Two centuries after an atomic war on earth, a silver-haired mutant sets out on a dangerous search for a lost city of the ruined civilization.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews 18 of 19 people found the following review helpfulThe dream of the Star Men shall never die!By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on March 14, 2004Format: Hardcover This is the book that started it all for me.I first read this book as a book I ordered through Scholastic Book Club in junior high school. It was my first contact with Andre Norton. I absolutely loved the exploration scenes in the book. The vision of a post apocalyptic wasteland, and wandering through mysterious old buildings had me from the first page. Growing up poor the one extravagance my sister and I had was the monthly book club at school. We could sometimes buy a book or two and one of the books I ordered, (my first science fiction novel), was Star Man's Son. It blew my 11 year old mind and I reread it several times. I see from the comments left at Goodreads that many of us obtained the book through school scholastic programs and it left quite the impression on us all. The post-apocalyptic world that Fors and Lura explored ignited my imagination. I recently purchased a copy of the reprint, Daybreak: 2250 AD, on Ebay and am looking forward to reading it, yet again.
This was one of the first science fiction novels that I ever read, and the ideas and images in it have stayed with me all this time. Nor is it really "dated", it could all still happen- only it is now 250 years into the future instead of 300.This is the story of Lars of the Puma clan, of the people of the Smoking Mountains. Lars's father was of the famed Star Men- explorers of the blasted wilderness beyond the mountain stronghold of the Star Hall.
The brotherhood of Star Men sought to carry on the tradition of their research scientist ancestors- to seek out new knowledge for the betterment of the tribe- and of the world.
This was to be Lars's destiny also, except that his father failed to return from his last mission and there was no one to speak for him at the last choosing of apprentices. So, rather than accept the insult of a lesser life, Lars took up his sword, bow, and his father's pouch, and along with his great mutant hunting cat, Lura, went out to find the great lost city of the Old Ones that his father's last journal entry spoke of.Published in 1952 this was one of the first post-apocalyptic novels. It is also one of the most believable.
Even in light of current knowledge you still find it believable.One other thing, in spite of the tales about the unimaginable horror of nuclear war, this book was about hope. You see, even after you press that big "reset" button, mankind will yet find a way to survive; the great cycle of re-civilization from the ruins of former greatness will start again. If you were a kid growing up during the Cold War this was an important message to keep at the back of your mind.1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes
No7 of 7 people found the following review helpful Unbelievable
FFB: Daybreak-2250 A.D.(Star Man’s Son)-Andre NortonEdit
She was born Alice Mary Norton in 1912 and legally changed it to Andre Alice Norton in 1934, writing under the male name of Andre Norton. The reason was that her books were intended for young boys and it was believed they would sell better if “written” by a man. As much as I hate to admit it now, in my callow youth, I probably wouldn’t have read any of her books if I’d known a woman wrote them.
She primarily wrote science fiction and fantasy, with an occasional historical thrown in, some three hundred plus novels. Recurring themes were bonding between humans and animals, tribal societies, and the outdoors, whether on Earth or some exotic planet deep in space.
Her best known works are probably the Witch World titles, some thirty plus. They were okay, but not my favorites. A great many people believe them her best work.
I first read Daybreak-2250 A.D. when I was barely a teenager. It was published in 1952 and has also appeared under the title Star Man’s Son. Though I own copies of both, I much prefer the former. It was among the earliest science fiction I read. Not the first. That’s reserved for Tunnel In the Sky by Heinlein. But it was shortly after that one. I was probably twelve or thirteen.
Some believe it was the first fiction to deal with a post-nuclear holocaust world, but there is no reliable evidence to prove that.
Fors was of The Puma clan, of the People of the Eyrie in the Smoking Mountains. The son of a Star Man, it was his dream to be one himself. His father had been killed years ago in a battle with the Beast-things. The Star Men were the explorers of the clans, the ones who traveled the far lands looking for caches of the lost knowledge. Lost because the Old Ones had thoughtlessly used nuclear weapons to nearly destroy the world. They looked for the cities that hadn’t been destroyed or looted.
Now Fors would never be a Star Man. He had just been turned down for the fifth year in a row and by next year he would be to old to be considered. You see, he had a problem. His mother had been a woman of the plainsmen, those nomadic, horse riders, not of the Eyrie. He had a strain of mutant in him. Silver hair, better eyesight, night and day, and better hearing than anyone else in the tribe. People didn’t trust him. Now he was fated to spend his the rest of his life at the sufferance of his clan.
Angered, he breaks into the Star Man’s building to retrieve his father’s pouch and leaves the Eyrie to find the “lost” city his father had been on the hunt for when he died. With him is Lura, another result of mutation from the nuclear bombs. Lura is a giant hunting cat who’d bonded with Fors as a kitten. They even have a limited telepathic connection. Lura is, essentially, a Siamese cat the size of a mountain lion.
All Fors has to go on is a scrap of map with a city by a large body of water. While hunting, he has to avoid the “blue” cities, unsafe from radiation. They glow at night.
