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Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin
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Tuf Voyaging (1986)

by George R. R. Martin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (17)  Danish (1)  All languages (18)
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In the 1970's and 80's, long before he wrote the Song of Ice and Fire books, George R.R. Martin was writing science fiction. He wrote particularly excellent short fiction, which garnered him a handful of awards, including Hugos for "Sandkings", "The Way of Cross and Dragon", and "A Song for Lya". Tuf Voyaging is a fix-up novel containing stories he wrote during this period that star a man named Haviland Tuf.

In the first story, Tuf is the captain of a trading spaceship he calls the Cornucopia of Excellent Goods at Low Prices. He's not a great trader, but he's earnest. He takes on four people that hire him for transport to a "plague star", which contains a planet that has been ravaged by disease. The cause of the disease is found when Cornucopia of Excellent Goods at Low Prices is damaged after triggered a seedship's defenses - a seedship of the Ecological Engineering Corp from the Federal Empire, a group so old they've faded into myth.

Through a crazy series of events that involve a T. Rex, Haviland Tuf ends up in sole possession of the massive seedship he calls the Ark. He parks the Cornucopia of Excellent Goods at Low Prices in one of the bays and starts using the ship's stunning biological capabilities to make a living as an Ecological Engineer. With his cats, Tuf flies from world to world solving ecological problems.

Things, of course, are not simple.

The major appeal of this book is the character of Haviland Tuf. He's a man of many words, delivered in a dry yet eloquent way that never got old. At times the reader thinks Tuf may not be perceiving what is happening around him. It's always a delight to find out that he understands perfectly.

The book is also thoughtful. Many of the ecological problems that Tuf is called on to solve have a human element to them. On a planet called S'uthlam, for example, Tuf argues that overpopulation is going to prevent any solutions, which spurs a debate about religious beliefs vs. ecology. On another world, treatment of animals is a topic. Martin successfully brings these things up in this book without being preachy.

This book contains these stories:
"The Plague Star" (1985)
"Loaves and Fishes" (1985)
"Guardians" (1981)
"Second Helpings" (1985)
"A Beast for Norn" (1976)
"Call Him Moses" (1978)
"Manna From Heaven" (1985)

I originally posted this review on MySF Reviews:
http://www.my-sf.com/2016/03/11/tuf-voyaging-by-george-r-r-martin-book-review/

