Starliners, Commercial Spacetravel in 2200 AD

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Starliners, Commercial Spacetravel in 2200 AD, Stewart Cowley
The Hamlyn Group, 1980
92 pp, 41 full color illustrations, 3 b/w illustrations

The fourth and scarcest of the TTA books, Starliners is a comprehensive study of the largest commercial space-faring concerns operating in the 23rd century. An overview of the major companies and their leading vessels is well narrated and amply illustrated. A nice addition are two star maps showing the inhabited star systems. Again, the artwork is inspiring and dynamic, with the usual roster of qualified artists.

Starliners seems to be the most difficult title to acquire on the secondhand market. Most prices I’ve seen land at $40-60 USD. I (sort of) found my the old-fashioned way: in a book store. Specifically, a Half-Price Books outlet in Clive, Iowa of all places. As chance and luck would have it, I was foraging proper ale from a specialty beer seller back to downtown Des Moines when I happened upon the store in the same shopping plaza. The rest is TTA collecting history!




  1. HIM November 7, 2014

    Persistence with ebay can pay off too, scored Starliners and Spacecraft off it for around $50 USD in primo shape.

  2. Tom February 25, 2015

    One of my favorite aspects of Cowley’s universe is the civil-commercial side of it, it isn’t just Big Government Militaries. So I LOVED seeing a book focused on a normally neglected area, that of commercial interstellar transport companies. This one also really develops the TTA-verse by a large amount.

    What’s funny is that just about all the stars named in this book are in reality massive supergiants, giants and really hot short-lived main-sequence dwarfs, none of which are going to have habitable planets, or even planets at all. 🙂

  3. admin February 25, 2015

    Hi Tom…I agree that it’s intriguing to see the non-TTA players in the TTA universe. As for the uninhabitable star systems…I suppose that’s the “fiction” in “science fiction! 😉

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. Tom February 27, 2015

    Yes, it’s fiction, but one of my SF pet peeves is the overuse of well-known “name” stars, e.g. Sirius and Arcturus depsite them being totally unsuitable for having habitable planets. If you want stars that ARE suitable–the G- and upper-K dwarfs–than you have to ignore all the named stars and many of the upper Greek letters in the prominent constellations, and go through the Flamsteed numbers and the HD and HR catalogs. There’s many Sun-like stars out there, it’s just that they’re just so visually faint that most don’t get any kind of proper desgination but just a catalog number.

    Actually, in Spacewreck, I have to give Cowley credit for using Alpha Mensae, a a G5V star that actually CAN have habitable planets. It’s even in the HabCat dataset, a catalog of stars compiled from the Hipparcos catalog by two scientists looking for stars that are capable of hosting an advanced alien civilization, or at least having human-habitable planets. So it has a bit greater-than Sol metallicity, is not variable or binary or some kind of oddball, and has been around long enough for an Earth-like planet to have developed intelligent life (at least as we know it).

    Cowley had to have done some research, as Mensa is one of those obscure modern southern constellations and its Alpha star is even more obscure.

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