Star Man's Son 2250 A. D.

Collected with No Night Without Stars in the Darkness & Dawn omnibus. Also published as "Daybreak—2250 A.D." and "Star Man's Son".

1 A Thief By Night (pg. 3)
pg. 3 'the Eyrie'
pg. 3 'Beads of moisture gathered on the watcher's bare arms and hide jerkin.' (clothing)
pg. 3 'Hot anger brought him up on this broken rock point above the village of his tribe.'
pg. 3 'He propped a pointed chin—strong, cleft and stubborn—on the palm of a grimy hand…' (Fors)
pg. 3-4 'Right before him, of course was the Star Hall. And as he studied its rough stone walls, his lips drew tight in what was almost a noiseless snarl. To be one of the Star Men, honoured by all the tribe, consecrated to the gathering and treasuring of knowledge, to the breaking of new trails and the exploration of lost lands—he, Fors of the Puma Clan, had never dreamed of any other life.'
pg. 4 'For five years he had been passed over at the choosing of youths as if he didn't not exist. Why then should his merits suddenly become diamond-bright on the sixth occasion?' 'Only—this was the last year—the very last year for him. Next year he would be over the age limit allowed a novice.'
pg. 4 'Maybe—if his father had come back from that last exploring venture—'
pg. 4 'If he himself didn't bear the stigma so plainly—His fingers clutched the thick hair on his head….' 'They might have forgotten about his night sight and too-keen hearing. He could have concealed those as soon as he learned how wrong it was to be different. But he could not hid the colour of his close-cropped hair. And that had damned him from the day his father had brought him here. Other men had brown, black, or, at the worst, sun-bleached yellow, covering their heads. He had silver white, which showed to all men that he was a mutant, different from he rest of his clan. Mutant! Mutant!'
pg. 4 'For more than two hundred years—ever since the black days of chaos following the Great Blow-Up, the nuclear war—that cry had been enough to condemn without trial. Fear caused it, the strong, instinctive fear of the whole race for anyone cursed with a different physique or unusual powers.'
pg. 5 'Here in the Eyrie, apart from the infection of the bombed sectors, mutation had been almost unknown. But he, Fors, had Plains' blood—tainted, unclean—'
pg. 5 'And in the evenings, when they had shut out the rest of the Eyrie, there had been long hours of learning to read and write, to map and observe, the lore of the high trails and the low. Even among the Star Men his father had been a master instructor. And never had it appeared doubtful to Langdon that his only son Fors would follow him into the Star Hall.'
pg. 5 'So even after his father had failed to return from a trip to the lowland, Fors had been confident of the future. He had made his weapons, the long bow now lying beside him, the short stabbing sword, the hunting knife—all with his own hands according to the Law. He had learned the trails and had found Lura, his great hunting cat—thus fulfilling all the conditions for the Choosing. For five years he had come to the Fire each season, with diminishing hope to be sure, and each time to be ignored as if he did not exist. And now he was too old to try again.'
pg. 5 '…today—he would have to lay aside his weapons and obey the dictates of the Council. Their verdict would be that he live on sufferance—which was probably all a mutant could expect—as a worker in one of the cave-sheltered Hydro Farms.'
pg. 5-6 'No more schooling, no fifteen or twenty years of roving the lowlands, with further honored years to look forward to as an instructor and guardian of knowledge—a Star Man, explorer of the wilderness existing in a land where the Great Blow-Up and made a world hostile to man. He would have no part in tracing the old cities where forgotten knowledge might be discovered and brought back to the Eyrie, in mapping roads and trails, helping to bring light out of the darkness. He could not surrender that dream to the will of the Council!'
pg. 6 'A low questioning sound came out of the dark and absently he answered with an assenting thought.' 'Then a furred shoulder almost as wide as his own nudged against him…' 'Lura loved freedom. What service she gave was of her own choosing, after the manner of her kind. He had been so proud two years ago when the most beautifully marked kitten of Kanda's last litter had shown such a preference for his company. One day Jarl himself—the Star Captain—had commented on it.'
pg. 6 'There was no sign of sunrise. Instead black clouds were gathering above the bald top of the Big Knob.' (Mountain peak to the east?)
pg. 7 'Langdon! He could remember his father so vividly, the tall strong body, the high-held head with his bright, restless, seeking eyes above a tight mouth and sharp jaw. Only—Langdon's hair had been safely dark. It was from his unknown Plainswoman mother that Fors had that too-fair hair which branded him as one apart.'
