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The Howling Stones (The Humanx Commonwealth) Mass Market Paperback – November 26, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA?Like Foster's Cachalot (Severn House, 1994) and the popular "Flinx" series, this story is set in the "Humanx Commonwealth." Two scientists race against their vicious alien nemesis, the Aan, to secure a treaty for mining rights on the newly discovered planet Senisran. The aboriginal natives' sacred stones are found to have an immense power that the humans and the Aan will do almost anything to obtain. While not of the caliber of Foster's Nor Crystal Tears (Del Rey, 1982), this is an engrossing, well-written book. The author has again created believable, complex characters, and a vivid alien planet.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Foster here returns to the Commonwealth Universe, the setting for his Icerigger trilogy and Flinx novels, for this morality tale of first contact with aboriginal aliens. Two Commonwealth xenologists from advanced societies compete for a treaty with the Seni after discovering that they have sacred stones with unexplainable powers for healing, gardening, fishing, transportation, and other uses. The Seni must demonstrate to the humans why their cultural mores prohibit a treaty. Foster treats the Seni with compassion and respect, showing that primitive cultures are not necessarily destined for exploitation. A fascinating anthropological novel with complex characters that belongs in all sf collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Humanx Commonwealth (Book 6)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (November 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345406451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345406453
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,934,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan Dean Foster's work to date includes excursions into hard science-fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He has also written numerous non-fiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as "Star Wars", the first three "Alien" films, "Alien Nation", and "The Chronicles of Riddick". Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for the first "Star Trek" movie. His novel "Shadowkeep" was the first ever book adapation of an original computer game. In addition to publication in English his work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel "Cyber Way" won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science-fiction ever to do so.

Foster's sometimes humorous, occasionally poignant, but always entertaining short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in original anthologies and several "Best of the Year" compendiums. His published oeuvre includes more than 100 books.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
67%
4 star
17%
3 star
17%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 12 customer reviews
Very innovative storyline with good character development.
Dan
The exact nature of the stone is revealed (to a large extent) and their ultimate implications were extremely interesting.
Tim F. Martin
One of these xenologist-diplomats is Fawn, a tall, blond, easygoing female shaped like a goddess.
Solipso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tsb345@tfn.net on August 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In this book, Foster returns to the imagination and style that first led me to be one of his avid readers. With the plot centering around the constant struggle of humanxkind verses the Aan and the acquisition of planetary resources, he gives us a new planet, characters and races as well as furthering our knowledge of established ones. The revelation and new information of the Hur'rikku race, sparcely discussed throughout former commonwealth novels, makes this a must read for his fans. Now if only Foster would dedicate whole novels to pre-commonwealth history and complete the Flinx saga, I would be sated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on August 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
_The Howling Stones_ by Alan Dean Foster is a novel set in his Humanx Commonwealth universe, the setting of such earlier works as _The Icerigger Trilogy_ and _Cachalot_ and more recent efforts such as _Drowning World_. An enjoyable novel and a fast read it is similar to other books in the series, depicting exploration and adventure on alien worlds within the Commonwealth, worlds generally with distinct endemic sentient alien species.

The world of this novel is known as Senisran, a largely ocean planet, devoid of any substantial continental landmass but instead spotted with thousands of islands, many of them in archipelagoes. Most of the islands are fairly small, the largest being about half the size of Madagascar. The climate over most of the globe is hot and humid, the islands being covered in tropical vegetation (with a fair amount of venomous fauna).

The native race is known as the seni and are bipedal humanoids, tending to be a bit shorter than adult humans, with smooth skin, pointed ears, drawn faces, relatively small mouths, and powerful hind legs easily capable of allowing their owners to hop great distances and over large obstacles. On the cover of the book one is depicted, the illustration pretty much spot-on for what is described in the text.

In the Humanx Commonwealth novels, there are two competing interstellar civilizations, rivals not unlike the two superpowers during the Cold War, one being the human-thranx (the thranx being an insectoid race, not seen in this novel and indeed most of the Commonwealth books), the other the AAnn Empire (this being a civilization of bipedal endothermic reptiles, something not unlike what dinosaurs might have evolved into according to some).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mattm9y on January 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy Alan Dean Foster's books, so I'm not bashing this, nor do I have any kind of agenda. In fact, it's a good story, but it takes longer than I would like to get to the meat of the tale. It spends a lot of time on the politics and maneuvering involved in the dealings with alien people, which is part of setting up the atmosphere, but is my least favorite aspect of sci-fi. So I felt it made the story drag along. Also, the 'expert' in the story showed amazingly poor judgment about a serious situation with the beliefs of the aliens that didn't ring as true for his character as I thought it should. In all, I think it would have made a better novella.

I read the kindle edition, and it had a huge amount of transcription errors. Normally I get past that pretty easily, but these were enough to affect my enjoyment of the story. However, I did not factor that into my score, as it had nothing to do with the story itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Solipso on May 10, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is light reading, but it is not space-action pulp pretending to be respectable science fiction. It is a blend of science fiction with adventure and drama. And don't let Alan Dean Foster's credentials fool you. Though his degrees are in political science and fine arts, his vocabulary is sharp and he displays impressive knowledge of botany and zoology. THE HOWLING STONES presents many colorful and imaginative alien species of flora and fauna, which are logical and sometimes lethal.

The story occurs on an oceanic planet, Senisran, where thousands of islands are inhabited by non-spacefaring bipeds, the seni. One sub-group of the seni, the Parramati, has been resisting diplomatic overtures from two spacefaring races. These are human beings and advanced lizards called "Aann." The spacefarers are exploitive and high-tech, and they want to dig up the Parramati islands to mine commercial minerals.

A highlight of the novel, indeed my favorite part of it, is the relationship of the two main characters, both human. One of these xenologist-diplomats is Fawn, a tall, blond, easygoing female shaped like a goddess. The other is Fawn's polar opposite. He is a diminutive Javanese male, Pulickel (poo' lick ull), who balances Fawn not only with his short height but also with his adherence to proper procedure.

In addition to other absorbing elements, a mystery helps the reader turn pages. Why won't the Parramati sign a trade agreement, with either the humans or the Aann? The natives would get technology and the spacefarers would get minerals. But the stubborn natives always have an excuse, albeit unconvincing. And then a new, seemingly magical phenomenon enters the picture, making it even more imperative that Fawn and Pulickel get that treaty.
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By Dan on June 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Very innovative storyline with good character development. Flits just a little and jumps on some of the logic to move the story on (a common trait with most writers) but still a very good read.
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