Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Star Born (Pax/Astra #2), by Andre Norton (author), Mark F. Smith (narrator)

LibriVox, October 2007 (original publication January 1957)

Dalgard Nordis is the descendent of the Free Scientists, who fled an Earth brutally ruled by Pax, and established a colony on the planet they called Astra. They made the journey mostly in cold sleep, and on awaking and landing, built their colony. However, they also met natives--the fur-covered mermen. The mermen, equally comfortable on land and in the water, were just starting to emerge from the water, where they had retreated when escaping the brutal rule of the species they call Those Others, who now seem to be gone.

Dalgard is traveling with his merman friend, Ssuri, on the exploration trip whose successful completion will see him welcomed as a full adult when he arrives back at the colony.

Raf Kurbi is a crew member on the tenth starship sent out from Earth after the overthrow of Pax and the creation of the Federation of Free Men. This ship lands on Astra, hoping to find one of the colonies they believe were established by escapees from Pax. The first inhabitants they encounter are,, in fact, Those Others, the former rulers of the planet, reduced in number and hunting down lost pieces of their own technology, but not all of it, and none of their determination to be absolute rules.

Initially, though, these people welcome the new arrivals from Earth, and still have some very impressive technology to display. They also have an eye on the technology that brought these new arrivals here from another planet--technology Those Others don't have.

Dalgard and Ssuri discover in their exploration that Those Others have started to reoccupy at least one of their formerly abandoned cities.

Raf and his crewmates travel with Those Others to their city, hoping that they'll share some of their technology. Instead, though, they gradually realize that the mermen the aliens are brutally killing on sight aren't the subintelligent animals their hosts, or perhaps captors, claim.

If Those Others succeed in finding what they're looking for, they'll be in a position to reassert their former control.

Dalgard and Ssuri, and Raf and his crewmates, separately start to realize the extent of the danger--and Dalgard doesn't know if these new human arrivals might be from a still-ruling Pax.

It's a story told in the manner of the middle of the last century, when it was written, It reflects, though, Andre Norton's belief that people are people, that their differences make life interesting and also offer advantages if they work together rather than against each other. In this story, it's humans and mermen, and two different human cultures who aren't sure they can trust each other. They're different, and interesting, and they're all still just people, with strengths and flaws.


I downloaded this audiobook free from LibriVox, and and reviewing it voluntarily.

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