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Readers` Reviews

★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
sarah eisenstein
This simplistic "adventure in space" seems to have a target demographic of 12 year old kids. Tuf, who accidentally loves cute cats, finds a space ship. Tuf takes this huge space ship to various planetary systems, who all have various ecologically related problems they can't fix themselves. Tuf uses the ship's cloning devices to engineer some kind of biological solution to the planet's problem. Repeat a couple of times, and that's it.

The ending's attempt to provide a more philosophical discussion on what burden of responsibility that follows with power is downright trite. Hopefully this was George RR. Martin's last foray into science-fiction, as he definitely should stick to fantasy.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
robin gray
It's hard to believe this is from the same guy who brought us game of thrones.
I can't say this book was bad. It is quiet original, the characters and plot are unique. Unfortunately I don't think there is anything that like able about it. At times it's very predictable. It did somehow keep me reading though.
If your looking for something different to read it would be a good book for you. If you're looking for something great to read, keep looking.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
carole m
Please note that the Meisha Merlin hardcover edition (2003) has interior illustrations by Janet Aulisio, worth the extra money. Each story has at least 2 or more illustrations, some full page.

-- Seattle
Predicting Trump's Actions and Presidency - An FBI Profile of Donald Trump :: A Proactive Guide to the Psychology of Motivation :: Fury of Fire (Dragonfury Series Book 1) :: and the Storming of the Presidency - Donald Trump :: The Illustrated Edition - A Song of Ice and Fire
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
oana
If you are like me you just finished the last installment of a Song of fire and ice and you need some more of his writing. I picked this up hoping for a song's equivalent but this fell short. Not a terrible read though. The main character can be slightly annoying at times with his infatuation for cats but over all is strangely interesting. Worth a read but don't expect the greatness that is a song of fire and ice.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mike young
A thousand years ago the old Earth Empire collapsed. Most of its amazing technology was lost and the galaxy settled back into a period of decline. But one of the Empire's old seedships, the Ark, has been rediscovered. With its cargo of ferocious beasts and genetically-engineered plagues, the Ark can lay waste to entire star systems. Fortunately for the galaxy, its new owner is the morally-minded and fussy merchant Haviland Tuf. Accompanied only his crew of telepathic cats, Tuf sets out on a voyage that will take him to many worlds...and many problems.

George R.R. Martin began writing stories about Haviland Tuf in the mid-1970s. In the mid-1980s, following the disastrous performance of the novel The Armageddon Rag and his move into Hollywood, Martin was convinced to repackage the old stories with several new ones to make a "fix-up" novel, one book formed from several smaller tales. The result, Tuf Voyaging, sold reasonably and kick-started Martin's literary career again, leading to the Wild Cards series and, a decade later, A Game of Thrones. It might not be quite the book that saved Martin's writing career, but it certainly helped give it a bit of a leg-up when it was urgently needed.

The book consists of seven short stories (the first of which is long enough to qualify as a novella). After the first, "The Plague Star", which explains how Tuf came to possess the Ark, the rest relate episodes where Tuf has to use the Ark's amazing abilities to resolve a crisis or emergency. Three of these stories form a recurring narrative when Tuf has to visit the planet S'uthlam, one of the few worlds advanced enough to be able to repair and maintain the Ark. During his initial visit Tuf incurs a massive repair bill and he periodically has to return to satisfy his monetary debt to the planet and renew his personal friendship (as much as Tuf has one) with Molly Tune, the planet's dockmaster.

The stories often resolve around moral quandaries: "A Beast for Norn" sees Tuf recruited to help a planet which pits animals into gladiatorial combat against one another. Tuf is petitioned by each ruling house in turn to give them the most ferocious beasts. The result is a neat little morality play that wouldn't have been out of place on The Twilight Zone. "Guardians" sees Tuf taxed to the limit as he uses the Ark's capabilities to genetically engineer a solution to a planetary infestation of sea monsters, only to find some kind of intelligence working against him. "Call Him Moses" sees Tuf recruited by a planetary government that has been forced to surrender to an anti-technology religious maniac using the threat of plague to seize power. These are all clever stories, but also ones that have a common thread to them: rather than facing a naturally-occurring disaster, the problems Tuf encounters are the result of human hubris greed, stupidity and fanaticism.

The S'uthlam trilogy - "Loaves and Fishes", "Second Helpings" and "Manna from Heaven" - represents the book's high point as it gives Tuf a formidable foil in the form of Molly Tune. Each one of the stories sees Tuf confronted by the problem of S'uthlam's overpopulation: the planet's population is 39 billion and rising, outstripping its ability to feed itself. Each time Tuf presents a situation, carefully noting that it is a stopgap at best and the people of S'uthlam have to back it up by not breeding so uncontrollably and by carefully preserving their resources. And each time he is ignored, for religious or economic reasons. In the final story Tuf presents Molly with the final solution to the problem, one that will save her world from starving itself to death, but at the expense of her people's right to freedom and self-expression. It's one of the thorniest moral quandaries science fiction has ever presented to the reader, and the solution is grim.

The result may be George R.R. Martin's most resonant SF moment in his long career writing science fiction (before epic fantasy stole him away). In 1976, when the first Tuf story was published, the Earth's population was 4 billion. In 2016, it stands at almost 7.4 billion. The Earth's population has almost doubled the first story in this book was published. What was a theoretical concern when Martin started writing these stories is starting to look terrifyingly prescient, and the solution presented in these stories may be horrific but there are also a lot of people who would take the solution Tuf offers Tune in a heartbeat. This element adds a surprising amount of contemporary value to a book published thirty years ago.

Moving on from that aspect of the book, characterisation is excellent, particularly of Haviland Tuf himself (the reader may detect faint pre-echoes of Varys in his character and appearance) but also Molly Tune and the demented crew of space pirates who try to steal the Ark in the opening story (Rica Dawnstar may also be the best name for a space mercenary there ever has been). The writing style is a fair bit different from his prose in other books, being more whimsical, florid and witty. Martin's favourite author is the fantastic Jack Vance. Martin can't quite match Vance's supremely joyous command of the English language (frankly, no-one can) but he does come startlingly close on occasion. This is also a book that should appeal to all cat lovers, as Tuf's brood of felines grows, gets into antics, gets older and occasionally (and sadly) shrinks as the stories continue to unfold.

