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I read this around '87-'90 in Danish, but the original language is likely to be English.

I cannot remember much of the plot, except the ending: The main character (a boy) had some sort of very rare and valuable dust, which he had to use as fuel for his spaceship, to make it go very fast through a space-vortex/tunnel.

Normally, travelling through the vortex would mean losing his mind, but using the dust made him survive it.

Pretty sure that using up the dust meant giving something else up forever, so it was kind of sad.

I believe there was some romance in it as well.

The title could involve starship or solar sail or solar wind or something similar.

2

Could it be Nova by Samuel Delaney?

The story follows Lorq von Ray from his childhood, but by the end he is an adult. Illyrion is the material necessary for starship travel.

He made a trip through a star going nova before, and because the ships were piloted by space "studs" who plugged directly into the ship, his pilot's senses were overloaded. Basically he spent the rest of his life insane because every one of his senses was working overtime and without a way to find order in them.

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  • thanks but I don´t think that is the one. I am pretty sure the main character survived rather than losing his mind.
    – Esben
    Aug 18 '14 at 4:29

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