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Thousandstar by Piers Anthony


by Piers Anthony

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cluster (4)

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458432,987 (3.2)1



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Meh. Not too impressed. I must admit, I approached this book with a little excitement because this was my first Piers Anthony novel and his reputation precedes him. I’ve read collaborations of his and some of his short stories, I believe, but never one of his solo novels, so I felt like it was time. While this wasn’t my typical sci fi fare, it seemed intriguing enough to merit buying and reading, so I did. And I simply got bored. Rather quickly. Actually, I made it nearly 40% of the way through, past page 112, until I gave up in frustration.

The story revolves around two alien beings, Heem of Highfalls and Jessica of Capella. Heem is a water-based blob who travels by rolling and communicates by taste and needling water. When we meet him, he is one of four HydrOs left in his valley and is eager to climb his mountain to see what is on the other side. When he does, the other three dying in the process, he is horrified to discover a snake-like meat eater, which he had never encountered or thought of before and is repulsed by.

Jessica is a blue, royal clone of a brother on Capella who are rapidly going bankrupt. Her brother devises a scheme to get them solvent quickly and it involves a quick, but possibly dangerous 10-day mission for him off planet. The two are so alike, they share virtually identical “auras,” and others don’t realize there are two of them. Shortly before he is to leave on his mission, he has an accident with a saw, begs Jessica to kill him and go on his mission for him, which horrifies her, but to do it to keep the family solvent and to keep it going into the future, so she does kill him and does exactly that – enter the contest, which is the mission.

Meanwhile, we find Heem is part of this contest. How he enters, we have no idea. Somehow along the way, we don’t know how much time has passed, but during this time, he has developed a reputation for being the best spaceship pilot and combat HydrO on his planet. How he went from inexperienced, but adventurous to Indiana Jones in blob form is beyond me and never explained, but there you have it. And this contest is made all the more difficult because there are three species piloting spaceships and all three are going to have other aliens in their minds “helping” them. How this happens is never explained to us. And guess what? Guess who winds up in Heem’s mind? Of course! Jessica. Big shock, right? And because Heem has no eyes, no head even, is a water-based blob, she can’t see, has no idea what is going on, except he realizes she is a female meat eater and is horrified that she is in his head and they can read each other’s minds, nothing is hidden from the other, so it’s interesting. For awhile. Then it gets old.

There are some 200 pilots and ships vying for 50 slots to make it to a certain planet to achieve a certain goal that only a few can come close to achieving and that only one will win, and it’s a life or death contest. Who is putting on the contest and why? No clue. Who has been invited and why? No clue. How have certain aliens been invited to ride in the pilots’ minds and why and how does it work? No clue. It’s never explained. For instance, when Heem gets into his spaceship, he’s shocked to hear a voice in his mind, a female alien voice that he can magically detect comes from a meat eater and is disgusted by. How can he tell this? Where does she come from? Where is her body? How can her mind be separated from her body and how is it placed in his mind? How can they read each other’s minds? Never explained. I can understand sci fi telepathy. But it’s not even mentioned here. Is it assumed? I guess so? But where is Jessica’s body? And how did her mind get into Heem’s mind? I want to fucking know!!!

Then the “action” starts! Heem’s is the 200th ship in line. He has to maneuver to get into the top 50, so he starts racing while having to conserve his fuel. The race goes on and on. There’s strategy and part of it is clever and occasionally exciting, but honestly, you can skim page after page and even skip five or eight pages at a time and not miss anything. It becomes boring as anything. And with Jessica interrupting Heem at virtually every thought he has, asking for explanations at everything he is thinking and doing, it turns into a second grade lesson for young, adolescent sci fi fans on basic strategy which is unbelievably annoying for those of us who have been reading the genre for awhile and can figure most of this out on our own. She’s obviously a total dumbass, but that doesn’t mean all of the readers are, Anthony!

This race goes on and on, page after page. It became apparent to me that this was going to take up the majority of the book and even though I’ve read other things happen – not much – towards the end of the book, I wasn’t willing to finish reading a book with such little action, suspense, lack of interesting dialogue, and lack of interesting plotlines. Basically, after the “cute” little hook of the two characters reading each other’s minds and dialoguing together, the book has nothing to offer, so there’s no point in continuing. Thus, my first Piers Anthony, while it had some promise, was largely a disappointment. Nonetheless, the book had enough in it and his reputation is big enough so that I’m willing to read more of his work. I just don’t know what book of his I should try next. I’m open to suggestions. Two stars for originality. However, not recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | May 4, 2016 |
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
Thousandstar is a 'fourth' novel of the Cluster series (Cluster, Kirlian Quest, Viscous Circle); it shares the same 'universe' but none of the characters. It's not rocket science, (smirk), but it is one of Anthony's most arresting stories:

A pair of fraternal twins are desperate to save their recently inherited family farm. The male of the pair has entered an interstellar contest (literally a 'space race'), but the day before he is supposed to leave, he is horribly injured.

In order to keep his place (and save his life), his twin sister must impersonate him at the entry competition. The competition is an extremely amusing exercise in word association, very typical of Anthony, and improbably, she wins the very last starting place in the contest. Then she makes a horrible discovery....

Each pair of contestants is given a ship, 50 teams total; a black-hole strewn roller-coaster ride to a recently discovered planet is the first leg of the race. The prize: a mysterious alien artifact of unknown provenance. The catch: each team shares one body!

Hokey you say? This is Anthony at his whimsical best; the action is fantastic, the characters are quirky and (in some cases) convincingly alien.

If you like the Xanth series, you'll love Thousandstar. ( )
  wyrdchao | Aug 21, 2007 |
When an arisocrat male clone is injured, his sister pretends to be him and has her aura projected into a alien as part of a mission to compete for control of an Ancient site.
  AZ_Dude | Mar 5, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Piers Anthonyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Walotsky, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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She was lank and lithe and startlingly fair of feature for her kind, and as she ran her hair flung out in a blue splay.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
At the edge of the Milky Way, the treacherous space race for the legacy of the Ancients begins - a race against time, enemy aliens, and black holes. For outlawed hero Heem of Highfalls and beautiful Jessica of Capella, the extraordinary contest is very simple:


A new discovery has been made on a nonsettled neutral planet - an archeological site that appears to be functioning - part of the legacy of the Ancients, a technologically advanced species now extinct.

The rivalry among the myriad species of Thousandstar to determine which star will win the prize plantet brings Heem of Highfalls together with the beautiful Jessica of Segment Etamin in a deadly competition for victory and love.

Thousandstar is the fifth adventure in a grand outer space opera series which includes CLUSTER, CHAINING THE LADY, KIRLIAN QUEST AND VISCOUS CIRCLE
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On the world called Eccentric, a new Ancient Site has been discovered, and unlike others that are "dead," this one appears to be active and functioning. To determine which Sphere has the right to explore it and investigate its secrets, a competition is being held. Each competing team consists of a carefully matched host and transferee pair, chosen for their complementary skills and knowledge. The tasks test all of the competitors' abilities to their limit, and range from word puzzles to navigating past a black hole. However, both Heem of Highfalls and his transferee Jessica of Capella have deep, dark secrets that may cost them not just the competition, but their lives.… (more)

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