The Exploratory and Evaluation Corps of the Federated Sentient Planets had sent ARCT-10, with its mixed crew of shipbred and planet-bound technicians, to Ireta to catalogue fauna and flora and search for new energy sources. It was a simple mission. A standard crew.
Kai and his beautiful co-leader Varian, the best xenob-vet in the business, followed all the standard procedures -- but the results of their investigations were totally unexpected. Not only were the planet's creatures larger than anyone had anticipated and the geological finds smaller, but the rescue ship had inexplicably disappeared.
Then suddenly on a world of giant swamp creatures and deadly predators, a curious change had come over many of the members of the ARCT-10 crew... a change that would lead all of them, in one way or another, into the primitive darkness of a future world.
Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two brothers: Hugh McCaffrey (deceased 1988), Major US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.
Anne was educated at Stuart Hall in Staunton Virginia, Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures.
Her working career included Liberty Music Shops and Helena Rubinstein (1947-1952). She married in 1950 and had three children: Alec Anthony, b. 1952, Todd, b.1956, and Georgeanne, b.1959.
Anne McCaffrey’s first story was published by Sam Moskowitz in Science Fiction + Magazine and her first novel was published by Ballantine Books in 1967. By the time the three children of her marriage were comfortably in school most of the day, she had already achieved enough success with short stories to devote full time to writing. Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series The Ship Who Sang and the fourteen novels about the Dragonriders of Pern that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed.
She died at the age of 85, after suffering a massive stroke on 21 November 2011.
Anne begins1978's Dinosaur Planet with a sawed-off shotgun full of technobabble, firing indiscriminately in all directions. Not satisfied with abusing readers with tedious technical detail on the first page, she continues this neutronium thick technobabble for the next 50 pages, which is 1/4 of the book. The technobabble is so thick that there isn't even any room for a plot, not even the vaporously thin plot of this book.
Somewhere around page 50, the technobabble shots simmer down to a more reasonable pace and some degree of plot and characterization moves in, much like oxygen. So I suppose that the horrific writing of the first fifty pages lets the perfectly lame writing of the remaining book seem good by comparison. But trust me, it's only good in comparison.
The plot, whichs starts around page 100, revolves around a vegetarian planetary survey which loses contact with their ship. Rather than accept that they may be marooned, they hope for the best and march onward. Meanwhile, "heavy worlders" have turned carnivore, and the meat drives them into violence. They take over the expedition, stealing everything, and attempting to murder everyone via dinosaur stampede. The leadership survives, holes up in their remaining shuttle, going into techno-sleep.
And you'd think with a title like Dinosaur Planet that the book would be a sure-fire dino-love-fest. Nope. The expert future biologists don't even recognize the creatures as dinosaurs. Really? T-Rex is so obscure that you have to look him up?
By my educated guestimate, Anne began this book early on, abandoning it for other works. For some inexplicable reason, as she got to be a better writer, she hauled this manuscript back out and finished it, if you could call this book finished. Fortunately, every editor who saw the book rejected it until Anne got so popular that even a roadkill like this book became a viable source of income rather than a viable source of ridicule.
It's not the worst SF book that I've ever read. (Andre Norton holds that title.) However, it does make it into the annals with a silver medal and a commemorative plaque.
Like many kids, dinosaurs were one of my earliest obsessions. I read countless books about them; I saw robotic versions of them in museums; I played educational computer games featuring them, such as Designasaurus on my Commodore 64 and Dinosaur Safari on my first Mac; and, I had numerous toys and other memorabilia featuring prehistoric creatures. My favorite back in the day was Spinosaurus.
Though I'm not as enthralled by those long-extinct lizards anymore--partially because we know so little about them, as nobody living today has ever seen a live one--I still enjoy stories based around them sometimes. Plus, I've dedicated this month to the writings of Anne McCaffrey, as some of you already know. So, this book was right up my alley.
While a bit short--it may be among the author's briefest works--I still enjoyed the story; it wasn't Ms. McCaffrey's best, but, I still had fun with it. Now, I can't wait to read the sequel.
This is a character development and world building novel with characters from various backgrounds and ages exploring a planet with plants and animals that don't really belong together. The reading is a little dry but worth it. Will I read it again? Maybe, if I live long enough. Note that the story does have a conclusion, but it is open ended. Maybe the sequel will tell us if they survive long term.
