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The Demon Breed Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (May 5, 1955)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044114246X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441142460
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,149,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Snavely on January 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nile Etland is another of James Schmitz' strong female characters, every bit as engaging as Telzey Amberdon (The Universe Against Her, The Lion Game, The Telzey Toy), Trigger Argee (A Tale of Two Clocks, or Legacy), and young Goth (Witches of Karres). Readers of his diamondwood grove (short) story will also cherish the comprehensive ecosystem he's woven for this tale.
Unfortunately, with the current competing tides of sensational occult fantasy and sensational fundamentalism, this title probably puts off potential readers of quality science fiction. (I believe the story was originally titled The Tuvela when a version of it was serialized in one of the older SF mags--Astounding? or SF&F?.)
One of the many things that Schmitz does well is to leave one's mind full of interesting ideas and challenging debates. What about those entertaining mutant otters that we get to see so little of, will they be given citizenship? Is humankind really innately dangerous? What sort of government would humanity need among the stars?
For those who enjoyed the complex and naturally hazardous ecosystem, you might also enjoy two of Alan Dean Foster's works: Midworld, and Sentenced to Prism. (Foster is a print chameleon, with several styles and subgenres to his credit, so I can't blanket-recommend his work. But these two are fascinatingly creative ecosystem-based stories.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
'The Demon Breed' and 'The Witches of Karres are the only two books I've read from 'James Schmitz'. With both books I couldn't stop reading. Normally I only have this when I read 'Jack Vance'. This is very good stuff for addicted readers who like fast story writing with good intelligent humor in it. I see there are not a lot of people who have read this book, otherwise this review page would be filled with remarks from fans. It was by coincedence that I've got to read this book (in Dutch, I'm from Holland, so that's the reason for the mistakes in writing in this review). The book 'The Witches of Karres' is from 1969. My father gave it to me when I started to read sf-books. Like 'The Demon Breed' I've read this book over and over again. And still love it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of Schmitz's Tales of the Hub, with a character first introduced in Analog in a story called Trouble Tide. Dr. Nile Etland, a futuistic version of a limnologist, lives and works on a watery world that has been secretly invaded by an alien fleet hiding in the depths, and on one of the strange floating islands of that world. Nile Etland is a Schmitz heroine, and the aliens are evicted rather forcefully, with an assist from Nile. The ecology of the world is a major factor in the story, as is the quest for immortality. Quite a good read. Lots of action, interesting ideas, and a likable main character, with a sudden and useful switch of viewpoint at the end.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Camp on August 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There was a type of story closely associated with _Astounding/Analog_ under the editorship of John W. Campbell, Jr. If there was a conflict between humans and aliens, Campbell wanted the ornery but likeable humans to emerge triumphant. Well, we are all more sophisticated nowadays. We know that this view is ethnocentric. We know that not only do we sometimes fail, we know that we frequently don't _deserve_ to win. Yes, indeedy.

But let us be honest. Given a choice, which would you rather read-- a literate, world-weary, black comedy or a well-crafted Campbellian space opera? How many times do you really _want_ to watch humanity go down the drain? How many novels do you _want_ to read that tell the stark truth about the Human Condition? We _say_ that we religiously watch _Masterpiece Theatre_... but in our heart of hearts, we know that we watch _Desperate Housewives_. In short, there is still a place for the old-fashioned _ASF_ story.

James H. Schmitz's _The Demon Breed_ is an _ASF_-type story, and a good one. It was serialized in _Analog_ in 1968 under the title, "The Tuvela." It was accompanied by a marvelous John Schoenherr cover depicting Nile Etland and her mutated otter companion, Sweeting.

Now in novels of this sort, a few conventions are usually followed. First, the hostile aliens must appear to have all the advantages at the outset of the novel. Second, the aliens must have a psychological weakness. It might be an overly literal way of thinking, it might be a superstition, it might be an overly ritualistic behavior pattern. Whatever it is, the plot of the novel shows how the humans sieze upon that weakness and manipulate it until the enemy is defeated. These novels might be called "guerrilla warfare novels.
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By Scott A. Conroe on January 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have owned a paperback copy since about 1970 or 1971, in high school, and I still read this book and my other James H. Schmitz title, 'Witches of Karres,' about once a year. My old copy is getting yellow, though, so time for a new copy. The female protagonist is a scientist working on a water world of floating plant islands, which has been invaded by aliens who think she is superhuman. Schmitz has created an entire ecosystem of plants and animals for his planet, with an engaging survival story.
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