Tuf Voyaging (****½) is not quite up there with A Song of Ice and Fire and Fevre Dream as Martin's best work, but it a very well-written book packed with entertaining characters, moments of real comedy (it's Martin's funniest work, by a long way) and some unexpected moments of tragedy and pathos. It's also a book that's become more resonant over the years as real-life issues catch up to Martin's vision.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
collin
Before becoming big with Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin was a working science fiction writer published in old fashioned pulp or digest magazines. I first saw Martin's creation Haviland Tuf on the cover of the 12 October 1981 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, the same magazine that launched the careers of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, among others, before it changed its name from Astounding Science Fiction. That issue contained "Guardians", which introduced Tuf as a tall lanky languid ivory-white vegetarian lover of cats.

Tuf travels space in his Ark, a biological laboratory and DNA warehouse, looking for planets that can use and afford his services. The book is made up of seven stories: an introductory novella recounting how Tuf went from being a trader in treasures (actually, more like junk) to acquiring the Ark and becoming a planetary ecological engineer. There are three stand-alone stories, of which "Guardians" is one, and which appear interspaced with three stories about a planet with a runaway overpopulation problem.

Martin gives us light, entertaining stories with characters that are almost three dimensional. If you are a science fiction fan, you can't go wrong. If you are not a science fiction fan but you wonder what it's all about, you still won't go wrong. If you are coming from Game of Thrones and want more Martin, you won't go wrong. And if you want to read some Martin but you find Game of Thrones too long, then Tuf Voyaging is ideal.

Vincent Poirier, Quebec City
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sophia welsh
George R. R. Martin is prolific but not punctual - and so as millions await the next installment of The Song of Ice and Fire, Bantam Books had to settle for repackaging a series of Martin's novellas to try and satisfy the masses.

"Tuf Voyaging" (Bantam, $16, 440 pages) chronicles the adventures of the rather odd Haviland Tuf in a familiar space opera setting: Tramp freighters flitting from world to world in a wide universe melded together by various federations and alliances.

There are seven pieces in the book, all written between 1976 and 1985, and they range in quality from excellent ("The Plague Star") to filler ("Manna from Heaven"). That said, Martin's filler is as good as most writers' best efforts, so "Tuf Voyaging" is an engaging, if not substantial, read.

To reveal much more than I have already would spoil the fun of "Plague Star," which begins the collection, so I'll leave it at this: Yes, the material is from early in his career, but even though it's not fully realized Martin, it's still awfully good.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lizziev
I had not read GRRM until A Song of Ice and Fire. I have read all of those books, several of them more than once, so I wanted to try his other stories. I ran across Tuf in Dreamsongs, Volume 2 and then realized there was a whole book about him! (The story in Dreamsongs is also in Tuf Voyaging.)

My frustration with A Game of Thrones etc is that there are so many characters and storylines that things get confusing. Everything in Tuf Voyaging centers on Haviland Tuf. There is only one other major recurring character. And, each of the stories has a clear problem and resolution.

Essentially Tuf becomes the sole proprietor of a starship that has the cloned DNA of every creature from hundreds of worlds. This gives him god-like powers. He goes to planets that have a biological problem and think of a clever solution. How he fixes the situation is never quite how his clients expect. He always fulfills his promises; but then he gives them unexpected bonuses...

I really hope that he writes more about Tuf's voyages!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kristen bixby
A selection of stories, not a novel, fast 5 read. The idea of a ship built to conduct biowarfare and essentially plano-forming is exciting, but the "Chrono Warp" used to produce the biologic elements is extreme SF. There were two essential stories, the first was the expedition and it's members finding a usable biowar starship. This was excellent. The second overreaching story is population control and frankly the author beat the topic into the dirt. I agree, yet obviously population control will cause grave loss of personal rights. In effect as the author states "the state can legally steal anything". Which is the counterpoint to the population control theme. In essence both are terrifyingly bad. Recommended highly. Thanks, Harry!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cam ha nguyen
I have the fortune to own the one of the first edition paperback issues of this book (March 1987) and am so glad that I haven't gotten rid of it. I had a huge library of books but have begun to purge it recently but not this one. It holds a place of honor with other old favorites of the past. No library worth it's science fiction salt would be without this incredible story. Tuf is smart, cunning and fat, being a stranger to exercise but surprisingly is a vegetarian. What makes him unique though is his old fashioned values and manners. Which is a good thing when he comes into possession of an ancient seed ship that could change worlds and corrupt a lesser man. I especially love his affection for cats as I'm a cat lover myself. I highly recommend giving this book a read now that it is again available. You won't regret it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chuck ford
I picked this book up on a whim, I have always been a fan of the movie Silent Running and thought this had a similar premise (turns out it doesn't really, but that's ok).
First off I have to say that the book is a little oddly constructed. I am tired of the one line author bios ("Lives in Maine with his wife and four cats...") but in the end papers of Tuf Voyaging we get Mr. Martin's CV for goodness sake. The man has a lot to be proud of, but really, come on. Let's keep the ego in check a little.
Besides, the book speaks for itself. I understand it is "cobbled" together from stories published previously, but for myself, coming in unawares, the chapters work just fine. The opening chapter deals with how Tuf gets an amazing space ship, a bio-engineering "ark" (in one of the less subtle moments the ship is named, um, The Ark). Then we get introduced to an over populated planet in need of help (and desiring The Ark). Then a few more chapters, cleverly showing how Tuf uses the Ark in unexpected ways to both help people and satisfy his sense of morals.
The books works because a) it is endlessly inventive, always the hallmark of good science fiction, and b) clever in execution. Each chapter lays out an interesting problem which Tuf then proceeds to, in his own droll way, solve. Not always the way people expect or want him too, but in a way which is interesting nonetheless.
I do have to agree the novel ends some what poorly. Martin boxes himself into a corner and then offers a fairly mediocre (if not logical) way out, but the rest of the book more than makes up for it.
Hey, it's a fun read, it makes you think (and imagine) and yet does not dumb things down or present silly ideas just for shock or novelty value. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shermaine
Haviland Tuf. Lover of Cats, maker of snide remarks and healer of worlds... Tuf has the largest and most powerful ship [so far] in the universe. It is an ecological seed ship that can replicate genetic material from aliens/monsters from anywhere imaginable...and in some cases creatures beyond imagination...

Some say that absolute power corrupts absolutely... Not so with Tuf.

He could level any galaxy and bring any empire to its knees...but instead chooses to make a modest living helping out worlds in trouble... (and yes sometimes he even likes to play God and render moral judgments) - but hey we have to forgive him for that...we all need a little fun from time to time...

This book is a series of short stories that were written by GRRM over about a 10 year span, yet they seamlessly flow together... We learn the origins of the seedship in the first story "The Plague Star" which is quite possibly the best of the bunch (receiving 11/10) while the others only get 10/10... Tuf has to save a world from overpopulation (twice), save another world from sea monsters like no one can imagine, solve a worlds cruel practice of gambling on a wicked sporting event, and protect a world from a biblical prophet who has a unique ability to create plagues...Fortunately he has the help of his massive starship, his massive brain and a few cats...

An amazing read...When I look up at the stars now I wonder when Tuf will come and solve the problems of this world...for he is long overdue...

While we wait - I suggest you read this masterpiece to be reminded that one person can make a difference...

Thank you Mr. Martin - and since Tuf never gets the recognition he deserves - Thank you Mr. Haviland.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michael spencer
Superb writing. That's the name of the game for all of Martin's works that I have read (which, unfortunately, includes only the Song of Ice and Fire series and this collection of short stories).
First off, I am not usually a fan of science fiction. I read a little when I was younger and was not very impressed by it. I loved the Hitchhiker's Guide of the Galaxy, but I only read that recently and enjoyed it more for the writing than for the general atmosphere. I picked up Tuf Voyaging from a used bookstore (I payed $1.75, but after reading it I decided I would have bought it for upwards of $20) only because it was by the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, and because it seemed to be of the same mold as Hitchhiker's.
From the time I started reading to the very end, I found myself enjoying the book immensely. Each story could easily have stood alone and been amazing, which is good because when they were originally published they did stand alone, but when they're put together it flows seamlessly. Admittedly, some stories were better than others (the second of the three S'uthlamese chronicles and A Beast for Norn were not quite as good as the others), but they were all thoroughly enjoyable regardless of the overall quality.
I recently picked up Nightflyers, an even earlier collection of Martin's writings of yet a different genre, and I expect to enjoy it just as much, even though I wouldn't think of reading sci-fi horror by any other author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
timmy
Another of Martin's SyFy from elsewhere but here, but I am now willing to read ANYTHING this man has written.
Most of my book purchases and reading is research,.... But I am totally Awed by his writing,... even the SYFY which I haven't read since I was a teenager countless decades ago.
His writing could Not be any better,.... impossible,... I started this book yesterday and cannot put it down,......I will finish it tomorrow.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
charly
The half dozen short stories centre on Haviland Tuf, a fastidious, pompous, somewhat misanthropic character, who outsmarts his foes, and appears to be the only person with integrity in the whole universe. The superior prequel story describes how he gained possession of an ancient but technologically massively advanced juggernaut - its most crucial capacity is genetics. Tuf can create virtually any species he wants - from devastating viruses to gentle cute grass-eaters to beasts of nightmare.
 
The story that started this collection (all written for Analog) probably came from the old notion that the technology we have now would make past cultures view us as God/s. In `Call Him Moses', Martin sets up a self-styled prophet who takes over a planet by (secretly non-miraculously) reproducing most of the plagues of Exodus - the executive hand over office under threat of the first born`plague'.
 
Our `hero' deliberately appears to this dictator as a pillar of light, saying I am the Lord God. With his far greater technology he displaces the `false prophet'. Martin pushes this pretty hard, having his (not ironic or undermined) protagonist sincerely say for all intents and purposes in this case he is God because of the planet altering powers his ship gives him.
 
The same theme is explored in `Manna from Heaven', written seven years later. Faced with an absurdly overpopulated planet which, after every chance to work on birth control (something their religion abhors), is descending into anarchy and expansionist warfare, Tuf devises a plant that will essentially sterilise 99% of the population.
"You have no right," declares the (straw woman) president of the planet. "...Who the hell gave you the authority to make that decision for them? ... You're no better than we are. You're only human ... What gives you the goddamned right to play God with our world and our lives?"
 
..."I make no claims to godhead in the mythological sense, " [replies Tuf,] "Yet I submit that I do indeed wield the power of a god...I traffic in the life and death of worlds. Enjoying as I do these godlike abilities, can I rightfully decline the accompanying responsibility, the equally awesome burden of moral authority? I think not."
 
Normally such a declaration would have the reader saying with Tuf's antagonist, "He's insane." But Martin is pushing us to think a little deeper. A cool theme that emerges is that we should recognise our responsibility rather than just act as if it doesn't exist. Learning to be comfortable with the power we have is actually admirable. It'd be great if he wrote something about this relating to the responsibility we in the `1st world' automatically have to the `3rd world' - with every purchase we make.
 
Tuf persuades the president with the analogy of the way he sterilised his cats:
"... Ultimately, as you yourself will discover, there are but two fundamental options. You must either reconcile yourself to inhibiting the fertility of your cats, entirely without their consent, I might add, or, failing that, some day most assuredly you will find yourself about to cycle a bag full of newborn kittens out your airlock into the cold vacuum of space. Make no choice, and you have chosen. Failure to decide, because you lack the right, is itself a decision, First Councillor. In abstaining, you vote."
 
"Tuf," she said, her voice agonised, "don't! I don't want this damned power."
 
I can see in this why he deals so well with the nature of kingship in his, `Song of Ice and Fire' series, particularly Danerys. Also putting the power thing into this context doesn't offend my sensibilities as a Christian who actually does think God is not merely a myth, and all believers fools and/or manipulative liars.
 
While these two stories are easily the most challenging thematically, they don't really set the tone for the book. Interesting that the first story written, `Call Him Moses', comes second last. The earlier ones are all prequels, most written seven years later in `85. The longest and most enjoyable, `The Plague Star', is simply a thriller - Tuf has to kill or be killed by the individuals in the landing party attempting to claim the valuable ship. We then have novel accounts of how Tuf deals with the ecological problems of various planets.
 
There is another theme: despite him solving massive problems, his solutions are generally resented by those he rescues, and his motives always unjustly impugned (projection). This may be Martin deliberately setting him up for godhood, rightly seeing that justice from above, even in response to calls for help, often just results in rank ingratitude and abuse.
 
