I'm trying to recover a book from my childhood:

  • I believe I read it in 199x, maybe early 200x
  • No magic. Space sci-fi with hyperspace jumps between stars. The plot is all about jumps. Hyperspace jump destination is "random" and depends on jump starting point. To reach a specific location you usually need to make thousands of jumps in sequence. Paths are precious and were found accidentally or by recon drones.
  • Swarms of drones are constantly searching for shorter paths to known stars and back.
  • To make a blind jump (from some random point in space) usually means a suicide.
  • The protagonist (male) was blinded on some planet and managed to create a kind of artificial eye, using a bird (crow?)
  • More to the end of the book the protagonist was forced to make a blind jump on a spaceship with unknown destination and then he managed to return back to Earth using his blindness and camera
  • 2
    This reminds me a bit of Frederick Pohl's "The Mapmakers", which features a blinded man, Lieutenant Groden, who can see hyperspace as a result of his blindness, but it's a short story, and there's no artificial eye. – FuzzyBoots Jul 3 '19 at 17:28
  • It was definitely a long novel. Some travels across jungles on the planet, the guy was probably enslaved for a some time, but it was realy long time ago. – zamuka Jul 3 '19 at 17:33

I wonder if this is Night Walk by Bob Shaw.

It has the problems with hyperspace that you mention:

In the first century of interstellar exploration Earth alone dispatched some forty million robot probes, of which less than two hundred chanced to make their way back. Of that number, exactly eight had found usable planetary systems. Not one of the handful of manned ships that accidentally made open-ended jumps was ever seen again -- on Earth, anyway. Some of them may still be going, carrying the descendants of their original crews, cosmic Flying Dutchmen glimpsed only by uncomprehending stars as their destiny of flicker-transits gradually takes them beyond the reach of human thought.

The eight successful probes of that first century established zigzagging trade lanes, which the manned ships that came afterward were very careful to follow closely. That is the other aspect of null-space travel that troubles you as you wait for the relays to act. Although it was a logical deduction from the absence of reciprocity in null-space, a few pioneers discovered the hard way that jumping from a point near A will not take you to a corresponding point near B. Get more than about two light-seconds from the established jumping-off point, the so-called portal, and you are off on your own random pilgrimage to the far side of eternity.

The protagonist Sam Tallon is blinded when he is being tortured, and he has device called an eyeset that allows him to see through other creatures eyes. He returns to Earth by seeing through the eyes of a rat that he finds in the spaceship.

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  • That's It !!! Thank you so much. How did you found it? Do you manage to found by keywords or you do remember the plot? – zamuka Jul 3 '19 at 19:43
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    @zamuka I half remembered the plot but had to use Google to jog my memory of the book title. This is often the case. I've been reading SF since 1970 and over 48 years I find I forget all but the key features of books. But if you remember the key features Googling will often find enough extra info to dig out the book title. – John Rennie Jul 4 '19 at 5:31

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