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Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin

Rite of Passage (1968)

by Alexei Panshin (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6921813,753 (3.84)43
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Excellent story. I loved the girl's insights as she matured - for example that every hero has at his back a 'spear carrier' (that's "red shirt" for Star Trek fans) but that nonetheless those people are not 'diposable' to their families & their dreams. Short but very rich - lots of ideas, complex characters & world, even the plot was really more than just a 'coming-of-age.' Thank you so much to the bookcrossing member who shared it with me. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
I remember being a fan of the book many years ago when I read it as a youngster. Now rereading it in my 50s I find it is still powerful and enjoyable to me.

Certainly the story reads as rather immature in tone and characterization. These aspects are appropriate since the main character/narrator is 13 years old in the story.

Some people might find the plot development rather slow. We spend most of the book following Mia as she lives a year of her life in the massive spaceship that is her home. It is only in the last 1/4 of the book that she lands on planets and begins her rite of passage.

Another aspect that some readers will not like is the fact that Mia does not get her way. Many events around her cause Mia unhappiness. There is a major plot development in the final pages that shock Mia and leave her dissatisfied and unhappy. I think these plot points are useful because life for young people is not a series of wish fulfillments that give the young people everything they want. Adults in the world have the power to make decisions that young people disagree with and leave many young people angry and wanting change. This is the way the world is and should be in YA fiction also.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it to readers who can handle a slow pace aimed at young teens. ( )
  superant | Sep 22, 2014 |
If memory serves I first read this as it was in my Eng lit class at high school. Not a half bad story. Not this edition, cannot in fact recall the edition I read. ( )
  Traveller1 | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is a wonderfully presented story of a young girl coming of age -- but out in space, not here and now, so there are unique situations of character growth, of joy and tragedy that the author handles well. ( )
  jennorthcoast | Nov 21, 2012 |
This is an impressive science fiction novel from 1968. I had read praise about this novel many years ago, but only happened upon a paperback of the original "Ace Special" fairly recently. This is a different sort of coming of age story, especially considering when it was written. I found the narrative remarkably undated - rather simple prose without a plethora of jargon and expressions and attitudes that clearly date so many novels. This does read much like a young adult novel, but it approaches and addresses ethics issues that cross ages. To simplify, seemingly good people can do great evil in the name of good. As relevant today as it was in 1968.

The story begins with a young girl, Mia, living in a colony spaceship, a generation ship, one of a number that fled the destruction of earth in about our time and we find them something like 200 years after the event. The girl is about 12 when we begin, and the story is seen, told and unfolds from her perspective until about age 14. This is why the story appears to be written in a relatively simple way, because we experience life, adventures and events from her view. There is a sort of sweetness to much of this story. The story "grows up" as does our young girl, but the events in the story appear to be told from a time a few years after it all.

All children when they reach the age of 14 must go through the "Trial". It is a rite of passage for the people of the ship. They must survive on a relatively primitive planet for a month in order to earn the right to be an adult on the colony ship. It is a means of population control and natural selection, among other things - in a way part of this is also akin to a "Hunger Games".

I am really glad I read this. Comparisons to some of Robert Heinlein's better "juvenile" novels would be appropriate. The book is a little slow moving until the last third or so. However I was unhappy with the end. If there was a lesson to be learned at the end it was not clear to me, although it does reinforce the good society doing evil things message. For me, the endgame should have been better here. Not quite a four star book. ( )
  RBeffa | Oct 16, 2012 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Panshin, AlexeiAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, HarroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, TerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jamoul, Jean-FrançoisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krásný, Jan PatrikCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrill, RowenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruiter, PonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Straschitz, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uherčík, ZdeněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodroffe, PatrickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They that have pow'r to hurt and will do none,

That do not do the thing they most do show,

Who moving others are themselves as stone,

Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow,

They rightly do inherit heaven's graces

And husband nature's riches from expense;

They are the lords and owners of their faces,

Others but stewards of their excellence.

The summer's flow'r is to the summer sweet

Though to itself it only live and die,

But if that flow'r with base infection meet,

The basest weed outbraves his dignity:

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

This book is for Charles and Marsha Brown
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To be honest, I haven't been able to remember clearly everything that happened to me before and during Trial, so where necessary I've filled in with possibilities--lies, if you want.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0978907825, Paperback)

In 2198, one hundred and fifty years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on a hundred hastily-established colony worlds and in the seven giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars. Mia Havero's Ship is a small closed society. It tests its children by casting them out to live or die in a month of Trial in the hostile wilds of a colony world. Mia Havero's Trial is fast approaching and in the meantime she must learn not only the skills that will keep her alive but the deeper courage to face herself and her world. Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:02 -0400)

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