I started a book many years ago (probably about 30!) and I have never been able to remember the title.

All I do remember is a student navigator on a winter (icy) planet who climbs into his spaceship which I seem to remember is called Tycho Brahe - or not, but the name stayed in my head as being connected to the novel.

This young student is at a college for spacefarers or similar . I remember him going into a cafe and getting hot chocolate after ice skating. He was prematurely asked to pilot a ship (the Tycho Brahe, I believe) which involved a very cramped compartment and some sort of symbiosis with the ship itself - and then its a blank. Sorry its not much to go on. I will look at the suggestions made.

  • 1
    I know you said you have very little information but anything else you remember you can edit in. For example, can you remember why the navigator was on the planet?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 4, 2020 at 17:34
  • Can you at least clarify that you're talking about a spaceship and astro-navigation? (As opposed to an ocean-going ship and planetary navigation.)
    – DavidW
    May 4, 2020 at 17:46
  • Tycho Brahe was, of course, an astronomer with a speciality in astro-navigation. Frustratingly he's given his name to an award for navigation and there are multiple ships bearing his name (all of which have real-world navigators).
    – Valorum
    May 4, 2020 at 18:44

2 Answers 2


This book is Neverness by David Zindell. Tycho is the name of a legendary pilot. It's not the ship of the protagonist Mallory Ringess, but Mallory certainly knows of Tycho.

The pilots in this novel mentally link with their ships. In theory, this linkage could be used as a form of telepathy, but that's illegal... Pilots navigate by proving geometrical theorems in hyperspace, the VR link with the ship AI facilitates this process.

The city of Neverness is on the wintry planet named Icefall. It's the home of the galaxy's pilot's guild. The icy streets of the city have no street signs, but they are colour-coded. The layout of the streets is actually a map of the hyperspace near Icefall, which is a major hyperspace nexus, and rather complicated. So apprentice pilots memorize this hyperspace diagram by skating on it. ;) That the streets are a hyperspace map is a deeply guarded Guild secret.

FWIW, Zindell wrote a trilogy of books as the sequel to Neverness.

  • 2
    FWIW, Mallory's ship is the "Immanent Carnation"
    – DavidW
    May 4, 2020 at 20:39
  • The first book is amazing and is pretty self-contained. The next 2 less so, IMHO (Zindell fell way too much in love with his characters). He also has a fancy name for whiskey and the protagonists are all surprised at its effects, being used to only fancy drugs and the like and having never heard of it. May 6, 2020 at 2:18

I know of multiple works which might fit.

"Stone City", a novelette by George RR Martin (1977). Main character is called Michael Holt. He is the navigator of starship from the winter world of Ymir.

"Ilium" by Dan Simmons (2003 first edition). One of the main characters is Mahnmut, the captain of the submarine in the icy world of Europa, the moon of Jupiter. He ends up flying a spaceship at one point and they land in Tycho Brahe crater on Mars.

"Space Odyssey" books by Arthur C Clarke. Monoliths are called Tycho Magnetic Anomalies in those books.

There are also adventures of Ijon Tichy, which are more satirical in nature. He is also captain of a starship and ends up in icy world once or twice.

Edit: With additional details in the comments below, none of these fit.Feel free to post your own answer. I edited this one so the comments won't be lost.

  • 4
    My impulse is to say that you ought to separate these into their own answers, and flesh them out a bit.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 4, 2020 at 18:19
  • Should do, but I need more details in the question for that. As things stand, this is kinda hard to do.
    – jo1storm
    May 4, 2020 at 18:21
  • 1
    Sounds a little like Neverness by David Zindell. Mallory Ringess is the pilot and while I don't think his ship is called Tycho Brahe, I'm sure the name figures in the novel as the pilots are all members of a society named after mathematicians iirc.
    – Alith
    May 4, 2020 at 19:50
  • 1
    Tycho ("the Tycho") is one of the greatest pilots of the past. "To die among the stars," I quoted the Tycho, "'is the most glorious death." and He recited a long list of pilots, the Tycho among them, who had been lost trying to penetrate the mystery of the Solid State Entity.
    – DavidW
    May 4, 2020 at 20:30
  • 1
    The book is initially set on the planet Icefall; the protagonist and his friend Bardo go for a skate in the first scene of the book, and then go to a bar looking for a drink of "toalache" where they run into Mallory's uncle, Soli, which kicks the plot into motion.
    – DavidW
    May 4, 2020 at 20:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.