A weakness, however, is that no other character is given the sense or personality to actually appreciate or even understand Tuf's actions. Because some of these actions are so clearly helpful, this means everyone else is either stupid and/or ugly, or inconsistent. Tuf's eccentricities and virtue could have been much more enjoyable if he'd had at least some sympathetic characters - his precious cats aren't enough for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cheryl grey
Like many people who have recently read "Tuf Voyaging" for the first time, I was introduced to George R. R. Martin through the outstanding "Song of Ice and Fire" series. "Tuf", of course, has a very different setting. In the far future, humanity lives on scattered planets long after the collapse of the Empire. One relic survives: a 'Seedship', containing all the ancient data and technology needed to clone extinct species or create new ones. This ship falls into the hands of a trader named Haviland Tuf, who promptly sets off on a series of adventures, using the ship's capabilities to address ecological and societal problems on various planets.
Although this is certainly early Martin, I would argue that we can definitely see the same qualities here that we love in his current set of fantasy triumphs. Characters stand out for their strong personalities and unshakable convictions. Tuf, portrayed as intelligent and self-confident but still holding a sense of humor, embodies the same strength and likeability that we find in Tyrion Lannister and other unforgettable creations. As in the "Song", minor characters are also well-developed in the space of just a few lines, creating genuine emotional intensity as they vie against Tuf. I should mention also that the humor is strong. Things that are supposed to be funny actually are funny.
The best story of the bunch is "The Plague Star", the opening chapter in which we see how Tuf acquires his ship and grow introduced to his tough but patient personality. This one is a minor masterpiece that pitches an entire crew into an every-man-for-himself battle where nobody can be trusted. (Petyr Baelish and Varys would feel right at home.) As with his later fantasy novels, Martin toys with the reader. He sets up situations where you think you can predict what will happen, but keeps some tricks up his sleeve until the last minute. Slightly less enchanting, but still definitely worth reading, are three stories where Tuf helps a crowded planet deal with overpopulation. I didn't find these tales excessively preachy, but there was certainly less action there than what I've come to expect from Martin.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
philip
This is a collection of short stories or novellas concerning the same main character. But, all are very well constructed and entertaining. Some of the best Science Fiction stories that George RR Martin has written. Not as morose or introspective as Dying of the Light or some of his other Sci-Fi stories.

Very different from Game of Thrones / Song of Ice and Fire. There is no varying perspective in these stories like there is in those novels. So, you really get into the perspective of this main character. No epic story arcs since these are all reasonably short.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa w
A delightful collection of short stories, relating the travels and adventures of the oversized self-proclaimed space-faring "Ecological Engineer" Haviland Tuf. These stories, for the most part, were orignally written in the mid-1980's, and this collection itself was originally published in 1986.

I found the Haviland Tuf main character to be so uniquely different from any other SciFi character I've ever encountered, that it was delightfully refreshing.

Virtually all of the seven stories themselves are individually captivating; however, my favorite is the first from the collection, Plague Star. Plague Star is by far the longest individual story of the seven, weighing in at over 100 pages (none of the others are much more than 50 pages).

Another unique factor regarding this book are the illustrations; which I also found to be another refreshing difference versus the hundreds of other SciFi books I've read. I'd say that there are over 40 illustrations, and in all but maybe two or three cases, I found them to add to the enjoyment of the stories.

Another kudo goes to the jacket art for the book - extremely well done, and oddly, nothing like the illustrations found inside.

Unfortunately, it seems that the author's other works are mostly fantasy-related, and that he produced nothing else quite like these stories - so I suppose I'm going to have to be content with this limited sample of uniquely enjoyable SciFi.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
seabury
Ecological engineering, cutthroat mercenaries, psionic cats, mushroom wine, a massive starship and absolute power - what's not to like? Haviland Tuf is large, bald, pale and a master of the deadpan putdown, with no qualms about upending the socities which hire him to do genetic engineering for them. He's also the sort-of hero of one of the best sf novels - actually a collection of closely-related short stories - I've ever read. I've recommended this book to many people, and without exception, they've all loved it, too. Martin writes with wit, panache and page-turning style; now if only he would get back to writing Tuf stories (as he's said he'd like to do someday)....
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
chelsey
My copy of this novel is from February 1986. The credits show each of the six shorties therein having appeared in the period 1976-1985 in various years inside Analogue and/or Andromeda magazines. While effort was made in getting the six short stories to mesh together, they didn't mesh well. The timeline is played fast and loose, and those cats of Tuff are ancient by the end of the novel. At one point they are referred to as 'kittens' when they are five years old.

This book was written decades ago, and the writing quality inside is nothing compared to what George R.R. Martin has achieved in his 'Song of Fire and Ice' series. Even though he wrote em, it was close to 30 years ago, so don't get your hopes up.

As for the stories themselves, I enjoyed the first one (for intrigue) and last (for what defines a god). The dueling plagues in the 'Moses' story I found pretty stupid, and the others didn't have strong themes or points. Note they were *stories*, not chapters in a novel.

Tuf as a character has no romantic interests at all, is unflappably robotic, and quirky about human contact. Cat loving with obstinate politeness and a desire to help people was my post-novel impression. Other characters in the stories are not really relevant, this is a Tuf-centric collection.

Should you get this? As a novel it didn't do much for me. It is an average AND dated sci-fi read. Martin keeps talking about planets running out of petroleum, and mentions punching numbers into a wrist computer. If you like vintage sci-fi short stories, go ahead and buy the softcover. If you really love cats, then you'll probably want to buy hardcover. It is my personal opinion that much better sci-fi books and George R.R. Martin novels are out there.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matt sisk
Originally a collection of shorts published in Analog magazine as a continuing saga, Tuf Voyaging is all the pieces put together into a smooth novel with an extremely unique protagonist.

Haviland Tuf and his ship, the 'Cornucopia Of Excellent Goods At Low Prices', has been hired by a group of five people to travel towards what is known as The Plague Star. When upon arriving, they discover it is not a star at all but a long abandoned Seedship, left over from the war a thousand years ago. Their first problem is getting past the ship's automated defenses and boarding, their second problem is the greed that has filled every head except Tuf's.

Tuf, of course, winds out in charge of the Seedship, named the Ark. (no details, just read the book! The first chapter details these events, and is most excellent!) the remaining six chapters chronicle Tuf's voyages from planet to planet, using the Ark to solve problems such as overpopulation, sea monsters, cruel animal-fighting pits, and religious plagues.

Eccentric and droll would be the best way to describe Haviland Tuf, a very tall and very large bald man. He travels alone, except for his cats, Havoc and Mushroom. The cat family expands, and Tuf is inspired by his human encounters to name the new kittens Suspicion, Doubt, Hostility, Ingratitude, and Foolishness. Tuf is a loner, intelligent, peculiar, a vegetarian with an enormous appetite, and a dry wit. Indeed.

The Seedship is a marvelous invention of Martin's, thirty kilometers long and three kilometers high, the pinnacle of the old Earth Ecological Corps inventions. Although the EEC used their Seedships for war, Tuf has only benign uses for it. Inside the Ark are stored millions and millions of cell samples, and all the equipment, including a chronowarp engine, to genetically engineer or clone any species.

Travel with Tuf through space, and revisit the planet S'uthlam (three chapters have S'uthlam) where Tully Mune is the acerbic Portmaster who lives her life in zero gravity. Tully's will and determination prove to be a match for Tuf, and the chapters in which they face off with each other are excellent.

