Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nor Crystal Tears (Humanx Commonwealth, #9)” as Want to Read:
Nor Crystal Tears (Humanx Commonwealth, #9)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nor Crystal Tears

(Humanx Commonwealth #9)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,680 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Before Man and insectlike Thranx had become allies, when the reptilian AAnn were just occasional raiders of Thranx colony worlds, one young Thranx agricultural expert lived a life of quiet desperation.

A dreamer in a world of sensible, stable beings, Ryo buried himself in his work -- reclaiming marshland from a tenacious jungle -- until he came across a letter describing a
Hardcover, 231 pages
Published February 1st 1994 by Severn House Publishers (first published November 12th 1979)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,680 ratings  ·  61 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Nor Crystal Tears (Humanx Commonwealth, #9)
Fred D
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This was the first book I ever read by Alan Dean Foster. I had perhaps an unusual reaction to this book. I really, really loved this book. Perhaps he didn't mean to be that powerful, but I was really touched by it. It is the story of the First Contact between two sentient races, the Thranx and the Humans. It is told from the point of view of the Thranx, an insect-like race resembling praying mantises. The main character is a Thranx agricultural engineer named Ryo. I quickly and very strongly ide ...more
F.J. Hansen
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
My introduction to Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth Universe.

I picked this book up from the giveaway pile at my high school library about 10 years ago, though it wasn't until a few years later that I got around to reading it. When I picked it up, the kid who had picked it up before me dismissed it and said something negative about it (even though he hadn't read it). When I finally read it, I was SO glad I ignored him. I was intrigued by Michael Whelan's cover art--a Human and an insect (two compl
Paul E. Morph
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Tillman
I read this one long, long ago. GR says it's #9 in that long-running series. My dim recollection is that it was earlier? Ah, in the internal chronology it was #1. I'm writing this silly "review" after seeing Neil Asher's blog post
"A classic and still as enjoyable now as the last time I read it, however many years ago that was. Told from thr POV of Ryo (mostly) one of the Thranx - intelligent alien bugs - this is the story of first-contact with the human r
Max Longton
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book that in my opinion realistically describes the strains between alien races in achieving an alliance. Author is especially clever in devising the plan the protagonist carries out unify the races,
Absolutely amazing book about the problems alien races have with first contact.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Written from the POV of the alien (humans are the monsters in this story) we learn a great deal about the culture of the Thranx. I love the first chapter which introduces us to Ryo (the protagonist). He is cunning, resourceful and drawn to the humans for some unexplainable reason.

I've not read any other books in the Humanx Commonwealth series and I don't think I missed anything by starting here. I am interested to see where this series goes with the human & Thranx relationship now that contact
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kept, tossed, ebook, mass
This is a re-read for me, and I still find it just as exciting and readable as I remember it. Ryo leaves his exceedingly ordered life when he hears that intelligent aliens have been discovered. Along with the poet Wuu he tracks down the persistence rumors and rescues the aliens; fleeing with them to try to establish an alliance between them and his species. After a few false starts and amazingly few dead bodies, they unite against a common enemy--the AAnn.
Cameron Scott
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Foster's writing reminded me a little bit of Ursula Le Guin's. Which is a good thing. It is simple and elegantly structured prose through which big ideas and small flit around and gain weight. An easy story to enter and a believable story.

My one qualm was with the pacing of the last twenty pages. Time, which unfolded quite steadily until then, suddenly became a bit unkempt and hurvy turvy. Changing what would have been a five star review to a four.

Jadetyger Sevea
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I actually finished this two days ago. I really enjoyed 'Nor Crystal Tears'. I take off half a point because it seemed as if the characters were constantly escaping from somewhere (so much so that the main character, Ryo, comments on it!). Still, that's a minor quibble. I loved Ryo, and found the worldbuilding and character details fascinating. I will be reading more of this series as soon as I can figure out the order to read it in.
Ooh, I loved this. Clearly a novel I bought because the cover is amazing, but the story itself is also so much fun.

I really enjoy world-building novels, novels where there is an alien perspective, and novels when alien cultures encounter us humans and then try to figure out why the hell we do what we do. This novel is full of all three, but it never gets dull or repetitive. Mainly because the aliens aren’t morons. I mean, you sometimes see sci-fi movies where the humans are on an alien ship and
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books which opens its arms and welcomes you home. So much more than a page-turner, this book is a prime example of why I love science fiction and fantasy. I lost myself in this world and read it all in one sitting in the middle of the night. This is one of those rare books that is a must-have. I wildly recommend it. My dreams after reading were almost as good. My imagination raged about how *I* would have continued the story. Great book. All I have is sleepy and determined p ...more
B. Zedan
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Folks who like first-contact books and bugs
Shelves: real-book
This is one of the books I totally stole from my mom when I moved out because I couldn't imagine not having it around. Fascinating insectoid space-faring race! They smell like flowers! First contact with humans!

And, as usual, Foster is kind of a bio nerd, which is endlessly enjoyable when applied to world building.
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book has, in my mind, the best starting line ever...

