 1600s feel, with our hero, a 2nd rate apprentice to an old alchemist, convincing an old air captain to make the first interplanetary flight to mars in generations. (our hero wants to fetch an alchemical text, the captain, wants to get more ether sail cloth which earth is desperately short on). This is surprisingly actually not that bad, and entertaining, and would have made a fine book, but this is B.J. Bayley here, and in quintessential B.J. Bayley style he jettisons the plot around page 80 and instead we get a galactic war between an inter stellar fuedal empire, and mind controlling giraffes.
So you’re an SF fan. You want all the crazy, swashbuckling action of Dan Dare and the Intergalactic Squid Invasion but the intellectual challenge of A Canticle for St. Squidbert. Oh yeah, and the outlandish fantasy of The Unicorn Chronicles Part XLIV. Whatcha gonna do, read The Economist? How about you try Barrington Bayley, the best-kept secret of SF.Bayley writes thinking man’s Space Opera. Instead of dryly extrapolating quantum physics, Bayley boldly posits a futuristic world where the archaic art of alchemy rules and faster-than-light travel depends on the ether wind.http://fireandsword.blogspot.com/2007...
This book.... made so little sense. There were like 2 parts to it, the first is on earth where there's no sailcloth to allow big galleon-things to sail through space, the second part is inexplicably a war between "advanced" humans and some other culture. Really, I think Barrington just wanted an excuse to research alchemy, and this was his way of getting paid for it.
Hey! For all I know, Barrington J. Bayley's really a very nice interesting guy who just writes these bks to make a living & might write some really brilliant stuff under a different name. SO, excuse me, Barrington, for using yr bks as an excuse for short shrift.