This is SciFi at it's best, very character oriented with enough strange planets, strange beings, strange traditions, and technology to satisfy the hungriest of SciFi palates. Even more enjoyable if you are a cat lover like myself. Get out and buy this book now! Enjoy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
katerina
Another short story collection by Martin. Tuf, the central characater is quite strange. He is cold, and dispassionate. He is also a man living basically alone with cats. Not that normal, there.

His really big ship has some impressive capabilities, and he uses them to try and solve what he sees as environmental problems, among other things.

This brings him into conflict with many other people. He is not your likable hero kind of guy, more cold and pragmatic.

Tuf Voyaging : The Plague Star - George R. R. Martin
Tuf Voyaging : Loaves and Fishes - George R. R. Martin
Tuf Voyaging : Guardians - George R. R. Martin
Tuf Voyaging : Second Helpings - George R. R. Martin
Tuf Voyaging : A Beast for Norn - George R. R. Martin
Tuf Voyaging : Call Him Moses - George R. R. Martin
Tuf Voyaging : Manna from Heaven - George R. R. Martin

If you want to acquire an AI ship and shaft the people you hire to do it for you, make sure it likes you.

Also, if someone says there is Tyrannosaur behind you, believe them.

If the Tyrannosaur is hungry, ensure preplanning acquisition of serious artillery.

4 out of 5

If someone is in charge of a giant AI planet engineering ship, don't nick their cat.

3.5 out of 5

Namor, Prince of the Deep is a kitten.

3.5 out of 5

A return to S'uthlam, and his dramatisation is way more popular than Tuf or his cats.

3.5 out of 5

A spot of supply problems for an animal combat arena.

3 out of 5

Biological plague dealing.

3 out of 5

Drastic solutions for ridiculous population problems.

4 out of 5
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
an d koenig feldman
Those who think the storyline and characterization are "shallow" are missing the point. The classics of SF were about IDEAS as much as they were about people, and this is what "Tuf Voyaging" offers.

Yes, Tuf is an odd and unsympathetic character. He's solitary and finds human contact distasteful; he admits to several flaws and possesses even more; and his seeming arrogance is, at times, distinctly unappealing.

But more importantly (as the other main character, Tolly Mune, notes), Tuf is ETHICAL. His code of conduct will not allow him to let injustice or brutality stand unchallenged. And, where a simpler man might respond to dogfighting arenas or similar cruelty with ineffectual outrage, Tuf takes it a step further. He turns their own behavior--their own shortsightedness, selfishness, or greed--against them. He teaches them a better way, even as he systematically disrupts and dismantles their socities to replace them with better, more ethical ones.

The world that demands monster-killers after heedlessly slaughtering some native sea life is forced to the bargaining table by the world's TRUE natives. The culture where status is based on arena dogfighting is overrun with a new ecology where large predators can no longer exist--and neither can the arenas. The reckless breed-at-any-price world constantly teetering on the brink of starvation or war is offered salvation in the form of miracle crops that also cause sterility. And so on.

Tuf is cold, yes, but his relentless pursuit of ethical solutions forces the cruel and cowardly societies to change, unwillingly, into better ones. The concerns about "absolute power" are inevitable, and are not answered in a reassuring way... but the simple truth remains. The intelligent man of ethics has a responsibility to force change on the brutal and stupid (if they won't accept it any other way), for the benefit of all.

It's not a democratic conclusion--but in times of ecological and ethical crisis, it's the only option. "Tuf Voyaging" offers thought-provoking case studies for the philosopher, and thoroughly satisfying (vicarious) vengeance for the animal-lover.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
chris caccamo
(Vague Spoilers)

A "fixup novel" (short stories arranged as a novel), featuring the adventures of Haviland Tuf, a "humble" space trader who, by twists of fate and/or supreme cleverness, finds himself master of "The Ark" - a gigantic space derelict formerly used for ecological warfare by a long-dead space empire. Being a man of peace, Tuf goes into business as an "ecological engineer", traveling the stars, solving the ecological crises of foolish mortals everywhere, using the godlike capabilities of the Ark and his own god-like power of infallible judgment.

This is fairly-enjoyable light reading, a bit reminiscent of early Jack Vance (an influence acknowledged by the author).

But, by the end, I was fed up with Tuf, and wanted to punch him in his smug, arrogant face. Was I supposed to feel this way? An interviewer once mentioned to Martin the idea that TUF VOYAGING was about the corrupting influence of absolute power on what was formerly a humble decent man. Martin did not correct him, but I am not entirely sure he agreed. Maybe we're just supposed to buy into the megomaniacal power fantasy.

Contents include:
- "Prologue": A short, mostly-disconnected fragment about a dying man bitterly cursing his fate on a disease-ridden planet. Contrasts strikingly with the cushy invulnerability (and immortality?) later achieved by Tuf.
- "The Plague Star" (1985): Origin story in which Tuf outwits a number of scumbags to acquire the Ark. Originally published in a magazine, where this outcome might have been less predictable.
- "Guardians" (1981): When ocean monsters start waging war on planetary colonists, Tuf is called in to assist. This reminded me vaguely of a number of Vance stories dealing with similar themes ("The World Between", "The Gift of Gab", "The Miracle Workers", and others).
- "A Beast for Norn" (1976, revised 1985): In which Tuf intervenes in a bloodsport competition. The first Tuf story written, loosely modeled on "The Kokod Warriors", by Vance.
- "Call Him Moses" (1978): Tuf competes with a religious charlatan to replicate biblical miracles. Focuses on the "playing God" theme. But to what purpose? The worst story here.
- "Loaves and Fishes", "Second Helpings" and "Manna from Heaven" (all 1985): a trio of chapters/stories dealing with the planet Suthlam, plagued by overpopulation. Their religion (loosely modeled on Catholicism) is evidently the main culprit. This one seems a bit preachy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
21stcenturymom
A very clever plot involving a "seed ship" and a kind of "accidental tourist" turned helpful ship captain that winds around and around. Haviland's help through the ship's resources always comes with a price. I always found myself cheering for Haviland Tuf. Very satisfying read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nevena coric
I read this book donkeys years ago, and found it again recently, and enjoyed it just as much now, as I did as a child, there is some good "big science" type stuff in the idea and ethics of genetics, and a good bit of wish fulfilment (who wouldn't want to roam the universe in a big bully mega death dealing out ship?). Tuf lack of character makes him an even more engaging character, I personally found him quite likeable and his ethical stance makes him the ideal, if not the only person suitable in the Galaxy to take charge of the seedship, and of course he faces many trials that would seek to "tempt" him from the path of righteousness. I am re-reading that last sentence and am wondering if there is a religious allegorical theme running through the overall story.. anyway, where was I, yes, as other readers have pointed out, this could make a really good film or better still a mini-series. This is a fun book, but great sci-fi, well and humorously told.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kerry anderson
Very eloquent and very challenging. Martin brings up some very interessting questions but also takes a firm stance on how he would handle the situation if he was provided with godly powers. I wish there was more of it, I could have continued reading about Tuf's voyages for at least another 500 pages. Thanks Mr. Martin. I might not like smelly dungeons, medieval savages and white walkers bathing in rivers of blood but I do like good sci-fi. What your book has reminded me of is the work of Strugatzki brothers so now I feel compelled of reading some more sci-fi originating from your pen.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tdashwolf
I think that this is the first book that I have read by this author. It can be enjoyed as a light read about a quirky character who travels to interestingly different cultures. On the other hand, it can be thought-provoking about the issues of bioengineering, war, profit, self-defense....