There's a word for re-reading a book from your youth that you just LOVED and being disappointed in it as an adult. This book still has elements that sparked my imagination and interest back then, but a lot of it sadly didn't hold up. I'm still four-starring it, for all it meant to me back then, but I don't think I'd recommend it to a modern reader sadly.
I wanted to like this book more. It has so many fun ideas... a multi-species exploration federation, variants of humans from different types of worlds, prehistoric earth animals placed on an alien planet... the problem is that these ideas don't really shape up to anything. McCaffrey begins to build the story (admittedly with some jargon thrown in) as a bit of a mystery - odd discoveries and missing equipment and the like. She builds things up quite a bit. Around the middle of the book, I was set for the other shoe to drop... all I could think was: the action is just around the bend. I turn the page and... turn the page and... turn the page and... she goes off into several pages about how horrible violence and meat eating are and... finally - with about 30 pages left in the book, the action starts. Then the book ends. First book of a new "series" right? Well, there is one more book (later more added), but in my opinion every book in a series should be able to stand on its own as a story. The characters continue on and to really understand them you should read the ho series, but the STORY should stand. In my opinion, this story fails that test.
This book was completely unnecessary. The events were already covered, I suspect sometimes word for word, in the Planet Pirates series. There was almost no action in this book, no trajectory, no spice or flavor, no character growth whatsoever. It takes a special case to mess up literal dinosaurs in space. Boring, flat, clinical, disappointing.
abandoned to colonise the planet. But it's not the best place to be - as well as the weird and wonderful native fauna, it seems to also be populated by creatures from Earth's prehistory - namely, Dinosaurs (oh, and the precursor to the modern horse - McCaffrey likes to get her love of Equines into every book!).
And then the 'Heavy-worlder' contingent get a bit wild, amped up on mild alcohol and by witnessing the violence inherent in the wildlife, and mutiny. Leaving the softer, weaker members of the team to hide until they can be rescued.
There's lots to like about this book - it's kind of fun and who can't help but like Dinosaurs in space? The characters are ok and there's some nice, teamy dialogue to enjoy. But there's also a few thinks that niggle. There's a lot of info-dumping and a lot to take in during the first few chapters - not all of which you really need to know. The 'action' is sort of all packed into the end and, I thought, comes a bit out of the blue. And I'm not sure I can completely get behind the reasons for the reversion of the Heavy-worlders.
But that said, I was entertained and it didn't take a huge amount of time to read ... and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes in the second part.
I always thought the cover was interesting but never interesting enough to make me want to read it (that and the blurb on the back of the book). I finally got around to reading it because of my "dino-fic kick" I am on. Now that I have read it, about all I can say is that I read it. The character development is so-so (I personally thought some of the "more enlightened characters" were more stupid than they should have been and/or believed themselves to be). The plot is so-so. While it was a relatively fast read (total 3-4 hours), it still felt like it was moving ponderously "forward" (or "onward").
The first third or so of the book moves in one direction and then "slowly" begins changing direction. The ending is beyond disappointing. There was no "pay-off." I spend 3-4 hours reading a book, I expect some kind of satisfactory conclusion. I did not get it at the end of this book. I cannot quite say if it ends on a "cliff-hanger" or not, because the second book in the series was not printed until six or so years later. The "mystery" behind the various animals on this planet is eventually "revealed" in what comes across as an "off-hand explanation" toward the end of the book .
Overall, it was an okay book. It was a bit of a snoozer, and most of the "excitement" occurs in the last few chapters of the book. Perhaps if she had focused on "one thing" instead of mixing up the plot very fifty pages, it might have been better? In any case, I have "finally" read it and do not know if I will ever read it again. I wish it had more interactions between humans and dinosaurs, to be honest (the title and cover is a bit deceptive, in my opinion). I may try to find the sequel to see how it ends, or I may not. We shall see.
I wanted to do some good, old-school fiction, and one can hardly do better than some Anne McCaffrey. Of course everyone knows about her world of Pern, but have you been to Ireta?
A scientific team of explorers go to a new planet to explore and look for ore deposits that make life for this future race of beings possible. They explore planets all over the galaxy looking for metals that these people use to survive. Only this planet, at first, doesn't seem to have anything they are looking for. A biologist on the team, Varian, is in awe of the many varied species of life being discovered on this stinky planet (they had to use fancy nose plugs to block the stench for quite some time), but the most intelligent life on the planet she had discovered was were golden furred flying creatures she labeled "giffs".
