Monday, June 8, 2015


PartnerShip (Brainship, #2)PartnerShip by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even though this was written in 1992, it has the feel of old school, classic Science Fiction. There's a hint of sexism, though not as bad as stuff from the 50's and 60's, and the science still has that "gee-whiz" feeling you get from early SF. It's a quick read, and an entertaining story - though I had things figured out quite early on, as far as what was going on with the bit of mystery and intrigue that drives the plot.

Brainships are intersellar craft that are really human cyborgs - a human being (born physically deformed) is hard-wired into the ship, and the ship's functions are controlled directly by the human "brain." The "brawn" is the able-bodied human partner who provides literal legs on the ground, so to speak. In all instances of the series so far, the brain is female and the brawn is male. I would love to see this change in later books in the series, but I don't know if it does. (This is part of the mild sexism.)

This book begins with a newly commissioned brainship - still without a brawn - assigned to ferry 5 young aristocrats to their first job postings. Nancia, the brain in the ship, is also from an aristocratic family, but she is immediately shocked by the rude behavior of her passengers, and does not reveal herself as a brainship; her passengers think they are on a simple droneship. As such, they do not censor their behavior, and Nancia overhears them all plotting to achieve riches through underhanded and illegal means. Being a new ship, she does not know what to do with this information, so she tells no one.

As the story progresses, Nancia is paired with a brawn and they run into some trouble, related to the 5 aristocratic plotters. Her brawn is injured, and she takes on a temporary brawn and gets pulled deeper into the intrigue surrounding the actions of these 5 people.

It has a fully satisfying ending, of course - the bad guys are caught out, Nancia mends fences with her family, and she finally gets a decent brawn. We are left with the prospect of the "partnership" becoming something of an investigative team and solving more crimes through their ingenuity.

There is nothing really deep in this novel. And certainly, by today's standards, nothing really groundbreaking with respect to the ideas. Nevertheless, it is a fun, light read, especially if you like classic SF.

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