Haviland Tuf is not necessarily a likable guy. But he’s been double-crossed by the folks that hired him and his cats to take them to the “plague star” and it looks like he might not live to collect his meager payment. One thing Tuf is is smart. And when it turns out the “plague star” is actually a EEC Seedship -a modern day ark – suddenly the stakes change.
The seedship has samples of every known living thing from every known planet and a sophisticated genetic modification system – which basically means that whoever owns the Ark owns considerable potential for good or harm. And who better to own such potential than a man who loves cats and, mostly, disdains people?
Thus begins a series of adventures across the Universe. And it’s not always going to be easy to please everyone.. in fact in most cases, it’s going to be pretty tough voyaging.
George R.R. Martin is mostly known for his current grand epic A Song of Ice and Fire. This isn’t really in the same vein – it’s not fantasy, it’s sci-fi to the core. This book is actually a collection of short stories about Tuf as he (and his cats) travel in the Ark solving problems. It’s a fun throwback to some classic sci-fi (it feels very traditional in some ways) while being very clever and smart overall. The characters are not always as fully fleshed out as Tuf is, but they are developed enough to carry the story (another key to classic sci-fi where the story was paramount over highly developed characters)
Tuf is the most defined character and you really get the feeling that he’s an honest, moral guy who really just doesn’t understand people very well. Or if he does he’s just living in a constant state of disappointment by the behavior he sees. He’s a strange ‘hero’, but one that you come to understand.
There’s quite a bit of humor in this book, it’s just not overt. It’s more of a “oh Tuf, you bastard” chuckle sort, which is fun in itself. I’d totally recommend this one if you are looking for a fun, classic feeling series of stories or if you are a Martin fan and want to see what he does when he’s not writing sweeping epics that seem to drag on and never really get to the plot. Heh. Not that I’m judging or anything. (grumble, read all those other books, series still not done, seems like it never went anywhere, no, I’m not bitter not at all)
*a note. I believe that this book is out of print, so look for it at in a library or borrow if from someone who has it.
Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin, 440 pages