This was a SF book where there were 4 factions, each with spaceships in the form of the tarot symbols (swords, cups, wands, pentacles). I believe it was a novel not a short story, but I can't be sure - I read it more than 30 years ago! Thanks.

  • probable duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/84300/… (which is newer but has an accepted answer) – Otis Oct 4 '15 at 23:43
  • So, did you ever get a chance to read ShadeOfGrey's answer to check, Toby? – FuzzyBoots Feb 3 '17 at 11:06
  • Gosh, I moved from UK to NL just after this and totally forgot about it. I've found book 1 on sale in NL, so I've ordered it (I miss English libraries!). – Toby Feb 5 '17 at 10:19

Possible match is the "Cluster" series by Piers Anthony. It was written more than 30 years ago.

And from the Wikipedia article:

The themes of Tarot and of various myths of Sphere Sol (in this case that of Perseus and Andromeda) are carried throughout this novel as well -- for example, the interSphere fleet of starships has forms analogous to the Tarot suits of Disks, Cups, Wands and Swords.

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  • That sounds pretty likely, thank you, though I don't remember the Kirlian transfers or Spheres. I'll let you know once I've read it :) – Toby Oct 23 '14 at 20:54

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