Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Star Winds: 1978 novel by Barrington J. Bayley

Star Winds (1978), a novel by the late British science fiction writer Barrington J. Bayley about the ship that sailed to Mars…and beyond.

Pictured below: Paperback original (New York: DAW Books, 1978), #UE1384, No. 294, 191 p., $1.75. Cover art by David Bergen. Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

The 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.

A positive review posted by Dave Hardy on his blog Fire and Sword in 2007 begins: "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."

A highly critical fan review posted on Amazon in 2009 concludes: "Hopefully Bayley's other works are more interesting since I've heard him many times referred to as a lost great. All in all, this book was a terrible disappointment."

"Hard to tell whether it's sf or fantasy, but it's certainly one of the eccentric Mr Bayley's more engaging works." David Pringle.

No comments:

Post a Comment