All is going well for the diverse crew on Ireta, or so it seems. In this universe, there are beings classified as ship-bred, light worlders, or heavy worlders. The build of each is unique. The gifts of each are unique. But, the heavy worlders are by far the most removed group of the three. Kai, the leader of the expedition, and Varian notice the heavy worlders are starting to act strangly. Is it due to the effects of some rather new "distilled beverages" or could it just be their innate differences?
Things start to disappear and native wildlife is being killed or maimed. What is truely going on? What secrets is this planet hiding? Nothing seems to add up and things are becoming deadlier by the day. When the ships scientist reveals a truly remarkable and disturbing discovery about the wildlife on Ireta, the leaders will have to do some quick thinking.
As always with Anne McCaffrey's work, the writing is superb. There are a multitude in this cast that can become confusing at times if you aren't paying attention. Some of the minor characters are quite forgettable, and I'm sure I have forgotten who they are even as I write this, but even the main characters still hold a bit of mystery for me. Usually, by the time I finish a McCaffrey book, I have my favorites and characters I despise. This isn't quite the case in this book.
The plot took some time to build, and didn't really get going til the end. The way it does end did leave me reaching for the sequel, it was quite the cliff hanger, and I'm not one to abandon a story by such a phenomenal storyteller just when things are getting good. I know she has something astonishing waiting for me in Dinosaur Planet Survivors!!
I've read a few other Anne McCaffrey books before and I've never really been able to get into her stories. I decieded to give it another try when I found Dinosaur Planet. I love dinosaurs so I thought it would be a good read. Well I was somewhat dissapointed. There are very minimal dinosaurs and they aren't really that important to the story. The actual story was ok but you can deffinitly tell that this whole book is just a set up to it's sequel "Dinosaur Planet Survivors". Everything that happens just kind of sits there at the end, there are all these mysteries that the team has to sovle and everything goes unfinished at the end. This is deffinitly not one of those books you can just not read the sequels to.
It was pretty hard to get into because there wasn't much action. And I'm probably going to end up readin the sequel just because finishing that book would be more like finishing the first.
A pretty light, fast read. Not McCaffrey's best book. The tension throughout relies on the characters figuring out what's obvious to the readers (i.e. the dinosaurs really are dinosaurs, and the heavy worlders are planning to mutiny). Also, the notion that the heavy worlders are savages in large part because they're not vegetarians seems pretty heavy-handed. Still, it's a fun story, and the ending has a good bit of action. Nothing is resolved, mind you, so if you read it, be ready to jump into the follow-up, Dinosaur Planet Survivors.
A very slow start littered with either made up terminology or scientific phrases I was ignorant of. Once the story kicked in it was an enjoyable little read and I raced through it. Not sure if I'll read the second book though.
A well-known adage for writing fiction says to “shoot the sheriff on the first page.” I don’t agree with that advice in every narrative—in my opinion it depends on the pacing and length of the story in question. Longer stories can take their time getting to the action and still be compelling. But I understand the principle: a writer needs to grab the reader’s interest soon after the story begins. Toni Morrison understood this when she began her novel Paradise with “They shoot the white girl first, but the rest they can take their time…” Anne McCaffrey not only doesn’t shoot the sheriff on the first page, she waits until the final one-fifth of the novel—the last 35 pages or so—before the action starts.
What the heck?
Don’t get me wrong—I did enjoy reading Dinosaur Planet. The characters are interesting, McCaffrey’s world-building is interesting, the various mysteries that crop up—what is causing the survey team’s isolation? What’s up with the mish-mash ecological sytem? Who surveyed the planet before, and why didn’t the current galaxy-spanning civilization remember any of it? What is causing the disturbing behavioral changes in some of the survey personnel?—are interesting, and I truly wanted to see where all this was going and how it would all meld together. But my biggest complaint is that the story hardly qualifies as a novel. When Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope was first released in 1977, it was just called Star Wars, because George Lucas wasn’t sure he’d be able to make any more installments in what he saw as a six-part story arc. But even though SWE4:ANH was smack dab in the middle of a six-movie epic, the movie had a stand-alone story arc of its own. That is, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end—it is complete in and of itself. Dinosaur Planet’s story arc is incomplete—reading it is like watching only the first three acts of a Shakespeare tragedy, like watching Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet without Acts IV or V. When I first got the Kindle app on my i-Pad, I was excited by all the free e-books out there, until I learned that most of the newly-written free fantasy and science fiction e-books were only the first parts of multi-book series. When I picked up Dinosaur Planet (not as an e-book, but in the original Del Rey paperback edition) and started reading it, I never expected Anne McCaffrey to commit the same storyteller’s sin of only provided the first part of the story, expecting the reader to go out and purchase the sequel just to see how things turned out.
