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Plot Summary/Details

The sharpest memory I have of this one is that it was unusually dense reading. Much more difficult going than most of the sci-fi stuff I'd read by that time (I was 10 or 11, I think).

What I remember in terms of plot is that there is a starship, sent either to explore, or colonize, a distant star system. I don't remember the names of any of the characters, but I think maybe they discover they are clones? In any case, something happens to the computer system that the onboard AI becomes sentient and develops a measure of omniscience and omnipotence. It effectively becomes a god of sorts.

The next part I can remember, and I'm not sure this is the same book or not, is that the ship has forcibly settled the crew on a hostile planet. All sorts of nasty indigenous life forms live here, and guards are post on the wall outside the settlement to destroy them as they try to enter. I remember there is a female character standing watch, and she goes over the bestiary in her mind. One particularly nasty creature paralyzes you, and then burrows up your spine into your brain (or something like that) if it gets a hold of you.

That's all I can recall. Not a lot of detail, unfortunately, but I'm having a tough time remembering much about this one. I never finished the book(s), as they were mostly "over my head" at that age.

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This is the series by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom variously known as the Destination: Void universe (after the first book), the Pandora sequence (after the deadly planet where books 2-4 take place) and the WorShip sequence (after the ship's demand of its crew).

Your summary covers the first two books. In the first, Destination: Void, a crew of clones are forced to attempt to create an artificial intelligence in order to run the ship, after the failure of the previous cores (created from disembodied brains). At the end, they succeed only to realise that the ship is now able to manipulate space and time, and it demands that they learn how to "WorShip" it.

In the second book, The Jesus Incident, the crew - combined with other beings the Ship has collected from its manipulations of human history - attempt to colonise Pandora, a planet whose land is covered with deadly predators and whose sea is filled with apparently sentient kelp.

(And as I've noted before, the feeling of being "over your head" is common to reading Frank Herbert books, no matter what age you are.)

  • 8
    Amen to that last point... – tardigrade Sep 11 '17 at 11:09
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    I thought that the question sounded like The Jesus Incident. – Ash Sep 11 '17 at 14:08

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