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~DOWNLOAD ⚑ Enchantress from the Stars ♎ Elana is a member of a supremely advanced interstellar civilization, on a mission to the medieval planet Andrecia To her shock, she becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back an invasion by an aggressive, spacefaring Youngling species How can she possibly help the Andrecians, who still believe in magic and superstition, without revealing her alien powers?Apprentice Medical Officer Jarel knows that the Imperial Exploration Corps doesn't consider the Andrecians to be human, and he has seen the atrocious treatment the natives get from his people How can Jarel make a difference, when he alone regrets the destruction his people bring?Georyn, son of an Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a dragon on the other side of the enchanted forest, and he is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat it To him, Elana is the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove his is worthy I actually have two editions of this This book is one I like to reread I like the language, and the raising of issues about who qualifies as 'human' (for example).But I often don't agree with the arguments I don't accept that loyalty and adherence to 'irrevocable' commitments are good behavior It's taken me a lot of wrestling with my conscience to get to this point This book made me reconsiderand I came to the same conclusion, after seriously considering the arguments Loyalty, by definition, is not sticking with ideas and people when you agree with them If you agree with them, you don't NEED loyalty, since your own conscience and reason support you It's when you DISagree with them that you need loyaltyand you can't afford it then You can't give away your need to make independent decisions EVERY TIME It's not acceptable to use the excuse of 'it's an emergency, and we have no other choice but between two evilsso we have to decide which is lesser' No oath can absolve you of the responsibility to think things through, and not to do terrible things Even if I could accept that the oath is just binding you to do what you'd decide to if you thought things through (and I can't), I can't accept the notion that you can make decisions ahead of time, or that you EVER have the right not to think things through It's like the notion that, in the field, you can't take time for mourning You MUST make time for mourning Eating and sleeping can be sacrificedeasily than dealing with your emotional needs while on assignment If you don't take the time to mourn, the questions raised by a loss don't get properly dealt withand you'll make bad decisions about later matters.I don't agree that ANY suffering is 'necessary' If people only advance through suffering, then progress is, in fact, an immoral thing I don't WANT to believe that present suffering is the price of future benefits I'd MUCH rather believe that suffering is pointless, and that all sacrifices are in vainso that I'll feel free to help people in need I recall Miep Gies commenting that the only way to decide to help people instead of abandoning them (or worse yet, helping hurt them) was never to believe that anyone deserves what happens to them.I don't agree that the Andrecians have no 'technology' If the ' advanced' societies don't regard the technical solutions the Andrecians have as technology, then they have a mistaken definition of technology The Andrecians may not have such things as gunpowder (or they may, and it's not widespread) They certainly don't have spaceships But they DO have technology, though we don't see much of it We do see the products of it, however They have looms (of some sort) because they wear cloth They have winemaking technology They have metalworking technology They have woodcarving technology They can almost certainly make charcoal To define these things as not 'technology', because they don't involve 'science' in the way it's been (re)defined since the Enlightenment is perhaps not surprising for the Imperialsbut the'advanced' Federation members should have escaped that pitfall at some point Qualifying the term 'technology' with the adjective 'mechanized' doesn't really resolve anything There were mechanized technologies in many ancient civilizations It's not an accident that the early 'factories' were described as 'mills' A mill is a mechanism, by definition Adding an engine (steam or otherwise) to the works doesn't substantially change how it works.Further, there's a tendency to argue that feudal systems are previous to 'civilized' ones, in a dependable and progressive history It was not so in Europe on Earth, and it may not have been so anywhere on Earth One of the exercises we had in archaeology class was to put artifacts in chronological order We all made the same mistake One society was considerably less 'advanced' that another (Mississippian and Hopewell, for those who are keeping score) On any standard of life (wideranging trade, health, food securityyou name it), the agricultural Mississippians were worse off than the hunting and gathering Hopewellwho preceded them chronologically.In Europe, feudal societies developed in areas where the preceding CIVILIZED societies had collapsed Many later spread to other areas which had been inhabited by 'barbarians'but many of the 'barbarian' societies had actually been incorporated into the empires that collapsed Note, for example, that in most versions of Arthurian lore, the people of Camelot are trying to REestablish (or conserve the remains of) ROMAN Britain They aren't harking back to preRoman times, but to a period when most places south of what's now the Danelaw were part of a client state of the Roman Empire.Whether a feudal state COULD be developed in the absence of the 'villas' for the villages to cluster around is not clear It may be that the prior civilization is an essential prerequisite At