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The Seedling Stars Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1959

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Blish (1921-75) studied microbiology at Rutgers and then served as a medical laboratory technician in the US army during the Second World War. Among his best known books are Cities in Flight, A Case of Conscience, for which he won the Hugo in 1959 for Best Novel, Doctor Mirabilis, Black Easter and The Day After Judgement. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Roc; First Edition edition (February 1, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451069773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451069771
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,770,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
The book is a compilation of stories: 'A Time to Survive/Seeding Program' (54 pages), 'The Thing in the Attic' (33 pages), 'Surface Tension' (64 pages) and 'Watershed' epilogue (9 pages).

In 'Seeding Program' Donald Sweeney is a young man who has been altered so as to be able to survive on Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. He has been raised completely alone and his job is to bring the leader of refugees, The Adapted Men already at Ganymede, to justice. If he succeeds to infiltrate, he may get a reversal of his adaptation and live in Earth. But things are not quite what they seem; the government who sends him to the mission hasn't told him the whole truth. The story ends at escape of the surviving refugees from Ganymede. The seeding of stars begins.

In 'The Thing in the Attic' the off-springs of the seeding program live in a trees where any heretic statement against prior giant legends are condemned to the horrifying ground level. The fear of the ground dominates this planet. This part is about the adventures of the exile group in pre-historic environment.

In 'Surface Tension' we find out that one of the seeding ships ship wrecks to a waterworld and human genome must be radically Adapted to survive. This is *truly* unique story where survive actions happen at microscopic level. These humans escape from horrors of rotifer (smaller thank plankton) and build tiny "space ship" to explore world by rising above the water's surface.

The 'Watershed', The final story, is set in millennia in the future where humans have adapted virtually everywhere. The genetic modifications are so vast that the the original human is now in minority. This is the story of an Adapted returning to see unhabitable earth.

Five (5) stars. This 1957 compilation is Blish at his best.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Comprised of three short stories and a ten-page coda, The Seedling Stars back covers' synopsis reads as, "Primogenitors: Their creators called them Adapted Men. But the rest of the human race saw them as monsters and tracked them through space to annihilate them. Yet the Adapted Men survived... survived and fled to the outmost edges of the galaxy to fulfill their destiny - to seed the universe with the mutated scions of mankind. Millennia later, it was only fitting that they should return to a long forgotten planetary system to colonize a hostile world called Earth."

Seeding Program - 4/5 - Having escaped the moon, home to the adaptation program, the Adapted Men have found purchase on the unforgiving moon of Ganymede. Earthlings, however, find the project to amoral and are fueled with suspense to put the colony to an end. To facilitate this usurpation, the same moon program has created through metamorphosis an individual identical to the outlaw Adapted Men who is then sent on a mission to infiltrate the community with the goal of kidnapping their leader. This man, Sweeney, finds a comfortable yet small society progressing in science to meet their fate as promulgators of life to the galaxy. 50 pages

The Thing in the Attic - 4/5 - Arboreal human Adapts, furry and quaint in appearance, have colonized the tree tops to be kept safe from the monstrosities which walk upon the shadowed earth beneath the umbrella of foliage. It is here, which the denizens deem to be Hell, where the convicted blasphemers go to suffer and ultimately die. A lengthy 1000 day sentence is given to five heretics who find the Book of Laws and the tale of the Giants to be mere fable. Upon reaching hell, they strive to ascend until ascension is no longer possible.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Blish's The Seedling Stars is a collection of three novelettes (Seeding Program, The Thing in the Attic, Surface Tension) and a short story (Watershed). Each is loosely connected by internal chronology and subject matter: pantropy (the modifications of humans for live on other planets instead of terraforming). The quality of the stories--published between 1952-55--is somewhat uneven although they remain Blish's most famous.

(4/5) Seeding Program

This story examines the beginnings of the the practice of pantropy. Sweeney, an Adapted Man, is placed by the Terran Port Authority in a colony of Adapted Men and their chief scientist on the moon Ganymede. His task, bring the fugitives back to Earth so he can become human. Sweeney eventually discovers that during his sheltered life under a dome on the Moon he was indoctrinated with lies about the Adapted Men. He eventually realizes that he'll never become human and decides to remain with his new family. He assists in the launching of the new seed ships from Ganymede which head off across the galaxy to find suitable planets for pantropy.

I really enjoyed this story. I was expecting slick 1950s space ships and was pleasantly surprised when Blish describes a much more feasible spaceship of modules placed in a metal framework. The scientist and his Adapted Men is very similar to the plot of Star Trek's The Wrath of Khan and the follow up episodes in Star Trek: Enterprise. I suspect Blish might have been an early inspiration...

(2/5) The Thing in the Attic

The Thing in the Attic is by far the weakest selection of the collection.
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