Here is a difficult one: I only read the blurb on the back, and didn't read it at the time. Now I wonder what it was... It must've been early 90's, late 80's.

It was something like: "The civilisation is on a medieval level and has to develop a space ship within a generation as an angry god ramscoops his way towards them."

I could've sworn it was called something like "King Arthur's space ship", but that seems to be something completely different.

Edit: I think this may have been from two different books. The cover for "King David's Spaceship" definitely looks like something I have seen before, though no "angry god" (i.e. highly advanced or even sublimed/ascended opponent). I'll get the other suggestion "A Fire Upon the Deep" as well to have a look.

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    Minla's Flowers by Alistair Reynolds has a character named Merlin trying to raise a post-apocalyptic society back to space flight
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 14:57
  • You could improve this question by going through the checklists here and editing in any relevant info you can think to add.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 14:59
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    @Valorum that sorts of reminds me of the Safehold series :-)
    – LSerni
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 15:02
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    @Valorum ...not quite: Merlin Athrawes is trying to (safely) uplift a post-apocalyptic medioeval civilization, overcoming the stranglehold the Holy Church has on Safehold and their ban on innovations. (S)he's the source of Charis' innovations, and the stated goal (I think in By Schisms Rent Asunder? During the flight with Cayleb?) is indeed to get back to space.
    – LSerni
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 15:20
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    I would have tried Vernor Vinge's "The Children of the Sky" which is about a civilisation trying to build space technology before the blight (which really is described as using ram scopes) arrives. But that book is from 2012 and so is far too late.
    – user23087
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


Possibly King David's Spaceship?

I disremember much of it, but the titular vehicle is a primitive Orion-style booster using conventional explosives instead of nuclear devices.

The driving motivation for building the ship was that if your civilization was spaceflight-capable, you joined the ?Galactic Empire? under better terms. As in, an equal partner, instead of getting colonized.

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    That sounds very promising, I'll try to get a copy before approving.
    – user1387
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 16:03
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    "if your civilization was spaceflight-capable, you joined the ?Galactic Empire? under better terms" If you like this plot idea, check out Brin's Uplift Universe for a fairly similar concept.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 23:12

'Ramscoop' makes me think of Vernor Vinge's 'A Fire Upon the Deep' in which a medieval civilization of sentient dogs is the intended destination of an advanced intelligence travelling toward them. The other space travelling civilizations are racing the intelligence to the dog's planet and their ships are all described as having ramscoops on the front.

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    Yeah - the Blight could easily be understood as an angry god
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 21:36

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