I don't remember why I chose to download it from the library. I think that it was the sales blurb about a guy with a powerful spaceship who liked cats.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pinar mavi
I LOVED this! It's the first book I've read by Martin - after finishing it, I had to look him up to see what else he's written, and whatta you know? looks like he's pretty famous! Tuf's dry humor was right up my alley. He reminds me a bit of Doctor Who - as do his solutions. I wish it were a series!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kyle
I've read literally thousands of science fiction novels in the last 35 years (all the masters back to the very beginning), and Tuf Voyaging rates as one of the top five science fiction novels of all time. When it comes to a plot and ideas that that stick with you, it rates number one. I've waited in vain for a sequel or a film or a television dramatization. Tuf Voyaging tells the story of a highly moral man gifted with virtually absolute power. I read it every few years and continue to flip flop about the rightness and wrongness of his final acts. Was Tuf corrupted, or was he indeed uncorruptible? In the end, was he a man, or was he a god? It's that good. It doesn't let you go. The book touches on issues humanity faces everyday, issues that are becoming increasingly more urgent: populations outstripping food sources, species extinctions, short term political thinking, cruelty, abuses of power, etc. I keep two, very much read and battered copies of the book, one for myself and one to lend to others. This is the book that sent me in search of everything else George R. R. Martin has ever written. While his writing is always excellent, Tuf Voyaging is his greatest masterpiece. The book creates a variety of emotions in the reader, amusement (it has wonderfully humorous sections), anticipation, dread, exhilaration, and uncertainty. Once again, it's unforgettable and has been responsible for single handedly hooking several young people I know on science fiction. If you haven't read it, track it down and do so. If you have read it, read it again and see if your opinions have changed. If you have any influence on the author, demand the character return in another book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hans schnier
If you are a fan of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' read this book. If you are a fan of science-fiction read this book. If you are a fan of reading read this book. I, probably like most of the other reviewers, started reading George R.R. Martin's 'Ice and Fire' series years ago. But only recently, while rereading 'Ice and Fire', did I decide to get hold of some of Martin's other work. About a month ago I started with Fevre Dream and I am pleased to report that it was a terrific read and a fine example of horror/adventure literature. But sadly, it just didn't compare with Ice and Fire. A week later I stumbled across a reprint of 'Dying of the Light' in a bookstore and I was all too happy to give another of George's works a go. I was pleasantly rewarded again. After starting a bit slow 'Dying' turned into another great read in the sci-fi/suspense category. However, it didn't really come close to comparing with 'Ice and Fire' either.

Enter 'Tuf Voyaging'. I ordered this paperback edition off of the store several days ago. When it arrived I took some time before starting it but I finally cracked it open last night at around 1 am. I finished it at about 5 am. It was that good. No, it was better than good, it's the most satisfying and awesome sci-fi collection or novel I have ever read.

The books follows the story of titular character Haviland Tuf. Tuf is an honest cat-loving space trader who has fallen on hard times because of his quirky tastes in trade-goods (he is likely the only interstellar merchant who has a cargo-hold full of alien orgy masks). But Tuf is also singularly brilliant and possessed of a deeply compassionate nature (though at times he admittedly seems more caustic than compassionate). So when Tuf finds himself trapped aboard an unimaginably powerful ancient starship (that holds the ecological secrets of virtually every planet in the galaxy) with a variety of cutthroat mercenaries and heartless scientists he is forced to take action to prevent the ship from falling into deadly hands. This begins the most wildly entertaining space saga you're likely to ever read.

As readers of 'Ice and Fire' likely know, George R.R. Martin is a fantastic storyteller and perhaps the greatest voice in the history of fantasy. Sure, if you're a traditionalist and want absolutely comprehensive storytelling read Tolkien, but if you want truly compelling prose then read Martin. He can build astonishingly beautiful worlds full of characters who are far more than the usual two-dimensional 'villains and heroes' fare seemingly inherent to mainstream sci-fi/fantasy.

And if you are somehow afraid of sci-fi (and are pondering whether a few dollars spent in the sci-fi games will be worth it) think no more. The endless creativity and the incredible character-building featured in 'Tuf' is proof positive that George R.R. Martin is one of the greatest writers not only in sci-fi/fantasy, but in contemporary literature. If you haven't started reading him yet you're way behind. And there's no better way to start than with 'Tuf Voyaging'.

