Amy Thomson, Author . Ace $14 (372p) ISBN 978-0-441-01094-3

Thomson's lyrical, episodic tale of symbiosis between humans and aliens and of a boy's growth to adulthood recalls Heinlein's beloved Citizen of the Galaxy , which enchants with both details and broad strokes. On the primitive water planet of Thalassa, with its few clutches of small islands, Teller, a seemingly simple, elderly woman, rescues a destitute eight-year-old orphan, Samad. Besides belonging to the revered Storyteller guild, whose mission is to alleviate social ills and disseminate history and morality, Teller has another identity that readers will have the pleasure of suspecting well before she lets her young charge in on the secret. Thalassa's human colonizers depend on the ability of some people to communicate with the native harsel, charming, sentient whale-like creatures, inside whose "backs" they travel between islands. Having benefited from off-world rejuvenation drugs, Teller is also part of a much larger intergalactic culture, which was responsible for Samad's childhood problems. Eschewing technological explanation, the author explores such familiar SF themes as rejuvenation and longevity, interstellar societies and ecological balance. Some may find the major plot shifts and gaps in chronology jarring, but all will feel touched by mystery and wonder. (Dec. 2)

Reviewed on: 11/03/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-441-01256-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1325-7
Show other formats
Discover what to read next