The Halcyon Drift (Grainger 1)

The Halcyon Drift (Grainger 1)The Gates Of Hell Were Already Yawning Wide Out On The Rim They Said Grainger Was The Best Pilot In The Galaxy He Needed To Be Starships Were His Life And The Hooded Swan Was On Her Maiden Voyage, A Jointed, Musculated Bird With Feathers Of Shining Metal.Together They Were Hired For A Lethal Race Through Cosmic Storms In The Dark Nebula Of The Halcyon Drift To Find A Legendary Treasure Laden Wreck.With A Makeshift Crew And An Alien Mind Parasite For Company, It Looked A Fashionable Way To Commit Suicide I adore this book, and I m biased towards it because I read it at a time when I was coming out of a reading drought, where nothing excited me and I wasn t compelled to pick up any books at all On a whim I picked up the Werewolves of London out of my collection and read it, and I promptly fell in love with the author, Brian Stableford This led me to devour the only other two books of his I owned Inherit The Earth, and this one, Halcyon Drift.Of the three, while Werewolves of London is the better novel and it excites the imagination , this one reignited my love of science fiction and made me eager to read anything and everything involving aliens and starships.So, with that out of the way, what is this book Why should you read it The book opens with our viewpoint character, Grainger, stranded on a barren alien world He s crashed his ship, the accident killed his partner, and there s almost no hope of rescue This is a haunting prologue, covering the desolation Grainger feels, establishes who he is through his reminisces of his past and oh, did he love his partner , and introduces the wind.There are three vital characters in this prologue Grainger himself, Lapthorne his partner, and the wind.The barren planet is filled with wind it howls through the night, knocks over Lapthorne s gravemarker, and haunts Grainger The wind sneaks into the cracks of his mind as he spends too many nights alone and breaking, and it becomes a parasite symbiote mirror entity that lives within him
I picked up The Halcyon Drift by Brian M Stableford at a library book sale for fifty cents, solely because I liked the cover art I have never heard of the book before, nor the author The edition I picked up has a blue background with a red spaceship in front of it The spaceship doesn t have many straight lines in the design, it s all circles and ovals, and the atypical look caught my eye Layered over the spaceship is an image of a man with a number of wires protruding from his back, a neuronic linkup, if you will It has the tagline A dozen worlds sought the secret of the Dark Nebula I liked the title, I liked the cover, and I liked the tag line I didn t expect much from the story, but it would look damn good in my library The novel starts out with a man marooned on a desolate world on the rim of a dark nebula called the Halcyon Drift He s been stranded for an unknown amount of time, and has lost his co pilot, who died when the ship crashed on the planet We come to learn later that the man s name is Grainger, a free trader space pilot who did odd jobs for different organizations His ship has crashed and his co pilot is dead, so all he can do is wait to be rescued While I read the beginning of the novel I quickly realized that this would be a good read I thought the story just may live up to the st
I first read this book in my teens, thirty odd years ago Remembering little of it than the cover and a couple of snippets of the plot and theme, it took me a couple of years to track it down My review, then, is inevitably coloured by nostalgia That s both a blessing and a curse how often do we revisit things we half remember only to realise they weren t quite as good as we d thought Nonetheless, I wasn t disappointed.The story isn t, in essence, a complex one Grainger, exceptional pilot though he is, is forced to crash land on an uninhabited and barely habitable planetoid due to the difficult conditions in the Halcyon Drift The crash kills his crew mate and leaves him alone for two years except for the symbiotic organism he ends up calling the wind Finally rescued, he finds himself back on Earth, crippled by debt, where he gets the chance to pilot a brand new type of spaceship One of the catches with the deal is it means returning to the very area of space where he d crashed.It s very much first book of the series material A lot of the book is designed to give us an understanding of the setting of the book and the people we encounter it will be good, in future,
3.5 stars Originally posted at FanLit.Grainger, a spaceship pilot, has been shipwrecked on a deserted island in a dangerous star system called the Halcyon Drift He s just about to give up hope when he is unexpectedly rescued by a commercial spacecraft They charge him for the rescue and take him to court, so now he s deep in debt When he arrives on Old Earth, he finds it in decline There s no hope of getting off or finding lucrative work, so he s forced to accept a job offer to pilot the prototype of a ne
