Derelict for Trade

~ 6th Novel in the Solar Queen Series by Andre Norton

Written with Sherwood Smith

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

The Solar Queen is in real trouble. They’ve just saved thousands of lives in near disaster and are on the way to cash in on their newfound hero status with some profitable trade. But when they drop out of hyperspace and almost crash into a deserted ship, it’s all they can do not to become a wreck like the one they’ve stumbled across. Luckily, the Starvenger has just enough fuel to get both ships to the nearest space habitat. But a crooked syndicate of bureaucrats takes an interest--and a series of treacherous misadventures follows. An ultra-violent clan of aliens would put an end the Solar Queen's journeys. Stumbling upon an abandoned ship, Captain Jellico and the crew of the Solar Queen seize the prize and claim the right to salvage the derelict vessel, only to become the targets of a secret alien hijacking ring out to sabotage their claim.

 

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

How many readers have felt their first thrill of space adventure with the crew of independent traders aboard the Solar Queen? With novels like Galactic Derelict and Sargasso of Space, Andre Norton, “The Grande Dame of science fiction" (Life magazine), has drawn uncounted millions of readers into wonder-provoking worlds of the future, where the unknown is challenging, the action exciting, and life is never dull, in this brand-new space thriller, the Solar Queen is in real trouble. After saving thousands of lives in a near disaster, the crew are heroes, and they’re ready to cash in their newfound celebrity for some profitable trade. But when they come out of hyper and almost crash into a deserted ship, They nearly find themselves dead on arrival.
Luckily, the derelict has fuel enough to get both ships to the nearest port—an eerily beautiful space habitat. Three races, human, Kanddoyd, and Shver, share The facilities; but a fourth species bureaucrats—nearly scuttles The Queen's crow and their claim to the derelict.
What started out as a lucky stop at the habitat turns into a series of treacherous misadventures as an alien stowaway, a gong of intergalactic spacejackers, and on ultraviolent clan of aliens threaten to make this the Solar Queen's final run.

 

Write-up from the back of the paperback edition ~

The Solar Queen is in real trouble. They’ve just saved thousands of lives in near disaster and are on the way to cash in on their newfound hero status with some profitable trade. But when they drop out of hyperspace and almost crash into a deserted ship, it’s all they can do not to become a wreck like the one they’ve stumbled across. Luckily, the Starvenger has just enough fuel to get both ships to the nearest port, a space habitat that is home to humans and two other races. Unfortunately, when they attempt to file for scavenger rights, a crooked syndicate of bureaucrats takes an interest and threatens to scuttle Captain Jellico's crew and their claim to the derelict.
What started out as a lucky stop at the habitat turns into a series of treacherous misadventures, as an alien stowaway, a gang of intergalactic spacejackers, and an ultra-violent clan of aliens threaten to make this journey the Solar Queen's final run.

 

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 Andre 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    See article by Sherwood Smith: Andre Norton and Me

 

After leaving Canuche of Halio, the crew of the Solar Queen decides to take a chance on finding a lucrative trade at the edge of human-dominated space.  However, that long a jump will run them perilously close to their fuel limits.  As they near breakout from hyper, the encounter a mass sufficient to drag them out of hyper--too far away to make port with their remaining fuel.  Luckily, the mass turns out to be a derelict ship, which upon investigation, has enough fuel that they can transship enough for both ships to make port.  The port they aim for is a space habitat established by an insectile race called the Kanddoyds.  A few Earth humans do live on the station, including a Patrolman, who is strangely lackadisacal about his duties, and has been on post for far too long.  The Kanddoyds are very politely and subtly obstructive about the Queen's crew's attempt to get any data about the ship they salvaged.  The Solar Queen also seems to have a stowaway on board.  Eventually they catch the stowaway, a little blue Rigellian female who grew up on the habitat but wants to become a Free Trader.  Her "family group" leader manages to access the habitat's data network to help cut through the red tape the Kanddoyd had created, but the obstructiveness turns physical: Dane is trapped into a duel with the Shver, heavy-grav worlders; Jellico and Cofort are pursued, with deadly intent, through the station by more Shver.  Eventually, the obstructiveness is traced to Flyndyck, a human who has so closely identified with the Kanddoyds that he has created an insectile shell for himself.  He and the Kanddoyds have developed a nice little scheme to disable and rob any ship that comes in with valuable cargo and to then take over the source of the cargo. ~ SL


