“Sassinak” by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon

“Sassinak” by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth MoonSassinak by Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon
Series: Planet Pirates #1
Published: 1990 by Baen
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 333
Source: Purchased
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“Sassinak”  is one of Anne McCaffrey’s lesser-known novels.  It is co-written by Elizabeth Moon.  I had never even heard of it before I came across it at a used bookstore, but hey, there were space pirates.  What’s not to love about that?

The book tells the story of Sassinak, who becomes orphaned as a child after space pirates raid her colony.  She is sold into slavery, where she meets a man named Abe who tells her about Fleet and the values for which it stands.  When she is finally rescued, she decides to enlist and dedicates her life to fighting the space pirates in order to prevent other children from suffering her own childhood fate.

I enjoyed the premise of this book a lot (even though my boyfriend claims that the story is basically Metroid, which I unfortunately have never had the occasion to play).  At the same time, the execution could have been a lot better.  The pacing felt a bit rushed; Sassinak was orphaned, sold into slavery, and then rescued in the space of less than thirty pages.  I wanted to spend more time watching events unfold and learning more about Sassinak’s thoughts throughout her adventures, and I wanted to spend a bit more time being introduced to the minor characters.  I had to do a couple doubletakes because characters were introduced so quickly that I barely remembered who they were.

I did love Sassinak as a heroine.  One of McCaffrey’s greatest strengths is creating strong female characters who are career-minded and competent.  Even while she’s in captivity, Sassinak manages to learn and excel at science and engineering.  She becomes a skilled pilot, and once she joins Fleet she quickly moves up in the ranks to become a Commander.  It was also pretty cool that the bulk of the action of the story took place when Sassinak was in her 40s.

Overall, Anne McCaffrey’s other books are a lot better.  At the same time, if you enjoy space pirates, dinosaurs, and kickass female heroines, then you might enjoy “Sassinak” despite its shortcomings.


I read this book as part of the Speculative Fiction Challenge hosted by Baffled Books.

20 thoughts on ““Sassinak” by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon

    1. I like that she gives her heroines more technical careers that would generally fall outside of gender stereotypes. I wish that this particular book would have been done better, but at the same time I did still enjoy reading it. It just didn’t live up to her other work.

    1. Haha, well, the dinosaurs didn’t really show up till the end. Apparently there’s an earlier McCaffrey book set in the same universe that deals with them a bit more. I’m probably going to have to read it at some point, but I’m trying to at least wait another week or two before going on another book-buying binge.

    1. I’ve read a few of her books and really enjoy them. I hadn’t heard of this one until I came across it at the used bookstore; it’s one of her lesser known titles.

    1. They’re the entire reason why I bought the book, lol. I wanted some sort of fun space opera where the bad guys are really evil and you can root for the good guys because everything else I’ve been reading lately is pretty big on the moral ambiguity. 😀

      1. I never used to think like this, but since reading Asimov, whenever I hear ‘space cowboys, I think of Hans Solo – which is an entirely nice thing to be thinking about!
        Lynn 😀

  1. Yep this is Metroid….Metroid came out in 1985, this came out in 1990. That is all I can say. I doubt she can morph ball like Samus can, though.

    1. I don’t think that either of the authors ever played Metroid though, just coincidence. Either way, it’s interesting. I just wish the book hadn’t have felt so rushed.

  2. To all of you who complained about the book, ignore the last part. Start with Death of Sleep, then read Dinosaur Planet and Dinosaur Planet Survivors.The part about Ireta is Sassinak’s perspective of what happens in Dinosaur Planet Survivors and as noted very rushed. Lunzie is the main character of the first book and one of the characters in the second two. There are lots more books in the series, many of them by Elizabeth Moon. They need to be read in order to get the full impact. As you may have guessed I am a huge Anne McCaffrey fan and have read all her science fiction books many times.There is also a major inconsistency. There is no way Sassinak should have known there were dinosaurs on the planet before she landed.

    1. It was a fun book, I just felt like the pacing was off from the very beginning, and normally I’m a huge McCaffrey fan. I still enjoyed it, it just had some issues that weren’t present in some of her other books. I’d still like to read the rest of the series, but I’m waiting to come across them at the used bookstore since I’m on a budget.

  3. I need to revise my previous comment. The only other book in this series is Generation Warriors. The books by Elizabeth Moon that I referred to are in a similar, but not identical universe. I tend to think they, are since Moon co-wrote the last two books. Jody Lynn Nye co-wrote the The Death of Sleep. The Dinosaur Planet books were written long before the others.

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