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Book Details

Whipping Star

85.7% complete
1 time
Science fiction
Multiple unnumbered chapters
Book Cover
Has a genre Has comments Has an extract Has a year read Has a rating In my library In a series 
Copyright © 1969, 1970, 1977 by Frank Herbert
To Lurton Blassingame, who helped buy the time for
this book, dedicated with affection and admiration
Furuneo was his name.
May contain spoilers
One cannot, after all, breathe an illusion or a void.
Comments may contain spoilers
A shorter version of this book appeared in Worlds of If Science Fiction from Dec 1969 through March 1970 copyright © 1969, 1970 by Galaxy Publishing Company.
Synopsis not on file
Extract (may contain spoilers)
For a reflexive time which he found himself unable to measure, McKie considered his exchange with the Caleban.  He felt cast adrift without any familiar reference points.  How could false be the opposite of proper?  If he could not measure meanings, how could he measure time?

McKie passed a hand across his forehead, gathering perspiration which he tried to wipe off on his jacket.  The jacket was damp.

No matter how much time had passed, he felt that he still knew where he was in this universe.  The beachball's interior walls remained around him.  The unseeable presence of the Caleban had not become less mysterious, but he could look at the shimmering existence of the thing and take a certain satisfaction from the fact that it spoke to him.

The thought that every sentient who had used a jumpdoor would die if this Caleban succumbed sat on McKie's awareness.  It was muscle-numbing.  His skin was slick with perspiration, and not all of it from the heat.  There were voices of death in this air.  He thought of himself as a being surrounded by all those pleading sentients - quadrillions upon quadrillions of them.  Help us!

Everyone who'd used a jumpdoor.

Damnation of all devils!  Had he interpreted the Caleban correctly?  It was the logical assumption.  Deaths and insanity around the Caleban disappearances said he must exclude any other interpretation.

Link by link, this trap had been forged.  It would crowd the universe with dead flesh.

The shimmering oval above the giant spoon abruptly waved outward, contracted, flowed up, down, left.  McKie received a definite impression of distress.  The oval vanished, but his eyes still tracked the Caleban's unpresence.

"Is something wrong?" McKie asked.

For answer the round vortal tube of a S'eye jumpdoor opened behind the Caleban.  Beyond the opening stood a woman, a figure dwarfed as though seen through the wrong end of a telescope.  McKie recognized her from all the news-visos and from the holoscans he had been fed as background briefing for this assignment.

He was confronting Mliss Abnethe in a light somewhat reddened by its slowed passage through the jumpdoor.

It was obvious that the Beautybarbers of Steadyon had been about their expensive work on her person.  He made a mental note to have that checked.  Her figure presented the youthful curves of a pleasurefem.  The face beneath fairy-blue hair was focused around a red-petal mouth.  Large sum-mery green eyes and a sharply cleaving nose conveyed odd contrast - dignity versus hoyden.  She was a flawed queen, age mingled with youth.  She must be at least eighty standard years, but the Beautybarbers had achieved this startling combination: available pleasurefem and remote, hungry power.

The expensive body wore a long gown of grey rainpearls which matched her, movement for movement, like a glittering skin.  She moved nearer the vortal tube.  As she approached, the edges of the tube blocked off first her feet, then her legs, thighs, waist.

McKie felt his knees age a thousand years in that brief passage.  He remained crouched near the place where he'd entered the Beachball.

"Ahhh, Fanny Mae," Mliss Abnethe said.  "You have a guest."  Jumpdoor interference caused her voice to sound faintly hoarse.

"I am Jorj X. McKie, Saboteur Extraordinary," he said.  Was that a contraction in the pupils of her eyes?  McKie wondered.  She stopped with only her head and shoulders visible in the tube's circle.

"And I am Mliss Abnethe, private citizen."


Added: 25-Nov-2002
Last Updated: 09-May-2024


Berkley Medallion Books
Mass Market Paperback
In my libraryOrder from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cir 01-Sep-1977
Mass Market Paperback
Cover Price:
Internal ID:
United States
Paul Alexander  - Cover Artist
may be one of our major prophets."
- The Berkeley Barb

is one of the most thought-provoking writers of our time: by focusing on an 'alien' culture, he makes us examine what the true definition of 'human' is..."
- The Pacific Sun

does more than carry events forward: he deals with the consequences of events, the implications of decisions."
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Book CoverBook Back CoverBook Spine
Notes and Comments:
Berkley Medallion Edition, September, 1977
Tenth Printing
SBN 425-04116-6

All Covers for this edition of the series

Tantor Audio
I read this editionOrder from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cover Price:
6 hrs 52 min (258 pages)
1)   4 Apr 2024 - 5 Apr 2024
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
United States
Scott Brick  - Narration

In the far future, humankind has made contact with numerous other species - Gowachin, Laclac, Wreaves, Pan Spechi, Taprisiots, and Caleban (among others) - and has helped to form the ConSentiency to govern between the species. After suffering under a tyrannous pure democracy that had the power to create laws so fast that no thought could be given to the effects, the sentients of the galaxy found a need for the Bureau of Sabotage (BuSab) to slow the wheels of government, thereby preventing it from legislating recklessly.

In Whipping Star, Jorj X. McKie, a "Saboteur Extraordinary," is a born troublemaker who has naturally become one of BuSab's best agents. As the novel opens, it is revealed that Calebans, who are beings visible to other sentient species as stars, have been disappearing one by one. Each disappearance is accompanied by millions of sentient deaths and instances of incurable insanity.

Ninety years prior to the setting of Whipping Star, the Calebans appeared and offered jump-doors to the collective species, allowing sentients to travel instantly to any point in the universe. Gratefully accepting, the sentiency didn't question the consequences. Now Mliss Abnethe, a psychotic human female with immense power and wealth, has bound a Caleban in a contract that allows the Caleban to be whipped to death; when the Caleban dies, everyone who has ever used a jump-door (which is almost every adult in the sentient world and many of the young) will die as well.
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:
©1970 Herbert Properties LLC ℗2008 Tantor
Part of Audible's Plus Catalog

All Covers for this edition of the series



 Frank Herbert
Birth: 08 Oct 1920 Tacoma, Washington, USA
Death: 11 Feb 1986 Madison, Wisconsin, USA


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  • I try to maintain page numbers for audiobooks even though obviously there aren't any. I do this to keep track of pages read and I try to use the Kindle version page numbers for this.
  • Synopses marked with an asterisk (*) were generated by an AI. There aren't a lot since this is an iffy way to do it - AI seems to make stuff up.
  • When specific publication dates are unknown (ie prefixed with a "Cir"), I try to get the publication date that is closest to the specific printing that I can.
  • When listing chapters, I only list chapters relevant to the story. I will usually leave off Author Notes, Indices, Acknowledgements, etc unless they are relevant to the story or the book is non-fiction.
  • Page numbers on this site are for the end of the main story. I normally do not include appendices, extra material, and other miscellaneous stuff at the end of the book in the page count.

See my goodreads icon goodreads page. I almost never do reviews, but I use this site to catalogue books.
See my librarything icon librarything page. I use this site to catalogue books and it has more details on books than goodreads does.

Presented: 19-Jul-2024 07:28:38

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