 

Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: Dec. 1st, 1996
Another adventure, and a new collaboration, for the trading ship Solar Queen (Redline the Stars, with P.M. Griffin, 1993), whose crew survives intact from the previous volume--though ship's medic Rael Cofort has shed her "wonder woman" image and settled down among equals. As the Solar Queen, desperately short of fuel, hurtles out of hyperspace, it nearly crashes into an abandoned vessel; Captain Jellico decides to tow the derelict to the space habitat Harmonious Exchange and claim salvage rights. But the authorities at Exchange--it's run mostly by the alien Kanddoyds--seem disinclined to cooperate: They won't divulge information about the previous owners, for one thing, and Solar Queen's crew soon discover elements of a conspiracy whose function is to hijack lone vessels. Finding allies among the outcasts of Exchange, many of whom are indirect victims of hijackers, and menaced by huge alien Shver cops who tend to shoot first and ask questions later, Captain Jellico and others must discover who's behind the conspiracy before the bad guys can cover their tracks and strike back. A brisk, well-turned, agreeable adventure; fans of Norton's Witch World and other fantasies might find it a worthwhile change of scenery.

 

Booklist Review ~ Feb. 01, 1997

This continuation of Norton’s long-lived Solar Queen saga is noticeably superior to the last, Redline the Stars (1993). Free trader ship Solar Queen comes out of hyperspace dangerously short of fuel and saves herself by encountering a derelict starship that it then tows to a three-species space habitat, where the derelict promptly makes the Solar Queen crew the target of legal, financial, and outright homicidal chicanery. It will surprise no one to learn that the good guys and gals win, but it may surprise even old, faithful fans how thoroughly the series in particular and Norton’s universe in general have been updated. It is almost unbelievable that this series was in its heyday 30 years ago. On the other hand, in many aspects of sf and fantasy that modern readers have come to take for granted, Norton was 30 years ahead of her time. Read and enjoy. — Roland Green

 

Review by Publishers Weekly ~ March 03, 1997

The second novel to continue the senior author's classic Solar Queen saga of a tramp starship is a vast improvement over Redline the Stars (1993), perhaps because here Norton, who's 84, is working with the talented Smith (the Wren series). Taking place shortly after Redline, the story opens with a fuel-starved Queen coming out of hyperspace and encountering a derelict spaceship inhabited only by two cats. After taking the derelict to an artificial space habitat operated by humans, the insect-like Kanddoyd and the elephantine Shver, the Free Traders begin to discover anomalies in their prize's records. They also begin to find enemies aboard the habitat and on their trail, leading to some exhilarating chases through varying gravities, as well as contact with the habitat's community of ""street kids"" of many races. At the end, the derelict becomes part of what's now a two-ship fleet, and there are other agreeable surprises for Solar Queen fans. This novel is very nearly a model of how to update a venerable series (this one was launched nearly two generations ago), bringing everything from sex roles to computers into harmony with current expectations, without doing violence to the original concept or characters. Featuring multiple viewpoints that allow us to see the crew through one another's eyes, this is a delightful bit of SF.


 

Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

I discovered science fiction when I was twelve years old and a friend eagerly recommended Andre Norton. In straight order I read every title the library had. By the next year, I was sending out my own books to publishers (never mind the quality of the typing or the stories!), and, of course, they came promptly back. In my environment I couldn't find anyone to take me seriously as a writer, to tell me what I ought to be doing and learning so that I could sell my books- not until I wrote to Andre Norton, who was the first professional to ever take me seriously. Her advice I took. I still have those letters, and treasure them. When the opportunity came to work with her in the universes I'd loved so long, I was thrilled. My heartfelt thanks to Ms. Norton for thirty years of pleasure-and debt.
- S. S.
Gratitude and appreciation to Dave Trowbridge, who gave unstintingly of time and effort to provide technical advice. The Spinboggan was his idea.
- S. S.


