I've managed to once again get back on my on-again-off-again-over-many-years vague notion of reading all the books which have beings described in Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials
. This time 'round I decided on Wildeblood's Empire
by Brian Stableford. Turns out that's volume three in the Daedalus Mission series ... the journey of a spaceship making a follow-up check on human colonies begun on other planets over a century ago, with each volume covering a different stop on the journey. Fair enough, start at the beginning to get context ... and end up reading the whole six volumes in a three-day binge.
To my knowledge I've never read Stableford before. That he's a British writer is most likely part of the reason ... Canada may be part of the Commonwealth but actual paper books are expensive to ship overseas and science fiction (and fantasy) being considered somewhat disreputable until fairly recently, the import pickings have always been fairly slim ... just a few major authors. Ebooks, weighing nothing and taking up zero freight space, are changing that ... hallelujah! All this to say that's most likely why I wasn't familiar with his name or work.
Glad I've found him now, though. The Daedalus Mission books turned out to be a fascinating look at how humans (and any animals and plants they take with them) might or might not fit into the ecology of other planets as colonists ... I've been thinking of it as theoretical exo-ecology. Because, let's face it, if we try to live anywhere other than Earth we WILL be an invasive species, no matter how environmentally friendly we try to be. Even a single bacterium from our bodies has the potential to run amuck when free of the natural controls it evolved with. We'll wither and die, we'll somehow manage to find a niche, we'll replace and/or destroy what was originally there ... or we'll have to adapt so rapidly and drastically that our own species will have problems recognizing us (and that doesn't necessarily mean physically changed). The Daedalus visits six colonies during its voyage and encounters all those outcomes. And more. Because ecology is never simple.
I believe I have a ton more Stableford to read now ...
P.S. There's one scene in the sixth book that I swear must have inspired the Vin Diesel film "Pitch Black"This entry was originally posted at http://jlsjlsjls.dreamwidth.org/1350382.html. Please comment here or there (using OpenID), whichever is most convenient for you.