A Mind For Trade

~ 7th Novel in the Solar Queen Series by Andre Norton

Written with Sherwood Smith


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A Mind for Trade

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

The Solar Queen and its new sister ship, North Star, have embarked on a mission to a planet rich in lucrative ore. Armed with their experience on the galactic rim, the independent traders descend to the surface to discover a bizarre set of dangers. A strange electromagnetic force is killing miners stranded from the former crew of the North Star. Weather is terrible, with enormous disturbances throughout the atmosphere of the entire planet. Dane Thorson and the rest of the embattled crew use all of their traders' ingenuity to untangle the mystery of Hesprid IV's deadly life forms. Finally, they take a desperate gamble to communicate with the planet's creatures--their last chance to survive the planet's many perils.

 

Write-up from the front flap of the 1997 dustjacket ~

Andre Norton and Sherwood Smith continue the highly acclaimed Solar Queen series with A Mind for Trade. Norton, one of the most distinguished living SF writers, once again teams up with Sherwood Smith (the Wren series) to create another fast-paced SF adventure novel.
The Solar Queen and its new sister ship, North Star, have embarked on a mission to a planet rich in lucrative ore. Armed with their experience on the galactic rim, the independent traders descend to the surface to discover a bizarre set of dangers. A strange electromagnetic force is killing miners stranded from the former crew of the North Star. Weather is terrible, with enormous disturbances throughout the atmosphere of the entire planet. Dane Thorson and the rest of the embattled crew use all of their traders’ ingenuity to untangle the mystery of Hesprld lV's deadly lifeforms. Finally, they take a desperate gamble to communicate with the planet’s creatures their lost chance to survive the planet's many perils.

 

Write-up from the back of paperback edition ~

Mining for Trouble
Hesprid IV can’t be that bad. Especially when it holds such a huge deposit of lucrative cielanite ore. Or so thinks Dane Thorson and the rest of the crew of the Solar Queen, and its new sister ship, the recently recovered derelict North Star. The plan seems simple: make landfall, mine ore, leave.
But when huge electromagnetic monsoons strike, and a strange lifeform makes deadly attacks on the miners, the mining grinds almost to a halt. Then the real treat arrives: the crew of the North Star, long ago stranded here, wants off the planet… at any cost.
It’ll take every ounce of the Solar Queen crew’s savvy and experience to make if it off Hesprid IV with their lives, let alone a profit. And that’s assuming they get past the pirates lying in wait on the far side of the star system…
“The plot is tight, the suspense and action are continuous, the characters are as engaging as ever, and the whole book gives hardly a clue that the original concept dates back to 1960’s. Wow!” - Booklist
 

Write-ups from fans ~

I have been told by reliable sources that this book was originally supposed to be written by Andre and Pauline Griffin, at the last moment the publisher pulled Pauline from the project and brought in Sherwood  Smith. This aggravated Andre to no avail for Sherwood would not listen to her input about the story. When she received her copy of the book she hid it out of site. When a friend of hers brought the title up in a conversation she directed them to remove this and the other three titles by Sherwood from her house. Upon her death she willed the copyrights to Sherwood because she hated all four books so much that she did not want her Estate associated with them. When you read them it is evident that Andre had little to do with them for they do not fit her style. They are included because her name appears on the front cover. ~ JW     Read a brief article on Sherwood Smith’s view.

