Read a book a few years ago (though I think the book itself is more than tens years old) about a woman who captained her own starship and used some odd type of star travel that involved pretty much imagining the path and sending the ship down it. One of the first scenes is of her dumping her father's remains into the clouds of a gas giant.

It was a really odd book and I just cannot think of the name of it! Driving me crazy!

  • 1
    Anything more details would help.
    – KenSuvy
    Sep 11, 2011 at 18:36
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    Not the answer, but there is a Heinlein short story that has some enterprising "superhumans" pushing their craft through space by the power of their minds when they meet a lone traveler in deep space, and the posthumous collaboration with Spider Robinson Variable Star features a space-drive by the power of will kinda thingy. Sep 12, 2011 at 23:58
  • @dmckee: That "Heinlein short story" is Theodore Cogswell's "Limiting Factor", the answer to this question.
    – user14111
    Apr 12, 2014 at 3:14

5 Answers 5


Sounds vaguely like the main voidhawk, a living starship named Oenone piloted by Syrinx. The ship is from Peter F. Hamilton's book The Reality Dysfunction, a part of the most excellent Night's Dawn Trilogy. Here is the wikipedia page of the plot.

Humanity has split into those who use a large amount of biotechnology (Edenists) and those who use more traditional technology (Adamists). It also features a Adamist who works in an orbital salvage job until he can afford to repair a ship.

From there the book becomes a galactic ghost hunt\war.

Ring a bell?

  • The travel bit definitely sounds similar, but I don't recall any scattering of ashes.
    – zenzelezz
    Sep 12, 2011 at 8:54
  • A Voidhawks returns to Jupiter to die at the start of the first Syrinx's timeline. No ashes
    – fbstj
    Sep 13, 2011 at 13:50
  • Syrinx doesn't scatter Sinon's ashes but she does visit him in the Romulas Habitat after he has died. He also downloads a part of his personality into a bitek construct later. OP could be misremembering this?
    – Cupit
    Jan 30, 2019 at 12:36

The detail about a woman burying her father's remains in a gas giant is in Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds, but I'm not sure the other details match.

  • That's what I thought about, too, I'm just not sure about the "imagining the path" thing.
    – sbi
    Sep 12, 2011 at 21:23
  • Personally I was thinking more along the lines of Revenger (goodreads.com/book/show/28962452-revenger), where the bone readers have to be younger.
    – Raj
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:08

This space travel sounds quite a bit like Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott. The remains thing doesn't match, but perhaps you picked it up from another book?


The space travel thing sounds exactly like how they travel in the Dune books by Frank Herbert.
One of the prequels by Brian Herbert describes the first experiments by a woman, I don't remember her name, but she worked together with I.V. Holtzman. And she preferred to take the journeys alone.

  • The 'imagining the path' reminds me of 'Superluminal' by Vonda McIntyre. She has an artificial heart installed, so that she can pilot a starship, and is given the ashes of her flesh heart.
    – sueelleker
    Dec 27, 2013 at 23:21

"The Ship Who Sang" by Anne McCaffrey involves a sentient starship (actually the human brain of a disabled girl installed as the ship's computer) attending a funeral service but I don't remember a gas giant being involved.

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