Despite being one of the best star pilots out there, Grainger s spaceship crashed on a barely liveable and unnamed world on the edge of one of the worst areas of distorted space, The Halcyon Drift He managed to survive, though his engineer and partner died in the crash Rescued, years later, he s left with two unwelcome burdens one everyone knows about, a massive debt levied against him as a salvage fee by the corporation that answered his distress beacon, and one he keeps to himself For his brain s been colonized by an alien mind symbiont It s not a threat it just needs a place to live, and wants to help him Of course, Grainger doesn t like to be helped, which is also why when he s offered a job that will clear out the monetary debt, he s leery, despite the opportunity to fly a new kind of ship, a fusion between human and alien science He s even leerier when he learns the first mission is to return to the Halcyon Drift But he has no choice.This is a traditional space opera action story you d find in the 70s, full of travel at many multiples of the speed of light, alien worlds, and action, but it s got a few twists One is the book s attitude towards violence The series is sometimes listed as one of the few examples of pacifistic science fiction that s not quite true, but as science fiction goes, it s closer than most The author was concerned what some of his violence filled adventure novels in the
Grainger he has no first name was half of a two man trading team who bought and sold goods through the human settled and alien worlds of the galaxy.Encountering problems in the Halcyon Drift a nebula where gravitational forces distort the laws of physics Grainger crashlands on an unknown planet, killing his partner, Lapthorn and wrecking the ship, The Javelin.He is eventually rescued but not before his body is invaded by a sentient alien parasite His rescuer, Axel Cyran of the Cradoc Company, having been pulled away from his mission of finding a legendary lost ship for the rescue, lands Grainger with costs of twenty thousand Twenty thousand what is never made clear.The lost ship The Lost Star is the Maguffin in this novel, a semi mythical wreck believed to be carrying priceless cargo.Grainger then gets an offer by which the company who wish to hire him will clear his debts if he agrees to pilot an experimental ship for two years.The ship is a hybrid of alien and human technology, an odd reflection of Grainger and his alien mindrider now fused into one
About the best I can say for Brian Stableford s Halcyon Drift the first book in his Hooded Swan series , is meh There s nothing really bad about it, but there s also nothing really great with it either In general, even though the book was first published back in 1972, it reads like a science fiction book written in the 1950s everything s very direct and lacking in subtlety Also, the book is written in the first person Usually, I have no problem with first person vs third person But, for an author to carry it off elegantly, his characters need to be really interesting people for instance, Roger Zelazny s characters Stableford s main character here just doesn t have the necessary personality Sadly, Stableford appears to have purposefully designed him this way One of the repeating descriptions in the book regarding
Fails to live up to a promising first chapter The characters are too cool to emote and nothing ever feels fresh or surprising as a result Still, it ticks along and there are some original ideas communicated well. A classic sci fi novel Apparently I am still very much in a science fiction moodand my appetite for old sci fi has been most thoroughly whetted by the last few books I ve read This book, published in 1972, actually reads almost like a 50s 60s sci fi novel, which for me is not a bad thing I apparently liked this book enough that I ve now ordered the second book in the series I shan t describe the plot of the book, but like a lot of older sci fi books, the characters aren t necessarily well formed butI shall say that the cypher like nature of the main character actually enhances both the stunning wonder and pulse racing danger of the cosmos The descriptions of space flight in this novel were both highly original and utterly gorgeous The main spacecraft in this oneso lovingly described that I could almost imagine the author was a space pilot himself And this book moved ri
I read The Fenris Device many years ago, and have wanted to read this whole series ever since This isn t quite as good as I remember that one being, but still enjoyable Grainger is a sarcastic misanthrope, and the author goes a bit overboard with that at times, but it s still fun.