Dando inicio al año con mi primer Libro Planeta de los Dinosaurios del autor Anne McCaffrey.
En el nos relata la historia de una una tripulación la cual fue destinada con varios equipos de apoyo entre ellos gigantes, personal científico y parte del personal joven que por primera vez son enviados a una exploración de un planeta que pueda ser habitado para la raza humana ya que débito a la extinción de su planeta han estado en búsqueda de uno en el cual poder habitar ya que las últimas exploraciones han dado un resultado negativo. Tan pronto aterrizan en el planeta su primera impresión es el alto nivel de oxígeno vegetación y de múltiples criaturas que lo habitan con unos tamaños colosales y bastante intimidantes ya que los mismos gigantes se sintieron abrumados a la altura de estos dinosaurios. A medida que avanzan la exploración el equipo es divido para determinar las especies la vegetación la geografía y si tienen agua potable y poder analizar el comportamiento de los animales y de que se alimentan. El equipo científico hace un descubrimiento bastante perturbador en el cual encuentra una nave espacial con unas características muy similares a las que suelen utilizar los exploradores humanos pero con una tecnología ya obsoleta recaudan toda la evidencia posible para dar informar a la nave nodriza, los gigantes encuentran que la geografía es bastante diversa y que el agua potable no es tan potable como lo pensaban ya que al consumirla se embriagaban y perdían el control de los sentidos y sacaban la parte salvaje que ellos tenían. Los jóvenes descubren que no solo ay animales herbívoros de todos los tamaños también ay unos carnívoros que logran devorar a otro animal a pocos metros de dónde ellos se encuentran, a medida que avanzan la exploración van encontrando datos y resultados bastante inquietantes. Ya que la batalla se dará entre los gigantes, los científicos y los jóvenes que luchan por sobrevivir y escapar a varios ataques entre ellos y al cual se le suma la cacería de los carnívoros ya que los detectaron como posibles presas.
I’ve spent years keeping an eye out for this one in second hand book stores, because I could only ever find the sequel. And then I finally find it, and settle in with a cup of tea and a new Anne McCaffrey, and am appalled to discover that the dinosaurs are a minor background detail in a book full of space-racial bullshit.
You see, humans who comes from heavy-gravity worlds are just different to those of us from ‘civilised’ earth-normal gravity worlds (or generational space-goers). They’re stronger, and better suited to doing the heavy lifting and other menial tasks (as opposed to the other crew, who are all specialists of one sort or another). And while they are sensibly vegetarian like all members of the Federation, there are rumours that they don’t always keep to the code on their home worlds while no one else is looking.
Given a chance, when exposed to witnessing a T-Rex take down a ... actually I’m not sure, but it was some badly-described veggiesaurus, they ‘revert’ to their natural states, becoming aroused by the violence (it’s assumed they’re sexually as well as physically aroused, and all ‘mating’ like rabbits behind closed doors that night). They sneakily sneak around and take to hunting dinosaurs and eating them, something that repulses all the non-heavy worlders, who also hold all the officer positions in the crew.
As they go to confront them, there’s a mutiny and who cares because it’s just in their nature for blackfellas to behave like that, am I right?
You can have one star for giving the pteranodons fur, but the rest of this book is bad even for the time period. I don’t know why I expected better of the author.
I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to initially. A 4.5/5 for me in the end. I have been meaning to read some McCaffrey for awhile now since I have a bunch of her books in my collection, but I didn't want to take on anything too long. My "to read" bookshelf at home is quite stacked already for the year so I don't have much time to waste. So I ended up picking this up and thought the cover and concept seemed interesting.
Having not read McCaffrey before, I did not know what to expect. My god, I was impressed. She really had a good handle of hard science instrumentation and data analysis aspects. I thoroughly enjoyed that. Plus, biological horror/sci-fi, xenobiology/chemistry, xenbotonany are some of the words included in my favourite sub-genre in the sci-fi space and this novel hit on all of them! Reminded me of some aspects of the book I am currently writing, ha.
