A mythic tale of space travelers marooned on a planet engulfed in the flames of war and of the immortal hero who endeavors to save them in the name of love
In a far-future era, death is virtually no more, banished except in the case of severe, violent trauma, enabling mankind to spend what were once entire lifetimes exploring the farthest reaches of the vast universe. When the interstellar vessel Meteor is dispatched to investigate a distant orb circling a giant red sun, an error in calculations sends the ship crashing into a different world altogether, casting its surviving crew into the heart of a savage, planetwide war of primitive alien tribes. With no means of escape and hostiles on every side, the situation appears hopeless for Captain Felip Argens. But for the mission’s true leader—crewman, adventurer, and ship’s bard Hugh Valland—impossible is not an option. If necessary, he will alter destiny to end the terrible conflict and bring his men safely back home, even if it takes decades, or centuries, or longer—for a remarkable love patiently awaits Valland’s return to Earth. It is she who sustains him, who inspires his actions, his courage, his song, with a love that is a miracle, a memory, a tragedy, and a dream.
One of the most thoughtful and lyrical works by the incomparable Poul Anderson—winner of seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards over the course of his acclaimed career—World without Stars is a thrilling deep-space adventure and a magnificent feat of world building by a luminary of science fiction’s golden age.
“Beautifully crafted . . . Resonates on all kinds of levels. This is a very poetic novel and written when Anderson was absolutely at the top of his game. . . . I really admire how Anderson created this whole SF universe . . . and really made it work.” —Jo Walton, Tor.com
“Brisk and readable from its opening page . . . A tale full of action.” —SFReviews.net
“One of science fiction’s most influential and prolific writers.” —The Daily Telegraph
Poul Anderson (1926–2001) grew up bilingual in a Danish American family. After discovering science fiction fandom and earning a physics degree at the University of Minnesota, he found writing science fiction more satisfactory. Admired for his “hard” science fiction, mysteries, historical novels, and “fantasy with rivets,” he also excelled in humor. He was the guest of honor at the 1959 World Science Fiction Convention and at many similar events, including the 1998 Contact Japan 3 and the 1999 Strannik Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Besides winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, he has received the Gandalf, Seiun, and Strannik, or “Wanderer,” Awards. A founder of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, he became a Grand Master, and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
In 1952 he met Karen Kruse; they married in Berkeley, California, where their daughter, Astrid, was born, and they later lived in Orinda, California. Astrid and her husband, science fiction author Greg Bear, now live with their family outside Seattle.