And I discussed this book on the A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast:
http://agoodstoryishardtofind.blogspot.com/2016/02/good-story-127-tuf-voyaging.h... ( )
  ScottDDanielson | Apr 9, 2016 |
It took me a long time to get ahold of this book (I finally received it as a present!) Don't wait as long as I did to read it - this is a great book. It's certainly very different from the epic fantasy that Martin has become best known for, but fans of Martin are aware of his breadth of styles.
The book collects stories about Haviland Tuf, Ecological Engineer (and cat lover), that were originally published separately, but they come together as a coherent novel.
The first section is a classic "subtraction" story. Tuf, a minor space trader, owner of the ship 'Cornucopia Of Excellent Goods At Low Prices', is hired by a diverse group of disreputable types who suspect they know where to find untold booty - an intact 'seedship' of a defunct Empire, more powerful than anything now known to the galaxy. Unfortunately, disreputable characters tend to behave disreputably, and soon infighting and plots occur. Due to a combination of ingenuity and luck, Tuf ends up the sole owner of the ship, and sets himself up as an Ecological Engineer, available for hire to fix any sort of planetary problem.
Although he has a variety of comissions and adventures, he keeps getting called back to the planet of S'uthlam, a place (over)populated by a 'nice' but religious people who believe it is their manifest destiny to breed as much as possible. In the past, this has caused major problems with their planetary neighbors, who don't care to be overrun by S'uthlam. Now they are confined to their own planet - but they are running out of food and resources.
Tuf helps with improved agricultural strains and methods - but this just enables the S'uthlam to breed more rapidly. The hard-headed, tough Portmaster, Tully Mune, who knows her people have an even more serious problem than they realize, has to keep calling Tuf back... and drastic problems may call for drastic measures.
This book is clever, funny, entertaining - and also deals deftly with some of the most serious problems that we here on earth have, much like the S'uthlam, refused to engage. More than anything else I've read lately, I keep finding myself talking about this book to other people. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Sorry, I don't remember this very well. I know my ex loves it - and I know how his taste meshes a tiny bit but mostly clashes with mine - so, my best guess is that it was a little better than ok, in my opinion. And, offering you the average of our opinions means I'm offering you a suggestion but not a recommendation. Ok, got that? Good, you're a better person than I, then! I do recall that it was not an epic like some of Martin's other books. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
...Ecology is still a subject a lot of science fiction steers clear of. Martin gives it a try in this collection but on the whole it is closer to a satirical work than a scientifically accurate one. That being said, I did enjoy reading this collection again. The humour is part of it, but I also simply enjoyed the writing. Despite writing them out of chronological order, Martin manages to get a development in the character from a humble and eccentric trader in The Plague Star to a near megomaniac Manna from the Heavens. I've seen many review stating there is no character development in Tuf. I respectfully disagree with that. It is more subtle than in some of his stories, but it is most certainly there. One other thing I appreciate about Tuf Voyaging is that it underlines that Martin is just as comfortably writhing short stories as he is writing huge fantasy novels. Martin is a versatile writer, capable of writing more then fantasy novels alone. As much as I like A Song of Ice and Fire, I still think Martin's best work is in his short fiction and Tuf is one example of that. Don't approach it as a novel and don't expect epic fantasy and you might just end up liking what Martin has done here.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Apr 12, 2015 |
Really a pretty solid, enjoyable series of linked stories, but the caricatures in the first story nearly turned me off it. You can definitely see the roots of Martin's later work in this collection. ( )
  eaterofwords | Nov 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Witty and satirical, Tuf Voyaging is an entertaining sidestep from Martin's more serious work.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George R. R. Martinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aulisio, JanetIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chichoni, OscarCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komarck, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murphy, KevinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pagel, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robert, AlainTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soler, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Roger & Judy Zelazny,
who helped make Santa Fe feel like home.
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Hello? Hello? Yes, I see it works. Good.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Analog Analytical Award (Novelette 1986) for Loaves and Fishes (Los panes y los peces) / Locus Award (Novelette 1982) for Guardians (Guardianes) / Hugo Award Nominee (Novelette 1982) for Guardians (Guardianes)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671656244, Paperback)

From the multiple award-winning, best-selling author of The Song of Ice and Fire series: Haviland Tuf is an honest space-trader who likes cats. So how is it that, in competition with the worst villains the universe has to offer, he's become the proud owner of the last seedship of Earth's legendary Ecological Engineering Corps? Never mind, just be thankful that the most powerful weapon in human space is in good hands-hands which now control cellular material for thousands of outlandish creatures. With his unique equipment, Tuf is set to tackle the problems human settlers have created in colonizing far-flung worlds: hosts of hostile monsters, a population hooked on procreation, a dictator who unleashes plagues to get his own way... and in every case the only thing that stands between the colonists and disaster is Tuf's ingenuity-and his reputation as an honest dealer in a universe of rogues... Tuf Voyaging interior illustrations by Janet Aulisio. Included will be her original eight illustrations, along with 28 newly commissioned ones.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:33 -0400)

"Haviland Tuf is an honest space-trader who likes cats. So how is it that, in competition with the worst villains the universe has to offer, he's become the proud owner of the last seedship of Earth's legendary Ecological Engineering Corps? Never mind, just be thankful that the most powerful weapon in human space is in good hands--hands which now control cellular material for thousands of outlandish creatures. Armed with this unique equipment, Tuf is set to tackle the problems that human settlers have created in colonizing far-flung worlds: hosts of hostile monsters, a population hooked on procreation, a dictator who unleashes plagues to get his own way...and in every case, the only thing that stands between the colonists and disaster is Tuf's ingenuity--and his reputation as a man of integrity in a universe of rogues."--from cover, p. [4]… (more)

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