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Children's LiteratureKip, who was orphaned as a baby, lives with his uncle Mike at Starswarm Station—a place where scientists are studying the unusual starswarm plant that lives in water. As long as Kip can remember, he's been able to communicate with Gwen, a computer program that was implanted in his skull. Gwen educates Kip about the history of his and other planets, hinting that Kip is someone other than he thinks he is and will need to be knowledgeable when the right time comes. When the vitality of the starswarm begins to be threatened by a government takeover, Kip discovers that not only is the livelihood of the starswarm in danger, but of his entire planet, and only he has the power to save them. The complicated world that Pournelle has created is detailed and interesting making this book a fun read for dedicated science-fiction fans. Other readers might find the slow pacing and longwinded explanations of the political and social history tedious and lose interest before the plot picks up halfway into the novel. 2003, Tor Books/Starscape, Ages 10 up.