 

Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1997) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-85919-8, 978-0-312-85919-0, $22.95 US $32.95 Canadian, 283pg ~ cover by Nicholas Jainschigg {Black Paper Boards}
  • (1998) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-55272-5, 978-0-812-55272-0, $5.99, 283pg ~ cover by Nicholas Jainschigg

 

Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (1998) Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-237-00667-1, HC, 528pg ~ cover by O. Bernie ~ Russian title Аварийная планета [Emergency Planet] ~ Limited to 3000 copies in 1998 and 5000 copies in 1999

Contains:

    • Foreword , p. 9
    • "Redline the Stars" as "Disaster Planet" ~ translation by E. Dobrokhotova-Maykova, pp. 11-212
    • "Derelict for Trade" as "Abandoned ship" ~ translation by S. Anisimov, pp. 213-523
    • About the Authors, p. 524

 

  • (2003) Published in Moscow, by AST & Ermak, 5-170-16365-7 & 5-9577-0480-6, HC, 720pg ~ Russian title Подчеркнуто звездами. Покинутый корабль. Разум на торги. [Crash planet. Abandoned ship. Reason for bidding]

Contains:

    • "Redline the Stars" as "Disaster Planet" ~ translation by E. Dobrokhotova-Maykova, pp. 5-189
    • "Derelict for Trade" as "Abandoned ship" ~ translation by S. Anisimov, pp. 191-471
    • "A Mind for Trade" as "Reason for bidding" ~ translation by M. Levin, pp. 473-716

 

  • (2004)-1 Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-170-24016-3, HC, 1136pg ~ Russian title Королева Солнца [Queen of the Sun] ~ Limited to 3000 copies

Contains:

    • "Sargasso of Space" as "Sargassos of space" ~ translation by S. Berezhkov & S. Pobedin, pp. 5-156
    • "Plague Ship" as "The Plagued Ship" ~ translation by A. Malin, pp. 157-288
    • "Voodoo Planet" as "Zombie Planet" ~ translation by A. Malin, pp. 289-342
    • "Postmarked the Stars" as "Stamp - stars" ~ translation by A. Malin, pp. 343-480
    • "Reline the Stars" as "The emergency planet" ~ translation by E. Dobrokhotova-Maykova, pp. 481-634
    • "Derelict for Trade" as "Abandoned ship" ~ translation by S. Anisimov, pp. 635-866
    • "A Mind for Trade" as "Reason for bidding" ~ translation by M. Levin, pp. 867-1070
    • "Plague Planet" by Unknown author ~ pp. 1071-1113
    • Article by Vl. Gakov as "Queen of the Sun" ~ pp. 1115-1128
    • Bibliography of Andre Norton ~ pp. 1129-1133

 

  • (2004)-2 Published in Moscow, by AST, 5-170-24014-7, HC, 1132pg ~ cover by C. Bernard ~ Russian title Королева Солнца [Queen of the Sun] ~ Limited to 2000 copies

Contains:

    • "Sargasso of Space" as "Sargassos of space" ~ translation by S. Berezhkov & S. Pobedin, pp. 5-156
    • "Plague Ship" as "The Plagued Ship" ~ translation by A. Malin, pp. 157-288
    • "Voodoo Planet" as "Zombie Planet" ~ translation by A. Malin, pp. 289-342
    • "Postmarked the Stars" as "Stamp - stars" ~ translation by A. Malin, pp. 343-480
    • "Reline the Stars" as "The emergency planet" ~ translation by E. Dobrokhotova-Maykova, pp. 481-634
    • "Derelict for Trade" as "Abandoned ship" ~ translation by S. Anisimov, pp. 635-866
    • "A Mind for Trade" as "Reason for bidding" ~ translation by M. Levin, pp. 867-1070
    • "Plague Planet" by Unknown author ~ pp. 1071-1113
    • Article by Vl. Gakov as "Queen of the Sun" ~ pp. 1115-1128
    • Bibliography of Andre Norton ~ pp. 1129-1133

 

  • (2018) Published in Moscow by Renaissance, noISBN, 768pg ~ Russian title Королева Солнца 2 [Queen of the Sun 2] - released with 2 different covers

Contains:

    • "Redline The Stars" as "Disaster Planet" ~ pp. 5-201
    • "Derelict for Trade" as "Abandoned Ship" ~ pp. 203-479
    • "A Mind for Trade" as "Reason for bidding" ~ pp. 481-718
    • "Plague Planet" by Unknown author ~ pp. 719-767