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Rhapsody In Black (1977)

Rhapsody in Black (1977)
3.59 of 5 Votes: 3
0330246569 (ISBN13: 9780330246569)
pan science fiction
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Rhapsody In Black (1977)
Rhapsody In Black (1977)

About book: Star pilot Grainger (along with the mind-symbiot that uneasily shares his brain) are called back into service by their employer, Titus Charlot. Unlike their adventure in The Halcyon Drift, the piloting is easy... just ferry a group of religious exiles back to their homeworld, Rhapsody, where the people live in underground caverns relying on the absolute minimum of light to get by. Something very valuable's been discovered on Rhapsody, and Charlot wants it for New Alexandria. But because what's found is so potentially valuable, the political situation's become unstable, and soon Grainger finds himself drawn unwillingly into the center of things.Another of the short novels that make up the Hooded Swan series, the first in which the titular starship is barely involved. This is not a bad thing because the author, having trained as a biologist, gets to explore his element. Although the plot deals with an ultra-religious community that has deliberately withdrawn from society (in a somewhat cynical but still surprisingly tolerant way), at the core there's sort of a biological mystery tale that Grainger must figure out, and Stableford does a good job of bringing you along into understanding it without getting too complicated. And, of course, there's the constant dialogue between Grainger and the wind, as they interact in a slightly more comfortable but still standoffish way. This novel, more than any except the last, focuses on their relationship to the exclusion of most of the rest of the series' recurring characters... for a long time the two are alone, or alone except some religious outcasts who aren't particularly friendly.As I mentioned in my review of The Halcyon Drift, I may not be able to be entirely objective on the books in this series, I enjoy them too much and have read them too many times to worry so much about the flaws... but still, I give it 4 stars.

The second "Rhapsody in Black" beings with Grainger shuttles Charlot and some passengers to the planet Rhapsody, an isolated religious community constructed entirely below-ground on a world too close to the parent star, because something valuable has been discovered there, and Charlot wants to negotiate for it. There, the crew is imprisoned upon arrival, but he and a few of the others escape.Grainger learns what's so valuable: there's a naturally occurring organism that just happens to be able t
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