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Nimisha's Ship by Anne McCaffrey
Published by Del Rey Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Nimisha's Ship is a new novel set in the same universe as the short novel The Coelura. It follows many of the same themes Anne McCaffrey has previously presented, in particular that of the talented young woman whose unusual gift is considered inappropriate to her rank and station and who must struggle to realize her abilities in the face of the opposition of her elders. However, there seems to be something lacking, leaving me feeling unsatisfied as a reader.
Nimisha is a member of the First Families of Acclarke, Vega III. As the body-heir to a powerful woman of the First Families, she is expected to be beautiful and sociable, a credit to her family. However, Nimisha has an unfortunate mechanical talent, an ability that her sire insists upon encouraging.
When he is killed in an untimely accident, Nimisha is suddenly heir to an entire shipyard. She uses it to build a new model of ship, incorporating all her ideals of what a ship ought to be.
However, her new wealth has made her enemies, particularly her sire's body-heir, who regards her as having cheated him out of his inheritance in the shipyard. Thus it seems a little too suspicious that she should suddenly disappear without a trace while taking her new ship on its shakedown cruise.
In fact Nimisha and her ship have fallen down a wormhole and emerged in a distant solar system. There she finds the wreckage of several other ships, as well as survivors. Some are humans, barely hanging onto life among the hostile flora and fauna. Others prove to be members of another spacefaring race, also stranded on this world.
Unfortunately this novel, while it presented some interesting ideas, lacked a certain measure of urgency. It was the sort of book that's all too easy to put down and leave until you can get around to it again. I almost felt like it needed another major rewrite, and it just got published in its current state because of the fame of its author.
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This review posted June 2, 1999
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