"It's hard to be a larva." Beyond that I don't think it's the strongest book in Foster's Commonwealth series, but it sets the perfect tone.
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing novel of first contact; I've read it at least 3 times and plan to do so again. The Thranx are fascinating and Alan Dean Foster has done a great job of creating them; their thoughts, society, and worlds.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a great story about first contact between humans and an alien race from the viewpoint of the aliens. I highly recommend giving this one a read!
Timothy Boyd
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in his Humanx universe. Great selection of stories of the meeting of the humans and the rest of the universe. Very recommended
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Yeah...yeah...I know. It's not a surprise I rated this five stars. I mean, I'm a fan of Alan Dean Foster, and I love Pip and Flinx AND I love the Commonwealth Alan Dean Foster built up in his books. SOOOO, when I found this Book that I DIDN'T OWN in a second hand bookshop I SQUEALED in happiness and added it to the ten book high pile I already had and presented that pile to my mother with a huge grin.
Tah dahhh...

This book though. Wonderful. From the first page I adored it. It's from the point o
Brett T
Although he's ranged across the science fiction and fantasy landscapes in his 45 years as an author, Alan Dean Foster is probably best known for his novels in the universe of the Humanx Commonwealth, a sprawling galactice milieu dominated by humans and the insectoid Thranx. In 1982's Nor Crystal Tears, he told the story of the first contact between the two disparate species, and the bold action taken by some of their more visionary members that helped birth their most beneficial union.

Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would never have heard of this Author if I wouldn't have bought the Alien books by him years ago. Since I am always looking for new books, I thought I try his Humanx saga, starting with this book.

I liked it a lot (4.5 stars), the POV is interesting (the story is told not by humans exploring space, but by an alien race bumping into really ugly monsters - us).

The story was well developed and interesting, the characters relatable. When finishing I immediately bought the next book (in chronologic
Raymond Ford
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I can think of few first contact novels that really do justice to “alienness” - I mean intelligent, peaceful bugs that smell good - who would have thought... Written from the point of view of the aliens made this engrossing from the start. Foster drew upon enough (human) biological references to make the alienness real. I was a bit disappointed with the ending - wrapped up, spanked on the bottom, and sent on its way. But I am encouraged to find out this is part of a series (I did not know that). ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
An oldie but a goodie. Very satisfying story of first contact between 2 worlds, complete with vivid descriptions of alien biology, history, psychology and careers. Larval thranx and human children at boarding school together was a charming construct, no matter how unlikely it would have been to get parents to cooperate without more info.
Matt Shaw
Slick and entertaining, this is a fun read but doesn't rise much above Storytime. The key asset is that the narrator is an alien; telling a First Contact story through an alien p-o-v is a great idea. There are plot holes and the aliens aren't that alien in psychology or social structure, however. This is a fine popcorn-movie kind of book, but don't mistake it for weighty.
Ben Clohesy
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up for a read again after... 20 years? And found it a great read - I'm really glad I read it again. Foster has all the elements that make up a great rollicking sci-fi read. I especially like the point of view from the Thranx - it's done very well.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. My boyfriend is a huge sci-fi fan and he has been getting me to read more of the genre. This is the first book I have read by Alan Dean Foster and I enjoyed it immensely. I found myself absorbed and turning each page, not wanting to wait to see what would happen next.
Nov 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback
Typically enjoyable ADF but not exactly amazing. Good likable characters but a tad bit too anthropomorphic for me. The sheer amount of luck and suspension of disbelief is really what kept this from being 4 stars. No matter how likeable the character, he succeeds far too easily.
Katie Robles
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting characters and civilizations; loved the "what if" scenario presented. Has an Asimov-like feel which I enjoyed. Touch of humor. Great read.
Haven't read this book since high school, wanted to see if it held up and it sure did! This book is as cute as its buggy little protag.
Erika Worley
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about perspective and understanding.
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Series number is incorrect 5 28 Feb 20, 2018 04:34PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat, #4)
  • Friday
  • The C Programming Language
  • Job: A Comedy of Justice
  • Footfall
  • Superman, Last Son of Krypton
  • On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, #1)
  • Auberon (The Expanse, #8.5)
  • By Schism Rent Asunder (Safehold, #2)
  • The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant
  • Off Armageddon Reef (Safehold, #1)
  • Palace Intrigue (A Medieval Tale, #3)
  • Whales on Stilts (Pals in Peril, #1)
  • Tarzan At the Earth's Core (Tarzan, #13)
  • The Pretty Ones
  • The Future of Another Timeline
  • Her Majesty's Wizard (Wizard in Rhyme, #1)
  • Ender's Game, Volume 1: Battle School (Ender's Saga)
See similar books…
Bestselling science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946, but raised mainly in California. He received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1968, and a M.F.A. in 1969. Foster lives in Arizona with his wife, but he enjoys traveling because it gives him opportunities to meet new people and explore new places and cultures. This interest is carried over to his writing, ...more

Other books in the series

Humanx Commonwealth (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • The Tar-Aiym Krang (Pip & Flinx #1)
  • Bloodhype (Pip & Flinx #2)
  • Icerigger (Icerigger, #1)
  • Midworld (Humanx Commonwealth, #4)
  • Orphan Star (Pip & Flinx #3)
  • The End of the Matter (Pip & Flinx #4)
  • Mission to Moulokin (Icerigger, #2)
  • Cachalot (Humanx Commonwealth, #8)
  • For Love of Mother-Not (Pip & Flinx #5)
  • Voyage to the City of the Dead (Humanx Commonwealth #11)

News & Interviews

Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts...
17 likes · 10 comments
“Spontaneity is one of the joys of existence, especially if you prepare for it in advance.” 11 likes
“A little bit of everything you admire eventually rubs off on you.” 5 likes
More quotes…