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The Colors of Space by Hank Stine,Barbi Johnson,Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Book by Marion Zimmer Bradley

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The Color of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This is one of the first Science Fiction Novels I read so long ago. It's always been a favorite and possibly one that I've read over a half dozen times. It still stands the test of time despite some little quirks that most often come with classics that might not have predicted cell phones and PCs and the Internet.

It starts out with this line :

The Lhari spaceport didn't belong on Earth.

Bradley, Marion Zimmer. The Colors of Space (Kindle Location 19).
Bart Steele, the main character, has a prejudice against the alien race Lhari. It is deep seated; such that though the Lhari have given mankind the stars he feels that their presence on Earth is an overwhelming reminder that they withhold the technology that would give humans more freedom to roam and profit better in space. The Human Race has colonies out in space but their space efforts are limited to within the short distance that their ships might travel within each system. Any travel or trade involving warp-drive require Lhari ships. Humans have been told that they would not survive such flight without being placed in suspension for the voyage.

One set of humans, the Mentorians, help crew Lhari ships though they too are suspended during warp-drive flights. They add another level of prejudice that many have because some believe Mentorians have given up a lot of their loyalty to be able to work on Lhari ships. Bart does not have so much prejudice to Mentorians because his mother was a Mentorian and Bart can speak the Lhari language. (Mentorians seem to have a higher tolerance for brighter sunlight which is helpful since the Lhari are used to very bright light.) Lhari don't see color's and have found using Mentorians ability to help them identify colors has been helpful. This might be one of those quirky pieces that is a bit thin in the plot and unfortunately the story hinges on this (hence the title). (Even though they don't identify colors they likely have a wider variety of shades of black and white--if that's what they see--and they have made it into space with warp-drive; so it becomes questionable if they would see that much value in the Mentorian ability to discern color; though it does show a demonstration of trust in that branch of the human race.)

In the beginning of the story, Bart is sending a friend off into space while he also is at the port to meet his father who is coming in from Vega. The Lhari are awaiting the arrival of a possible criminal. Instead of meeting his father Bart meets Edmund Briscoe who is posing as his father and tries to get Bart away from the terminal where the Lhari are searching. This all has something to do with Bart's father and Edmund convinces Bart he must take a false identity and get away. Then Edmund crashes a vehicle; killing himself to create a diversion for Bart to get onto a flight to Procyon as David Briscoe where he's to meet with a Raynor Three of The EIGHT COLORS TRANSSHIPPING CORPORATION. (The Eight color is a color that describes the light of the Lhari engines and is the key to warp-drive.)

Bart embarks on an adventure that will test his courage and cause him to more closely examine his prejudices and his own loyalties. And as I said the book does have elements that are indicators of its classic origins; but overall it stands the test of time and today makes for a great addition to the reading of YA Science Fiction fans.

J.L. Dobias
I have almost all of Bradley's books in paperback and was happy to see this in Kindle format. I like this author - many of her books, the Darkover series, are somewhat dark so it is pleasant to read one that is hopeful. Even though the protagonist is young and somewhat idealistic he has a developed sense of right and wrong. It isn't a long book but was still entertaining.
I liked the story. It was pretty sweet. However, there was a large section missing in the first few chapters. He leaves a building and it's bright, he sees a sign, then it's blank until the next chapter where he's in someone's house and has already learned what happened to his father. Very confusing. But I caught up. Was this how it was written or was the digital copy incomplete?
While this is clearly an early book by Marion Zimmer Bradley, the characters are developed and the plot is well thought out. It is an interesting read, and if you have read her later books, you can see the thought processes of a young author developing the skills she will use to such good effect later. I really enjoyed the underlying ideas and themes of the story--it was a fun read!
This book is different than I usually read. I probably won't read anymore like it. This is a personal choice, I like a lot more technical and action type book. This book is more of a feel good book. A hopeful book if you will.
This was the book that got me interested in science fiction as a genre. Great for an intermediate to senior elementary school level reader. Easy to follow and good character and plot development.
I bought my copy next to mint from a first printing because I reread the other till it was ruined. I'm keeping this one in the plastic.
And I mean both the setting and the protagonist are generic and dumb. The setting because it doesn't make sense - the central conflict ends up being essentially meaningless, the way the world works seems incredibly unlikely and the science and technology contradicts both real-world science and itself - and the character because he just constantly does dumb things in order for the plot to progress.

So I'll start with the setting. There are humans and one species of aliens. Humans developed sub-light interstellar travel, then one day these aliens showed up with FTL. The aliens have a monopoly on their FTL tech.

But that aside, there are still a number of other issues. Like the fact that the humans and aliens have been living and working side by side for generations, but never seem to socialise at all.

Oh, and these aliens who discovered FTL space travel? They did it without maths. Or rather, their maths before they met humans is said to have been about equivalent to the ancient Greeks. Now the ancient Greeks did a lot of maths, certainly, but I find it just a little hard to believe that you could get from there to space ships without some advances in maths along the way. But no, the big thing the aliens got from humans was mathematics. It's like one of those games of Civilization where you skip some early tech and end up trading superconductors for the wheel.

It also had some pretty annoying quirks which I suppose were just products of the time it was written, like referring to the human species as "man" and having all of one female character, who seemingly exists just to be the protagonist's love interest at the end. I've read worse, but I did find this book quite irritating.
Every time I read one of these books I crave the stars. Ms. Bradley does a good job of describing the vastness and beauty of the cosmos, as well as the unimaginable size. Thank you.

ISBN: 0898651913

Rating: 4.2/5

Votes: 493

Other Formats: docx doc lit lrf

ISBN13: 978-0898651911

Publisher: The Donning Company; 1st edition (June 1, 1988)

Language: English

Subcategory: Classics

Pages: 141

The Colors of Space
Literature & Fiction
Author: Hank Stine,Barbi Johnson,Marion Zimmer Bradley
Title: The Colors of Space