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Publisher's Summary

The Millennial War left a sullen void where civilization once stood. But then the whales began their song - a mysterious song that resounded throughout the polluted seas and told an ancient heartbreaking tale that moved the survivors to revive and honored ritual....

©1981 Somtow Sucharitkul (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Starship & Haiku

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A heady mix of science fiction and Japanese thinking

I’ve known about Starship and Haiku for years, but I never came across it. Now at last, with the internet and Audible, I can catch up on S.P. Somtow’s work.

The story is both simple and deep. Simple: it’s a post-apocalypse, with survivors either coming to terms or struggling to escape. Deep: it’s presented from a distinctly Japanese perspective, one which may be new and incomprehensible to Western eyes. But S.P. Somtow leads you gently into a culture that prizes honor and that sees beauty in imperfection—and in perfect death.

After the Millennial War, much of Earth is devastated by plague and mutation and a failing ecosystem. Japan has survived with the least destruction; but its days are numbered, too. Like the long-lost whales who embraced their fate, powerful leaders argue that it is time for Japan to die on their own terms.

But others are unwilling to give up. They see hope in a lost Russian starship program: a chance for some to escape to a new world. Yet where they see hope, the others see dishonor and marred beauty.

Amid this conflict stand three young people: a Japanese American youth who doesn’t understand his heritage, his mutant brother with a secret, and the daughter of the man who leads the starship program. There seems little that three such people can do to alter such momentous events; but they have the whales on their side…

The performance was what I generally hope for: good, clear, without drawing attention to itself. The narrator handled the range of ages and sexes well, and I never doubted whose voice I was hearing.

I’m glad I found this!

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Needs a re-mastering

The actual reading is pretty good. The sound editing makes it feel much too rushed.