If you've already read 'Ice and Fire' then I can virtually guarantee you that you'll love to voyage with Haviland Tuf. So far it's the only work of Martin's I've read that compares with 'Ice and Fire' in any meaningful way, and I'm shocked to tell you that it might be just as good (though most of you might doubt me on that). But one thing is for sure, if you buy this book prepare for a literary feast providied by one of your favorite authors. You won't regret it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ari ariuna
Very nice, funny and wise, reminds of The Star Diaries by Stanisław Lem. I liked most of all the moment that there is a very few of cruelty as for George R.R. Martin. Classical, even canonical stories remake make me eager to read the original finally :) (Read in Russian, bought on LitRes)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
zona
I first came across these stories when reading "The Plague Star" in an issue of my father's Analog magazine. Ever since, I've avidly consumed everything I could find by Martin. This collection of stories is such a pleasure to read, I can't do it justice here. If they book has any weakness, it is that the stories were written over a fairly large span of time (ten years, or more - I can't remember). Because of this, the quality of the written varies, growing better as Martin developed his skills.
The stories work on so many levels, and Tuf is such a singular character, the stories remain in my mind almost daily even ten years after I've read them. The fact that these stories live in the 'ghetto' of science fiction shouldn't scare away those who don't typically read it. Martin's grasp of humor, horror and the human condition is unmatched. I've often compared him to Mark Twain, in that his writing is so simple and universally appealing, yet contains so much more moving beneath the surface.
It's a wonder to me that with Martin's forays into screenwriting that he's never decided to pitch "Plague Star". It works almost perfectly as a feature film, with just the right length, rhythm and imagery. Perhaps the one thing holding him back is the lack of the standard 'human' element in all these stories - Tuf is profoundly asexual, and indeed, seems to have almost no typical heartwarming hooks that Hollywood demands be in virtually every film it rolls out. There are no love interests, no (traditional) paternal emotions. There's no boy meets girl here, just boy meets destiny. Yet I think that it could appeal to a wide variety of viewers nonetheless. The book after "Plague Star" has a fairly strong 'population control' message that might not appeal to the religious right, but I have a feeling the message would go right over their heads - history has shown us that people aren't to quick to pick up these subtleties.
Accessible and rewarding. If you can find this gem, don't let it slip through your grasp.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marie
At least that's SOMETHING good from Game of Thrones hype. I loved this book, and have read it several times over the decades I've owned it. I just loaned it to someone, so I'm thrilled that it's back in print in case they keep it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
namratha
I must confess I wasn't a huge fan of his SoIF series. Tuf Voyaging however, was something else entirely. From the very beginning I found the character of Tuf himself, about which the novel centers, to be utterly fascinating. George R.R. Martin has managed to create something I once thought impossible, a new archetype. I truly have never encountered another character like him in all my years. Fans of witty dialogue and hifalutin language will surely fall in love.

This is a standalone collection and should in no way be compared or even related to his other works.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jesse hall
This book is a collection of short stories with a common theme and an unusual and delightful protagonist in the George R.R. Martin style. A delight to read with some lessons that our own planet should learn from.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
boston salama
...and you're dying for more, you could check out James White's Sector General novels. Basically "ER" in space, by a master of the old school. Lots of medical mysteries to be solved, and there's often that worrisome question -- is this an animal or a person?

A different tone, but just as ingenious and engaging as Tuf. You can find the novels by searching on Sector General. One nice thing -- there's lots of them!

And perhaps I need to add that if you haven't read Tuf, you're in for a huge treat. All these years later, I still check out ole George's spot on the shelves for a sequel. (It could happen. Look at all the Jane Austen sequels!)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chantel
Picked this up at the library because I had enjoyed the Song of Ice and Fire series. I just loved everything about the book. It included all of the things that were great about Ice and Fire before it got bogged down with too much plot and too many characters. The great thing about Martin's books is the vast history. the exhausting thing about Martin's books is the vast history...like real history it is better in small doses. Very fun read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
candis vargo
I was the cover illustrator for the hardcover and first edition paperback of Tuf Voyaging. It was my break-in assignment from Jim Baen at TOR. And, as an avid science fiction reader for years, I couldn't believe my luck when I read the book in manuscript form. To this day it is one of my favorites. Haviland Tuf is one of the most distinctive characters in science fiction. As I read the stories, I kept thinking this would make a great film. I still think so today.

I only wish they had let me do the cover design I wanted. It had dinosaurs. Read the book and you'll understand why. Instead, they wanted a more iconic design showing Haviland and the cats.

I hope they bring this title back into print, because it's a classic. Seems like a no-brainer, given Martin's popularity today.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shel sammut
This is a fantastic book! Not only does it have a lot of cool aspects of sci-fi like a lot of different worlds with different problems, it also has several deep questions. This book is written very well, but it is a very different type of book than A Game of Thrones. A Game of Thrones has a lot more violence and sex than is portrayed in Tuf Voyaging.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lihini wijesinghe
This is close to the best sci-fi I have read. The novel is a series of short stories combined, and it has that feel too which isn't great. The main character here is pretty wierd, almost like he has asperger's. The idea of the ship is wonderful though. This reminds me of another great sci-fi,The Foundation series by Asimov. Martin should finish the Foundation series it would be great.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stepc1127
I had read all 5 GOT books, so I looked at this earlier GRRM work. This is a highly entertaining, and very imaginative
book that is nothing like the GOT series. An easy read (but still 300 odd pages), yet it will get you thinking. Highly
recommended for any that enjoy science fiction.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sentimentsbydenise
The very need of man to do good in the race of consent strife. There can be a balance. A child knows right from, why can't we? Destroy, Destroy or create. There is a simple truth that is always the same, KISS, keep it simple stupid. There is always a good way and a wrong. Good job Dude, just my opinion.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
haengbok92
this book has the ability to trap a reader in a futuristic world. I had just finished the game of thrones series and his book keeps the reader thinking just like George's other series. Overall, a great book to read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brannon
I bought this book when it first came out. I thoroughly enjoyed it at that time. I purchased a new copy several years ago and again was enthralled.
I checked it out of the library this past year and again it was a great read. I am always pulled into the novel as if I am in the story with the characters. I read very fast, but when I read a good book I find myself slowing down as I read. I become immersed as if I am one of the characters.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
colleen
The sections of this fix-up novel entitled "The Plague Star," "Guardians" & "Call Him Moses" (all previously published in Analog magazine) R all wonderful stuff by George -- "Guardians" was an award-nominee, & "The Plague Star" features some wonderfully nasty creatures, & all 3 sections have that special magic that George's fans read him 4 -- Haviland Tuf is 1 of George's greatest characters: witty, funny, always wronged, & Dserving of WAY better than what happens 2 him in this story. The later sections wind down in2 a tired harangue about overpopulation. U'll B disappointed....
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kathy mertens
What else would you expect from George R.R. Martin but the best? I read this when I was a sophomore in high school after reading A Game of Thrones, what a discovery. This book is filled with colorful characters that you will either love or hate, each with their own, sometimes hilarius personalities. This book is just awsome, if you are a fan of George Martin, or just a fan of engrossing science fiction this book is defintely for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
allison fraser
This book really drew me in, for a lot of reasons. Martin has an outstanding gift for dialogue, and his ability to describe setting is in my mind unparalleled in the genre. The characters in this novel are interesting, especially the protagonist Tuf. He isn't the typical hero, though his surprising streak of altruism makes him both unpredictable and endearing. Fans of Space Operas and Fantasy alike should give this sleeper a shot.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
makenzie dolnick
Most people reading this book will do so already having experienced Martin's genius from his other works. Unfortunately, the strength of his vaunted "Ice and Fire" series, namely the characters, is where this story is at its weakest.

The plot, setting and details in this book are quite engaging. The idea of one man floating around space doing good deeds with his massively powerful ancient weapon system is classic and making that weapon a cloning ship is a nice spin on the idea.

