The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey
Series: Brainship #3
Published by Baen Books on July 1st 1992
Genres: Science Fiction
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Set in the same universe as "The Ship Who Sang" and "PartnerShip", "The Ship Who Searched" tells the story of a shellperson and her search for the EsKays, a star-faring race whose artifacts are scattered throughout the galaxy, but whose fate is a mystery.
It all began when Tia, a bright and spunky seven-year old accompanying her exo-archaeologist parents on an EsKay dig, was afflicted by a mysterious neural disorder, one whose progressing symptoms finally permit her no life at all outside of some total mechanical support system. But like 'The Ship Who Sang", Tia won't be satisfied to glide through life like a ghost in a glorified wheelchair; like Helva, Tia is going to strap on a spaceship!
But Tia has also set herself on a special mission: to seek out whatever it was on the EsKay planet that laid her low, to come to understand and then eliminate it - so that no other little girl will ever suffer the fate of THE SHIP WHO SEARCHED.
This is one of my favorite books in the Brain & Brawn (Brainship) series.
Please bare with me, I’ve read this book so many times it is hard to review.
Tia is a 7 year old genius when she is struck by a mysterious virus that completely killed her body’s nervous system. She became paralyzed from the neck down, needing 100% life support. She was going to end up spending the rest of her life in a sterile hospital room somewhere. Because of her maturity and genius she is accepted into the brainship program. This program will place her physical body inside a titanium shell, connect her brain to electronic synapses, and teach her how to fly. Tia is to become a brainship – a person whose physical body is an interstellar spaceship. She will also get a brawn – Alex – a person trained to work with her as her physical presence as well as constant companion.
Tia & Alex have numerous adventures in this book – but the main focus for both Tia & Alex is locating the virus that almost destroyed her entire life. The Ship Who Searched is a great book! The characters are well formed and the adventures are fun and interesting. The pace is quick and engrossing. One of the things I really enjoyed is the emphasis that is placed on education. Everyone who is able to get to positions of importance require a lot of education – but its all in the worldbuilding. There’s not too much more to say without spoiling the plot(s).