least one of my anthropology teachers argued that a main reason for the collapse of the Roman empire was actually a progressive technological development A new type of plow was developed that made it possible to plow areas that were previously not cultivable The local people thus became less dependent on the redistribution systems of the empireand so were able to send the tax collectors away without starving the next bad year.Of course, the Roman Empire was quite longlasting Though it ebbed and flowed for centuries, it's unlikely that there was any one reason for its final collapse So to test whether feudal societies would develop 'naturally' in the absence of the ruins of empire, it would be necessary to examine agricultural societies that never DID develop any sort of feudal society, and never had been incorporated in empires.The Domesday book demonstrates some of the processes by which a society that had been only semifeudal (if that much so) developed into fully feudal societies, with few to no pockets of freeholders who could 'go where they would' But, for example, Pueblo societies (which, after 'Anasazi' times, were mostly NOT agricultural, but rather horticultural) stubbornly resisted this sort of hierarchical structureto such a degree that when the Conquistadores tried to impose it, the nonviolent Pueblos rose in revolt against them You can argue that the Pueblos were an isolated case, and not typical of responses to feudalization Perhaps But too many people forget that the old expression that 'the exception proves the rule' uses an old sense of the word 'prove', which is the EXACT SAME word as the word 'probe' The exception TESTS the rule, and often the rule fails the test.The Andrecian 'natives' in this book are not immature in any sense The idea that societies go through stages similar to the development of human children is a fallacious one It's also dangerous, because it leads to the notion that people who don't have 'technology' in the narrow sense that's used aren't fully human.It's a pity, really The book is a good one, and the issues that are raised in it are important A littlethought would make it a truly great book But in its present state, the resolution doesn't live up to the youthful promise It's not just that people's lives are ruined, and they don't get the rewards they have a 'right' to hope for It's also that NO reward would repay the mischief that's inflictedor ANY imposed or 'natural' suffering And is suffering to 'deserve' happiness REALLY a model we want to encourage?Federation societies are essentially undescribed in this book The Academy is explicitly distinguished from the ordinary societiesbut it's not very thoroughly described, either In a sense, there's mostly definition by exclusion There's a lotdescription of what the Federation is NOT than about what it IS.The Federation in James White's books is muchrealistic Very different peoples live and work together in a somewhat fractious Pax Galactica But they don't pretend to be 'superior' to planetbound cultures And they're very far from having solved all their problems They've tried to balance protection from dangers with maximal freedombut they often failsometimes in silly ways Why should you have to order a century's supply of nutmeg to avoid questions, for example? Still, their attempts areconcrete (and steel, and composites) andindividualistic than the nebulous 'Federation' sketched in this book. Your feelings for a person who has come to mean something to you colors all your memories, so that you can't describe them effectively —Elana, Enchantress from the Stars, PP 6869 If we don't approach this with warmth and compassion and faith in these people as human beings, we haven't a chance of succeeding —Elana's father, Enchantress from the Stras, P 72 I find myself stunned into near disbelief by just how enormously powerful and incredibly good is this book Enchantress from the Stars builds slowly but with sure intent, melding together flawlessly into a taut, suspenseful story that had me leafing forward like crazy, going on for hundreds of pages without even the slightest break in my attention The plot is completely immersing and fiercely gripping, keeping the reader on edge with almost intolerably suspenseful action and feeling But a light now waxed within him at the knowledge that such wonders as he had been shown could exist —Enchantress from the Stars, P 96 Must a man then live as his fellows live, and never reach beyond? —Georyn, Enchantress from the Stars, P 98 The first book I read that really gave me an exceedingly high view of the potentials in the science fiction genre was Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion, and I am saying an awful lot when I state that I would place Enchantress from the Stars in the same company Sylvia Louise Engdahl broaches complicated and ethically challenging subjects with marvelous accessibility, pointing out very plainly in her writing that while circumstances might change, and with those circumstances the views of people, nevertheless the emotions and mentality and basic needs of people stay the same, which to me is the idea that makes terrific science fiction into what it is The emotional consequences of the interaction between Elana, Georyn, Jarel, Evrek and still others is wrenching and starkly painful, painting pictures of such powerful resonance that the reader cannot help but be drawn in, and become a part of this future world It has been a long time since I have read such a soulstirringly striking novel The human mind is incredible It can do nothing without belief, yet practically anything with it —Elana's father, P 101 It would be a poor enchantment indeed that had no price —Georyn, P 105 No one ever has all the facts All a person can do is to choose a goal that seems worthwhile and commit himself to it —Elana's father, PP 110111 What is it, I wonder, that makes two people