The downfall of Tuf Voyaging is Tuf himself, and the various people who's acquaintance he makes. Tuf is painfully lacking in any appealing qualities beyond his supposed morality. There is no depth to his character apart from his love for cats which is explained most telling by the author's shared affection.

All the various stories seem to revolve around Tuf's infallibility in the face of massive global ecological puzzles despite his humble trader background. Towards the end of the novel I found myself hoping he would be proved wrong or defeated in some way as his self-perceived perfection was becoming tiresome and repetitive. In the last pages of the book a glimmer of hope shows through when we almost see a spark of emotion from the character. The undertones of the ethical implications of the godlike powers of this weapon corrupting a once good-natured man and turning him into a monster ultimately end in disappointment and we close the story with the same character we started.

As if to accentuate this character's aura of intellectual and moral superiority, the surrounding characters seemed to have been dumbed down. Everyone in the future is completely lacking in subtly, guile and intuition and completely inept in the face of the main character's awesome prowess.

In summary, though the idea is excellent, the forced and shallow storyline fail to make this novel worthy of recommendation.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
douglas carnine
Without a doubt "Tuf Voyaging" is the most thought provoking collection of short stories I have ever had the honor to read. As far as I'm concerned I have now read the very best ever written. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lynne
If your like me and you need another epic entanglement of delicious stories with deep and thought-provoking characters than look no further. All the intricacies and highly developed imagination that a sci-fi adventure needs with none of the cheesy moments.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jesse markus
Everytime I run across this book, I reread it. Tuf's ark is infinitely interesting; Tuf's amorality makes him pleasingly unpredictable; Martin has always been one of the best little-known writers in SF. You pretty much have to look for this book where remainders are sold, but it's worth it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
victoria calder
I think this is one of my favorite books! I don't read a lot of sci-fi but this one I could read over and over again. I just wish I had a copy. This is one of those books that seems like a crime for it to be out of print. I think just about anyone would enjoy reading this book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
erick ortiz
Again people giving reviews of this book because they like The Song of Ice and Fire. I can't imagine that they really found this to be 5 star material. Would GGRM even give himself 5 stars for this.

The character of Tuf is cleverly written and the situations and his solutions to them are witty and humurous, but not great.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tija
This is the first book I've read from the author, it was a present from a friend who thought I might like it, and she was right! I have really enjoyed reading it, I have already downloaded another of the author's books and will probably download and read several more.
The main character is very charismatic, not too good not too bad, and very intelligent.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sukanya s
This book is just too awesome. Every time I think about it I want to get a shovel and dig it out of my garage again(I have a carnivorous garage that I keep my books in). The cats are just great, and my own cats often seem to have a touch of psi themselves!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anirudh gupta
I asked Martin if he was ever going to write more and he said, then, that he was too busy with Wild Cards. Well, George, Wild Cards are OVER, we want more TUF!!!!! And cats, some how, even with fixing all my cats I'm following Tuf in numbers.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
donato
Some key points:

1. Anyone who is at all familiar with realspace travel knows that ZG (Zero Gee) is very bad for all the muscles and organ functions in the body, leading rapidly to degenerative atrophy with the potential for permanent and life threatening (irreversible) effects. It is one of the main reasons, aside from power and air, that we are not going to Mars anytime soon. Yet an entire cast of 'spinnerets' lives their entire lives in ZG and are uncomfortable to the point of non-functional outside it. This includes the designated Old Woman sounding board who acts as a foil for the main character's supposed genius for most of the book.

2. One of the scenarios in the book deals with overpopulation on a planet with 39 odd billion people. The conditional justification for this being a religious philosophy that if mankind doesn't create sufficient genetic diversity, he will not evolve towards godhead and from there, learn to abate the heat death of a universe that has expanded all it can. The problem here being that, while large numbers of genetic codings do equate to large numbers of mutations (all things being equal in terms of genetic sweep vs. environmental drivers), most species only have a rough lifespan of approximately 1-2 million years anyway, before genetic diffusion leads to reproductive failure or species change anyway. Breeding more idiots now will not change this relative fact of life on the timescale of multiple tens of billions of years before the 'end of everything'.

3. Tuf's solution to the overpopulation problem is to eventually provide a narcotically addictive plant whose pimple like carbuncles 'taste so good' that everyone will eat them without bothering to do the tests which reveal that it dramatically reduces male libido and female fertility to something like .01 of original function.

The problem here is that the justification for this is the need for a 'population implosion' by which a technologically sophisticated (maximum genius to support all those hungry mouths) race would -lose-, in direct percentages, the equivalent from every cast. Specifically, if the hyper intelligent whose numbers are seldom more than 5-8% of society would be hit the hardest because they are the fewest relative percentile group. Since these are the people who keep the lights on, their lack of numeric presence would lead to famine and war and pestilence among the also rans -anyway- as society will not be able to sustain the technocracy without them.

3. Tuf's home is a giant ecological (environmental modification) ship. Ignoring the stupidity of multi-month infectious diseases and various predatory animals being useful in an interstellar war defined by seconds of engagement time with gigaton yield nukes and high-fraction-of-light collisions between masses, the one thing you don't see Tuf doing is **Teraforming** in a manner that would bring not simply profitability but real gain to those struggling masses who are the center of almost medieval dramas (beast fighting among aristos and religious heresy by would be prophets among others, hardly subjects of interest for a people that have been wandering the stars for 1,000+ years...). Indeed, the one time we are shown what happens when the -successful- party woos away the population from the idiocracy of absolutism to (robotics/automation enabled) 'something better' it immediately degrades to a duel of plagues with a less than interesting antagonist rather than something that explains what life in 1,500 years might really be like.

A large part of this is inherent to the need to rapidly construct the myth of Tuf himself who comes across as less monastically pure and clever than dysfunctionally affected in his eccentricities and free to judge others based upon his protected position in the story.

As stated, the attitudes taken towards religion and social mores are less pointed in their suggested primitivism than simplistic bordering on boorish in their depiction of barbarians in a high tech society. If Tuf is that smart and the technologies suggested are that advanced then EVERYONE in the population should be equally clever and charming. Instead, they are simply overbearingly stupid for the purpose of making the protagonist look smart.

No one who was as primitive as the author depicts these people being, in their aesthetic tastes as associated belief systems, would ever listen to half the length of Tuf's highbrowed pedantism, they'd shoot him in the face and then discover that they'd screwed up. Something that indeed happens to several of his erstwhile foes, but only among themselves.

This is a book which reads fast because it has lost the balance between light hearted and air headed. It might appeal to a specific kind of preteen adolescent. But no one over the age of 10 will be taken in by it.
Please Rate Tuf Voyaging: A Novel
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