Andre Alice Norton's much-loved 1956 sci-fi novel is a sequel to Sargasso of Space, the first in Norton's "Solar Queen" series which she wrote under the penname "Andrew North". Plague Ship contains no shortage of adventure in deep space as mysterious stowaways on Dane Thorson's ship cause the crew to develop "sleeping sickness" that renders them anathema to the rest of the universe.
Michael Warner brings an irresistible spirit of adventure to his performance. He vocalizes alien creatures and brave astronauts with the same gusto inflected with rich intelligence. Norton's fans might wish for Warner to perform the entire "Solar Queen" series.
Lured by exotic gems and valuable oils, the crew of the space trader Solar Queen landed on the newly discovered planet Sargol only to find their most ruthless competitor there ahead of them. Still, they tried for fair trade, even according to the sly rules of the strangely feline, native Salariki. But after takeoff they found they had a plague on board, the treachery of someone who'd been on Sargol. Although they'd begun to run out of supplies, they couldn't land or they might start an inter-planetary epidemic ... And the galaxy had ordered that the Solar Queen be destroyed on sight!
Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
I was thrilled when I saw that they had added Ms. Norton's "Plague Ship" to the audiobook lists. It was just as good as I remembered from reading it as a child. The narator did a good job and the audio flowed well. This is the second of the "Solar Queen" series, and continues the adventure from shortly after the "Sargasso of Space" story.
"Plague Ship" is a very standard pulp sci-fi adventure. The crew of the independent trading ship Solar Queen are on a trading mission to Sargol, where they clash with one of the big companies, who is trying to move in (now that priceless gems have been found on the planet). The problem arises on the return trip, when the crew members start falling ill and into a semi-comatose state. Four junior members struggle to find a way to solve the mystery of the plague and clear their names before they are blown from space to prevent the spread of the contagion.
Strange new worlds, new life forms, mysterious illnesses and a fight for survival against harsh and uncaring spaceways....many of the elements of good old pulp sci-fi are present in this novel.
One unusual point is that the young characters are a little softer and somewhat less sure of themselves than is common in this genre of hard-bitten, flinty-eyed heroes. As a result, there is very little violence in this story.
Perhaps the most unusual feature of "Plague Ship" is that it was written by a woman (Andre Alice Norton) in a time and genre where female authors were rare.
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