suddenly become important to each other? So important that everything else around them just fades away? —Elana, P 121 Enchantress from the Stars tackles issues of both ethical and emotional nature with equal skill, entwining the two important concepts into one narrative that flows forth as well as any story that I have ever read Constructed along very realisticfeeling lines, the story thread weaves and turns unexpectedly and takes the reader into surprising places, never faltering in its drive The result is one of the most amazing books of any kind that I have ever read, and one that I could not recommend highly enough Enchantress from the Stars is one of THOSE books, the ones that add another dimension to one's life and affect one's thoughts and personal considerations forever I cannot say enough good things about this book People who love each other can nokeep from communicating than from breathing —Elana, P 124 It is the only happiness now possible to me, to know that all is well with you —Georyn, P 270 I really enjoyed this older YA SF, and will again when it comes up in the Newbery club in the Children's Books group Sure, there was an awful lot of discussion and not a whole heck of a lot of action, but that's fine by me because I do read SF for the 'what if' exploration of ideas Definitely a good fit, as it happens, for fans of Star Trek, with its exploration of a 'prime directive' and for fans of Star Wars, with a mysterious 'force' (in this case, telepathy and psychokinesis) Butthan that Also, it's appropriate that Lois Lowry, author of The Giver, would write the intro to the reprint Engdahl's perspective voice have much in common with Lowry's and fans of her Newbery winning SF would probably like this, too.Should generate a good discussion in the club would probably lead to even richer conversations in a teen reading group.Only a couple of quotes, because most of the book isn't pithy This first can be read as defense of faith, or of belief in magic, or even as encouragement to do science what a context you will enjoy!Why, if nobody believed anything except what they understood, how limited we'd be!And consider, do you agree with Georyn?For it is better to know of what exists than not to know I would rather be helpless than blind. I first read this book when I was in the sixth grade, and it changed my life Not only was this the first science fiction story I'd ever read, it was my introduction to the idea that where you come from shapes how you see and interpret the world.The story is presented as an intersection of fairy tale and scifi adventure, with the medieval residents of the planet Andrecia interpreting the high tech tools of an advanced civilization as a dragon Elana, the story's heroine, is a somewhat rash but deeply principled young woman who accepts the consequences for all her actions and who faces the conflicts between heart and duty with a clear vision The two other two p.o.v characters share her idealistic qualities, each expressing them through the lense of his own unique background. Read as a youth, and remembered as a short story until I ran into Cheryl's review (thanks again!) Picked it up from the library and took out the book for a second spin.The overarching structure is quite clever: the tripartite narrative of a medieval native of a planet, an advanced alien invader, and another, faradvanced alien the titular Enchantress who is trying to get the second group of aliens to give up their attempt to settle the planet while not letting either group know who she really is.Unfortunately, the creativity of the structure wasn't matched by the creativity of the content This was serviceable at best, and also full of a whole bunch of tropes with which, as a child, I was perfectly fine, but now find annoying: everybody chock full of psychic powers that just need a special push to come out, wuv, Treky Prime Directives, etc Interesting to read after such a long delay Past Me and Present Me got to have a great chat about each others' literary tastes There's a sequel also read when I was young but I think I will leave it be What I won't leave be is Engdahl 's website It's remarkably contentrich; she's very active for an author in her mideighties. This was the first pick of my new book club, surprising me because I hadn't thought of it in years I read and loved it as a teen because it was so different and challenged the notion of the separation between magic and science Told from three different viewpoints, this story of members of an advanced civilization trying to protect a fledgling society from being conquered by another race of starfarers gets at the heart of what it means to be civilized.Each character comes from a race at different stages of development: Georyn's people are at what we'd call a medieval level of society, Elana is a member of an extremely advanced civilization that has moved past war and conquest, and Jarel's society is technologically advanced but still trying to conquer other worlds Elana's people have developed psychic talents to go along with their technology, Jarel's people are advanced enough for space flight, and Georyn's are still fighting with swords and see the world through the lens of superstition Elana is the main character, but Georyn's and Jarel's perspectives are used often enough that we see how each event becomes different when seen through their eyes The scenes from Georyn's point of view also have a different narrative style that sounds semimedieval and makes those sections feel like a quest story It's an interesting approach that gives the bookemotional weight than the relatively simple story would otherwise have.The members of Elana's race take the Prime Directive a whole lotseriously than Captain Kirk ever did, to the point that they're willing to die rather than reveal the truth of their existence to any civilization not far enough advanced to handle the knowledge