 

The crew of the Solar Queen has acquired another ship which they had found as the derelict Ariadne, which they were awarded as salvage rights, and renamed it the North Star.  Now the crew is divided between the two ships, leaving them short-handed on both.  Captain Jellico has given the younger members, apprentices, the opportunity to prove themselves by crewing the North Star, with Medico Craig Tau as the only senior member.  The derelict ship came with a contract to mine cielanite on a very hostile planet.  However, once they get there, they discover the remaining crew members from their salvaged derelict.  After some misunderstandings, which the little blue Rigellian, Tooe, helps to resolve, they manage to gain the cooperation of the other Trader crew, and begin recovery operations of the already-mined cielanite and start mining for more.  However, the planet is inhabited by an alien life form (similar in nature to a helium ballon) whose very touch kills.  Dane, Rip, Ali Kamil, and Jasper Weeks (the four crew members who partook of the Victory drink on Sargol, have acquired a psi power that enables them to communicate with the aliens, discover that they need help to survive the upcoming electromagnetic storm on their planet, and that they are willing to trade as much cielanite as the ship can carry in exchange for help surviving the storm.  And of course, there's Shver pirates to contend with also.  Fortunately the Patrol comes through at the last minute. ~ SL

 

KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1997
A new adventure for the Trader ship Solar Queen (Derelict for Trade, 1997, etc.), continuing the update of a series begun long ago by Norton. This time, the Solar Queen's Captain Jellico controls two vessels--the North Star having been liberated from pirates in the previous adventure--and has a contract to mine a rare mineral (it has the property of augmenting electromagnetic storms, and may also be used illegally to make deadly space blasters) on the storm-racked planet Hesprid IV. Also, thanks to a previous incident, four crew members are developing psi powers among themselves. Solar Queen lands on the planet, only to find a crew of alien Tathians who are already engaged in mining but who agree to hand over their claim. Then three pirate ships show up. Unarmed and unable to tackle the pirates, North Star calls the cops before hiding in space. Other problems are caused by the planet's weird native Floaters, who've already zapped several of the Tathians, while the stormy weather approaches a destructive climax. With their newfound psi powers, Solar Queen's crew discover that the Floaters are sentient. So, in exchange for the ore, they arrange to protect the Floaters from the storms, leaving the cops to deal with the pirates. Another solid and agreeable adventure in an unpretentiously serviceable series. 

 

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Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

With heartfelt thanks to Dave Trowbridge, tech wizard extraordinaire, for unstinting help.
- S.S.

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1997) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-85920-1, 978-0-312-85920-6, $21.95 US $29.95 Canadian, 254pg ~ cover by Peter Peebles {Black Paper Boards}
  • (1998) Published by GK HALL, HC, 0-783-88432-X, 978-0-783-88432-5, LCCN 97052119, $25.95, 343pg ~ cover by Peter Peebles ~ Large Print
  • (1998) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-55273-3, 978-0-812-55273-7, $5.99 US $7.99 Canadian, 254pg ~ cover by Peter Peebles

 

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Non-English Editions ~

  • (1999) Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-237-03963-4, HC, 384pg ~ Russian title Разум на торги
  • (2003) Combined with "Redline the Stars" translation by E. Dobrokhotova-Maykova and "Derelict for Trade" translation by S. Anisimov ~ Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-170-16365-7, HC, 720pg ~ "A Mind for Trade" translation by M. Levin ~ Russian title Подчеркнуто звездами. Покинутый корабль. Разум на торги.
  • (2004) Combined with "Sargasso of Space" translation by S. Berezhkova and S. Vitina, "Plague Ship", "Voodoo Planet" and "Postmarked the Stars" translation by A. Malina, "Redline the Stars" translation by E. Dobrokhotova-Maykova and "Derelict for Trade" translation by S. Anisimov ~ Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-170-24014-7, HC, 1132pg ~ "A Mind for Trade" translation by M. Levin ~ Russian title Королева Солнца [Solar Queen]
  • (2004) Combined with "Sargasso of Space" translation by S. Berezhkova and S. Vitina, "Plague Ship", "Voodoo Planet" and "Postmarked the Stars" translation by A. Malina, "Redline the Stars" translation by E. Dobrokhotova-Maykova, "Derelict for Trade" translation by S. Anisimov, and "Plague Planet" by unknown ~ Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-170-24016-3, HC, 1136pg ~ "A Mind for Trade" translation by M. Levin ~ Russian title Королева Солнца [Solar Queen]

 

 

 

 

 

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