In 2198, 150 years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on 100 hastily-established colony worlds and in the 7 giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars. Mia Havero's Ship is a small closed society. It tests its children by casting them out to live or die in a month of Trial in the hostile wilds of a colony world. Mia Havero's Trial is fast approaching, and in the meantime she must learn not only the skills that will keep her alive, but the deeper courage to face herself and her world.
Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.
Very impressive work from Alexei Panshin, especially considering he wrote this book as a teenager while at summer camp. If the book reads a little "campy", I can forgive.
He seems to channel the emotions of a 14 year old girl shockingly well. I really became attached to Mia's character and cared about her plight. And while the premises were not incredibly original, they were well thought out.
This book was nominated for the Hugo award in 1969 and in my opinion is Panshins' best effort. Unfortunately, none of his later books (that I have read) approached the potential that was shown in Rite of Passage.
The narrator did a nice job, perfect for Mia, but a little weak on the male characters - kind of cartoonish.
Overall an excellent addition, highly recommend, especially for young adults.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Narration was spot on. I enjoyed the whole book, start to finish. I had read the book as a child so I knew what to expect.
This is a 1968 coming of age story in the tradition of early, juvenile writer Robert Heinlein. The framework is a former colony ship that travels between the stars. After the ship delivered colonists to their target worlds, 150 years before, the ship's crew continued to live on the ship. They regulate their population to stay within the capacity of the ship, scorning 'free-birthers' and surviving by withholding technology so they can trade goods for raw materials.
Our main character, a preteen girl, is followed as she matures and trains to pass a 'rite of passage' by surviving on a colony world. After the rite of passage the children assume the roles as adults. We follow her as grows from narrow minded prejudice to something of an awakening. She is a Heinlein-type hero where the future is full of possibilities and older people provide mentoring to the young. Fans of Starship Troopers will like the punishment of breakers of rigid rules.
Issues of prejudice, rigid thinking, and slavery are addressed, as well as the responsibility to limit population. In the epilogue the ship's population struggle with their own unwillingness to change from the past and move into a new future. In the end they make the wrong decision but there is hope that the new generation will start a change in direction. (Aw, the 60's. We had such hope.)
The story suffers from some unrealistic world building. All the colony worlds are earth-like and they can eat what grows there. The colonists speak the same language, with an accent. Also troublesome is that the ship drops the young on colony worlds and expect the children to make their way on their own among strangers with different customs - on horseback. The colony world looks and sounds a lot like the rural South.
Also, troubling in today's values is requiring the children to kill a tiger, with knives, during their training.
The writing is good, it is the story that lowers my rating. Recommended for young audiences. As an adult with years of reading SF, it was slow and flat.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful