The Shadow of the Ship
Revised Edition
a science fiction novel

by Robert Wilfred Franson

December 2014
Kindle Direct Publishing: ebook
KDP Print: quality paperback

The Blue Trail in Pure Emptiness The Shadow of the Ship - Mattingly painting - Revised Edition, 2014

Hendrik Rheinallt leads a dangerous caravan journey on the fabulous Blue Trail across the subspace Meadow to reach what the travelers hope will be a usable or salvageable starship.

This subspatial pseudosurface is more empty than Lunar vacuum, and more deadly. The Ship itself is something that even the widely perceptive Rheinallt with his centuries of experience could not have predicted. The expeditionaries' goals are diverse: some secretly or violently at odds. Rheinallt and his aircat friend Arahant face a complex of challenges aboard the gas-lit caravan, in their exploration of absolute emptiness, and at the enigmatic Ship.

Rheinallt's dream and goal, the elusive and the real, mingle and clash in this imaginatively challenging interstellar adventure.

"A drop of blood with a flame behind it, the Ship glinted on the horizon of the Meadow."


The Shadow of the Ship is an Overflight novel. Many thousands of people read the striking & memorable 1983 version when that was all which was available. However, if you haven't read that or the revised version, you may wish to begin with Sphinx Daybreak.

Revised Edition: 98,000 words. Major additions & extensive revisions integrate it more closely with related novels. Many smaller improvements. Please do read the Revised Edition rather than an earlier version.

The print version is a 6"x9" quality paperback; 240 pages. ISBN: 978-1503291768


Please see these reviews at Troynovant —

Gennady Stolyarov II on The Shadow of the Ship, Revised Edition.

Dean M. Sandin on The Shadow of the Ship, Revised Edition.

William H. Stoddard on The Shadow of the Ship, 1983 edition.


Cover painting for Del Rey edition 1983
& all formats of Revised Edition 2014
by David B. Mattingly

ReFuture at Troynovant
history of science fiction
& progress of fantasy

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  1. Caravaneers
  2. On the Trail of Light
  3. Down into Gravity
  4. Starved Rock
  5. Federated Trailmen
  6. All Substance Forfeit
  7. From the Waterflower Pool
  8. The Detenebrator
  9. A Cry of Crimson
  10. Within the Shadow
  11. Too Quickly the Garden
  12. A Hog in Armor
  13. Riding Double-Jaded
  14. Exhaustion to Vacuum
  15. The Cables Between Faces
  16. An Explosion of Moonbeams
  17. The Bloom of Death
  18. A Track of Golden Fire

The moving Moon went up the sky,
And nowhere did abide;
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside —

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship’s huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", 1798 / 1834

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see also
emergent layers of untimely Reviews & prismatic Essays

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