In his wanderings, he makes a new friend, rescuing Arskane caught in a vicious trap of sharpened spikes in a pit set by the beast-things, those vicious city dwellers that may have once been human. Arskane’s ancestors were flyers who landed their planes in a southern valley after that long ago war and melded with the people there, settling in and becoming farmers and sheepherders.
An earthquake has opened up a volcano and driven them from their valley to hunt for a new home. There have already been clashes with the plainspeople.
Their bond grows as they battle first the beast-things, then the plainspeople, captures, escapes, fleeing across the deadly Blow-up lands, nursing each other back to health. Their mission now is to reunite all bands of humans before they repeat the Old Ones’ mistakes and leave the world to the beast-things. For they are now, for the first time in two hundred years, emerging from the city ruins to engage humans on the open plains. Something has them working together.
This is one of my favorite novels and rereading it for the first time in a few years to refresh my memory, it carried me back to that long ago youth.
By James A. Miller on May 30, 2000Format: HardcoverThis is uncanny! I feel like I'm in a chat room with all the other reviewers! I too read this book in the 7th-8th grade (way too many years ago) and the story has never left me. Unfortunately for me, my copy (titled "Daybreak 2250 A.D.") was sold in an auction in a box of books that I intended to keep! This is one of the most engrossing stories that I have ever read, even if it was meant for kids. If you can find a copy, buy it, treasure it, and share it with your children. A great bookComment
Was this review helpful to you? YesNo6 of 6 people found the following review helpfulAlso Read this Ages AgoBy Mark Ian Kendrick on February 6, 2002Format: HardcoverWow, so many read this story so long ago and loved it, too. I'm 42 and read this book when I was a 7th grader.
I still have my original copy! I've read it perhaps eight or nine times since then, although it became more and more dated and the pages more and more brittle with each read. Regardless, Ms. Norton brilliantly captured Fors' quest and his sense of alienation. It was the sheer adventure and the characterization that's most important in this story, not the socio-political backdrop that somewhat shadows the storyline.When I found out that Andre Norton was female (when I was a teen) I was amazed that she was able to get inside of Fors' head (who's male) so well.
The mark of writing genius, if you ask me.This book is truly is one of the classics of all of S/F. And this is the story that totally hooked me in the genre.Comment Was this review helpful to you?
YesNo5 of 5 people found the following review helpfulMy virgin Andre Norton voyage !By Leila Snyder on May 18, 2000Format: Hardcover
This was the first Andre I ever read, and I still have it, a little ragged and discolored. I am now a grandmother, and look forward to hooking my grandson on reading the sci-fi masters, as I did with our sons. This book took me to another world, and left me wanting more of it.Comment Was this review helpful to you? YesNo3 of 3 people found the following review helpfulAn exciting post-nuclear war adventure, with human warmth
By A Customer on April 24, 1998Format: HardcoverMy attention was first drawn to "Star Man's Son" by a school librarian about 1955, when I was in 8th grade. From then on until I graduated from high school, I read it at least 2 or 3 times a year, probably more, to the point where I could recite whole chapters by heart. The novel is set 200 years after a nuclear war has destroyed "civilization as we know it", as they say. Humankind has reverted to tribes of wanderers, who fear and avoid the old ruined cities for fear of the radiation that has created a race of "beast things". The hero, Fors, has yearned to follow in the footsteps of his later father, a "Star Man," one of the small group that tries to recover the old, lost secrets of science.
But Fors is different from the others in his tribe--his night sight and hearing are too keen, and worst of all, his hair to completely white. Out of fear of genetic mutation from the radiation, people like him are not allowed to be full-fledged members of the community. Fors decides to leave the tribe before they decide on his fate.
He will make his own way in the world. In the course of his adventures, he encounters and befriends a wounded man whose skin is as black as Fors's is white; they penetrate one of the old cities, and survive, though they have some narrow escapes from the Beast Things. Fors and his friend must both prove their valor and worth to their respective tribes--white and black--which are suspicious of one another, and join them to fight the Beast Things, which have become bolder and are beginning to emerge from the cities. As an adolescent, I empathized utterly with Fors, and I repeated envisioned myself as the hero of a film version of this exciting novel.Read more ›Comment Was this review helpful to you? YesNo3 of 3 people found the following review helpfulMy first Andre Norton but not my lastBy Barbara E. Brewer on April 8, 1999Format: Hardcover
This is the first Andre Norton book that I read. My cousin had it and when we visited them I spent the whole time with me nose in the book. Got me in a lot of trouble but I never regretted it. That was about 40 years ago but it doesn't seem that long. Andre Norton has given me lots of new heros and heroines but none has ever replaced this one. He was basically cast out of his clan, decided to show them that he was worthwhile, met the baddies, saved a stranger, fought with the strangers tribe against the baddies, and saved the world. What more can you want in an action adventure? It also has an Andre Norton cat. It's one of her best.Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No