In terms of writing, the language/vocabulary, worldbuilding, and overall packing were done excellently. I will say that the character development could have been done a bit better. Not to say that the characters weren't developed fully or completely, it it just that I feel as if there were too many unnecessary characters that didn't do too much. Like Auria or Celesti or Tardma....all three of those examples are people who just helped other more important and memorable people. I wouldn't usually criticize this, but when the book is only 200 pages and there are xeno- biologists/chemists/botanists/cartographers/recorders/etc. it can become a bit cumbersome to manage all of the names. This is really a very minor critique though, it did not distract my reading as much as other texts in the field. The main characters like Varian, Kai, Targeli, etc. were all excellent portrayed.
I felt as if enough happened that it left room for the reader to wonder and build the world in their head but still not feel as if nothing happened. The events that did transpire were all linked together in the ending conclusion with the heavy-worlders which made the simple but longer aspects of the books like looking for herbivores and golden fliers, I'd say those events ended up being worth it in the end. In the thick of the events, it seems as if the author was being a bit cautious to not get too crazy or out of hand/reality. It is hard to explain, but I feel as if the balance of that with what did happen in the story was just done lovely.
I was so happy with the book that when I was about 30 pages from the ending, I went to Half-Price Books and actually found a copy of the sequel from the 80s for only 2 dollars. What are the odds, eh? Finding a very specific sequel sci-fi paperback from the 80s in 2022. I think it was meant to be. Very excited to start the sequel tonight!
This is a book from my childhood I remember possessing, but had forgotten the title until now. As I had absolutely no recollection of the plot, I read it again because of the interesting premise. The setting is classic 1980s science fiction space exploration: landing on an unknown alien planet teeming with life forms waiting to be discovered, a theme that had fired my imagination as a boy long ago at a time when interstellar space flight seemed almost a given within my life time. How things had turned out, with humans not even setting foot on our moon again after the initial landings.
To read such a story of space adventure then, was a journey into an innocent past when almost anything was possible. McCaffrey did a good job bringing in ecological and biological concepts in this story centered around a xeno-biologist (that term, how archaic!) explaining the alien life on planet Ireta to her co-exploreres, so that was neat, for me. Most of the short novel was a day by day account of the work that these spacefarers did, which was surveying new territories, documenting the flora and fauna, and prospecting for minerals, which took precedence over everything else. After the initial chapters it became a little dreary and not that exciting, hence the low rating despite the spectacular setting - the story was sorely lacking.
There appears to be a sequel to this, which continues the story just as things got interesting again towards the end of this book, so stay tuned for that review.
p.s. How could any kid not want to read this book just looking at that cover!
There are five books in the Planet Pirates series by Anne McCaffrey and then co-authoring the last three with either Jody Lyn Nye or Elizabeth Moon. I enjoyed Dinosaur Planet years ago when I was reading all of McCaffrey's books but not as well as her Dragonriders of Pern series. However I had just read Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series and really liked those, so I thought I'd check out the co-authored book Sassinak and Generation Warriors. I ended up rereading the first two and finished the whole series. I think I like the first tow, Dinosaur Planet and Dinosaur Planet Survivors, better this second time around. It's a space opera/military science fiction genre. A survey ship lands on a planet that has odd anomalies, including, of all things, dinosaurs from old Earth. And then everything blows up as the "heavy worlders" in the group believe that they seem to have been "planted" on the planet with no hope of retrieval from the mother ship. Since they like this more violent world, they stage a bloody mutiny. To avoid being wiped out, the other members of the team hide out and put themselves into cryogenic cold sleep while waiting for their rescue, not believing that they have been abandoned. That sets the stage key characters for the next five books. Themes of what cold sleep can do a person, of conflict between different races, and a variety of alien worlds and cultures enliven the series.