Elana, who is too young to have taken oath as one of her people's advance anthropological agents, is pressed into service when a member of the expedition is killed horribly for exactly that reason Elana starts out as a relatively selfcentered young woman, naïve despite her education, and the book is on one level about her growth through her role in saving the natives of Andrecia from the conquering forces, as well as through her relationship with Georyn, one of said natives It's young love that's doomed from the start, since we know there's no way the two can stay together, but Elana doesn't realize the implications or the danger until it's too late.The plan Elana's expedition comes up with depends heavily on Clarke's law that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, though in this case the technology is psychic ability The way the plan plays out reminded me strongly of what Diana Wynne Jones did with Power of Three, though not as tightly limited in perspective I can't say I was emotionally connected to this book so much as I admired what Engdahl attempted, but it was as enjoyable as I remembered despite its age The copy I own is a battered first edition signed by the author, though not inscribed to me, and I found it in a little fantasy book store in Eugene, Oregon that's no longer there That's the sort of thing I find memorable. Ten to fifteen years after reading this book, I still remember the scene in which the anthropologistfromthestars gives the woodcutterwhobelievesinmagic orange soda, and he's like magic elixer! Hah! Loved this story of high technology and low meetingit's kinda a Prime Directive parable. When I was a young teen I found this book in the early 70s, in the shipboard library on the USS Woodrow Wilson I was utterly enthralled, and saved up until I could buy my own copy my very first hardback fiction purchase! I still have that volume, which introduced me to SF and probably got me where I am today Yes, it's that good! This scifi book is simultaneously incredibly naïve and incredibly arrogant It describes a clash of three cultures, each in a different stage of social and scientific development The Federation is a highly evolved, spacefaring civilization They’re so evolved, they are telepathic They don’t wage war or conquer the lessdeveloped societies Instead, they travel among the populated worlds and study them The protagonist, a student Elana, belongs to this society of peaceful explorers Their mandate dictates that they can’t interfere in the others’ progress, to the point of rather dying than disclosing information.The second on the scale of technodevelopment is the Empire They are just starting to explore the stars and they are quite military, set on colonization of as many planets as possible Everyone less developed than they are is considered subhuman One of the characters, Jarel, is a young medical officer with the Empire expedition, launched onto the planet of Andrecia He is the doubting type – he isn’t sure species less developed should be considered subhuman but he isn’t openly rebellious either He is just brooding most of the pages dedicated to him And then there is Andrecia Its society is feudal, with no technology For them, the machines the Empire employs to clear the land for their colony are dragons, driven by evil Perhaps their point of view is not too far off Some Earth citizens think so too One of the protagonists, Georyn, belongs to this civilization He resolves to perform a heroic deed – kill the ‘dragon’ – and Elana and her crew are set on helping him to drive the dragon (aka the Empire colonists) off Andrecia – for the good of Andrecia, I presume.But what methods could they use without revealing themselves? They decide to utilize Georyn’s belief in magic to outwit the Empire, to hoax the new colonists into leaving this particular planet The Federation explorers are also pretty willing to sacrifice anyone, from their own society or from any other, to achieve their goals Lives are worthless to them compared to their lofty principles.They pull Georyn’s strings like experienced puppeteers, and even Elana, who is falling in love with the young man, obeys her captain’s decrees and plays the role of an ‘enchantress from the stars’, granting Georyn some ‘magical’ wishes and assigning him pretty harrying tasks He is a pawn to her commands, but the poor schmuck believes in her magic anyway There are no ‘nice’ persons in this story, except maybe Georyn, although he is described as a pretty dense yokel who accepts as absolute dictum anything his beloved enchantress tells him He doesn’t question her pronouncements He doesn’t try to discover the truth His side of the story resembles an original fairy tale – the youngest son of a poor woodcutter, Disney style The enchantress says ‘jump’ – he jumps.Elana does have doubts, kudos to her, but they aregrowing pangs than a serious disagreement with her elders Deep inside, she’s convinced that her Federation is the only one that’s right and good She is ready to die for her society doctrines I’m not sure I agree with the Federation and their haughty, idealistic views of the lesser civilizations That’s why I don’t think I like Elana much I think she is a silly girl, ready to become a martyr for silly reasons The Empire representatives also act surprisingly silly, almost senseless Why would they believe the Federation’s childish trickery, played by Georyn? It’s unexplainable to me They shouldn’t have, and they wouldn’t in reality Their behavior is illogical from start to end, playing to the author’s ideology instead of the realistic worldview.I know the book was written in 1970, but its year of publication doesn’t excuse its primitive political ideas or the simplicity of its characters The writing is good though, beautiful And the story is probably okay, if its readers are 13 or about But for me, a jaded reader, it feels slightly out of whack.