Star Dragon (2003)

A group of six people (including the personality of their starship) go on a voyage to the cataclysmic variable star SS Cygni, to catch an alien lifeform that lives in the accretion disc of the white dwarf of the binary system.

SF novels that are about pure exploration of other star systems are rare, one reason might be that you need at least a modest level of knowledge (astronomy, physics, … ) of what you’re talking about to write them. The other reason is that most of the tension has to come from the interactions of the crew members with each others, or the book becomes boring very fast (at least until the exploration part begins), which is not easy to do.

Star Dragon mostly succeeds there, even if some of the personality shifts that drive the tension between the crew members seem to happen instantly instead of gradually, which in Fisher’s case makes some of his personality changes hard to take seriously.

Still, the book never becomes boring, partly because the interplay between the crew members works good enough, partly because the transhuman background Brotherton has created for his starship and its crew is mind-boggling fun.