After being basically abandoned on a Mesozoic planet our heroes have to struggle through not only the native flora and fauna, but also betrayal and deceit! I was kind of surprised to find that this book had a sequel, I guess I'm gonna read it now, as I guess I'm invested in Kai and Varians story. This book wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favourite either, obviously I was a fan of the dinosaurs, out of date as they may be, and the other sentient aliens were cool, sentiant rock-man friends I can get behind. I also liked the avian aliens and their racism and disbelief that another species of flyers could be intelligent. The characters were good if not needing a little more flushing out. Kai and Varian made good leaders and Lunzie was kind of fun. Bonnard and the other kids were a little annoying, but got across what they were there for. I think the thing that weirded me out the most was like, the obvious tone of 'racism' around the Heavy-Worlders. Like, they did mutiny, so I guess you were right to suspect them a little bit, but otherwise you guys were using these huge people as work horse/slave labour, basically, no wonder they rose up. I also get the space vegan thing, it does make sense. But if the Heavy-Worlders were already set up to eat meat on their home world's, maybe we shouldn't freak out and fly off the handles when they want to try Hadrosaur meat. Anyway, 2.5/5. It was alright. I'll probably read the sequel just to have the whole story.
Anne McCaffrey fans, skip this book because it is quite possibly the most boring book I have ever read. The characters are dull, the setting is somehow dull, and the story is dull. There is quite a bit of worldbuilding that would have been interesting if McCaffrey had done anything with it. And in spite of the fact that the book is titled "Dinosaur Planet", the characters don't figure out that the planet they're on is populated with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals until the last quarter of the book.
Speaking of the last quarter, that's the only part of the book that's any good. If the first three quarters of the book had been condensed down to a third of its size, and the last quarter kept the same, she would have had half of a decent book. Although I'm not confident that McCaffrey would have been able to write a decent second half since over all she hadn't put much effort into this one.
If any of you have read any of my previous reviews, you'll know I just have to mention sex. The main character spends much of his time all but leering at one of the female characters. Towards the end they conclude that some of the other people in their research group are sneaking around and having sex. So the main character says to her something like, "Hey, since those other guys are banging, how about we knock boots too?". And it works because it's always that easy, right everyone?
Some parts of this were interesting, like the idea that a civilised society would go vegan (although they call it vegetarian). There's sort of racist tropes in the book, and the world-building while thorough is hard to understand without more context (should I have read something before this one and if so why is that not made clear?).
Kai and Varian have a predictable and boring heterosexual romance and there is pointless stuff about Kai's previous sexual history at the beginning. The youngsters are also predictable (with the gentlest one being one of the females and the bold problem-solver being the only male) The dinosaurs are kind of cool, I want to know more about the fliers. I don't know if I can bring myself to read the whole second book just for that though.
The plot was slow moving and the world being kind of obscure did not help that. Despite being more civilised (and therefore vegan lol) the civilisation of this futuristic world has an expansionistic/exploitative agenda that they don't problematise even a little bit. I don't know if that is how people saw it in the 70s but to me it seemed sort of ironic.
Anyway people who like vintage science fiction or things with dinosaurs in them will probably like this. I think I'll leave it to them.
This book was an absolute mess, but it didn't have to be. The premise is interesting. A survey team is sent to a planet to discover that the original spacefaring civilization had already been there hundreds of thousands of years ago, and that they had transplanted dinosaurs to the planet. The survey team is then abandoned by their mothership, presumably because adding in humans "completes" the earth-like biome. But there are 2 factions of humans, and a violent mutiny divides them. Sounds like the setup for an interesting story? Well, it isn't.
As far as I can tell, this book starts on Chapter 3, and we never make up the establishment of character and purpose that should have been in the first 2 chapters. It's so scattershot that I have a hard time believing any editor touched this book. The characters take turns holding the idiot ball, all so that we can somehow not notice that the obviously-evil characters are going to betray them. Then, at the end of the book, the story abruptly stops. Yeah, see, this is a 2-part story, and while nowadays it would be published as 1 volume, there were 6 years in between part 1 and part 2 when they were published. Let's hope that Anne became a much better author in those intervening years.
I thought this book would be fluff, but it had a surprising amount of xenobiology in it. An exploratory crew with waaay too many characters gradually discovers more about the planet. Several mysteries are set up, but not solved, in a very unsatisfying way. I didn't realize this book was part of a series until halfway through, when I saw the "note to self" describing the related books in my used copy. Basically, there are too many characters to keep track of or really get attached to. On the crew, there are some members who were born on a ship and have a preference for synthesized food and closed spaces. There are also people who grew up on heavy worlds and are stronger but somehow more primitive. I thought the taboo on eating meat was very interesting, especially how a character characterized it as fulfilling base urges.
Even though this book was written in the 1970s, aside from using tapes, the technology didn't seem out-of-place. I was interested to read about core sampling and I have a few theories about how they arrived on the planet, but I won't be continuing the series because I didn't like it that much. ⅖ stars