pg. 7 'Langdon's shoulder bag with its star badge hung now in the treasure room fo the Star Hall. It had been found with his battered body on the site of his last battle. A fight with the Beast Things seldom ended in victory for the mountaineers. He had been on the track of a lost city when he had been killed. Not a "blue city," still forbidden to men if they wished to live, but a safe place without radiation which could be looted for the advantage of the Eyrie.' 'For the hundredth time Fors wondered if this father's theory concerning the tattered big of map was true—if a safe city did lie somewhere to the north on the edge of a great lake, ready and waiting for the man lucky and reckless enough to search it out.' (is this a reference the the Great Lakes?)
pg. 7-8 'Perhaps five years ago he could not have tried it—perhaps this eternal waiting and disappointment had been for the best after all. Because now he was ready—he knew it!'
pg. 8-9 'Now that the pouch swung from his shoulder he went openly to the storage house and selected a light blanket, a hunter's canteen and a bag of traveller's corn kept in readiness there. Then he reclaimed his weapons and the impatient Lura, he started off—not toward the narrow mountain valleys where all of his hunting had been down, but down toward the forbidden plains.'
pg. 9 '…but his step was sure and confident as he hunted out the path blazed by Langdon more than ten years before, a path which was not watched by any station of the outpost guards.'
pg. 9 'Why, in the past twenty years even the Star Men had mapped only four cities, and one of them was "blue" and so forbidden.'
pg. 9 'He knew the traditions of the old times. But, Langdon had always insisted even while he was repeating the stories to Fors, they could not judge how much of this information had been warped and distorted by time. How could they be sure that they were of the same race as those who had lived before the Blow-up? The radiation sickness, which had cut the number of survivors in the Eyrie to less than half two years after the war, might well have altered the future generations. Surely the misshapen Beast Things must once have had a human origin—or had they? Men were playing with the very stuff of life before the Blow-up. And the Beast Things clung to the old cities where the worst mutations had occurred.'
pg. 9 'The men of the Eyrie had records to prove that their forefathers had been a small band of technicians and scientists engaged in some secret research, cut off from a world which disappeared so quickly.' (see: The Stars Are Ours!)
pg. 9-10 'But there were the Plainsmen of the wide grasslands, also free from the taint of the beast, who had survived and now roamed with their herds.' 'And there might be others.'
pg. 10 'Who had started the nuclear war was unknown.' (see: The Stars Are Ours!)
pg 10 'Somewhere, within a mile or so of the trail he had chosen, Fors knew that there was a section of pre-Blow-up road. And that might be followed by the cautious for about a day's journey north.'
pg. 11 'This stuff beneath his hide boots had been fashioned by those of his race who had been wiser and stronger and more learned.' (the pre-Blow-up road, his clothes)
pg. 12 'Lura licked at her wet fur and Fors caught a flash of—was it her thoughts or just emotion? None of the Eyrie dwellers had ever been able to decide how the great cats were able to communicate with the men they chose to honour with their company. Once there had been dogs to run with man—Fors had read of them. But the strange radiation sickness been fatal to the dogs of the Eyrie and their breed had died out forever. Because of the same plague the cats had changed. Small domestic animals of unnamable independence had produced larger offspring with even quicker minds and greater strength. Mating with wild felines from the tainted plains had established the new mutation. The creature which now rubbed against Fors was the size of a mountain lion of pre-Blow-up days, but her thick fur was of a deep shade of cream, darkening on head, legs and tail to a chocolate brown—after the colouring set by a Siamese ancestor first brought into the mountains by the wife of a research engineer. Her eyes were the deep sapphire blue of a true gem, but her claws were cruelly sharp and she was a master hunter.'

2 Into The Midst Of Yesterday (pg. 16)

3 The Dark Hunter (pg. 29)

4 Four Legs Are Better Than Two (pg. 41)

5 The City On The Lake (pg. 53)

6 Mantrap (pg. 66)

7 Death Plays Hide and Seek (pg. 79)

8 Where Once Men Flew— (pg. 93)

9 Into the Blow-Up Land (pg. 107)

10 Captured! (pg. 120)

11 Drums Speak Loudly (pg. 133)

12 Where Sweep the Tides of War (pg. 145)

13 Ring of Fire (pg. 158)

14 Arrow's Flight (pg. 171)

15 Bait (pg. 183)

16 The Hunted and the Hunters (pg. 196)

17 The Last War (pg. 208)

18 A New Star Shines (pg. 220)

Time/Place:
Earth 2250 A.D. After a nuclear war (aka "The Last Battle", "The Great Blow-Up") between 200 and 300 years ago (circa 2025?) This must take place after The Stars are Ours!, as a consequence of the Pax dictatorship dissolving. No Night Without Stars takes place around the same time as this story, possibly sometime before.

Characters:
Fors (of the Puma Clan)- silver haired mutant with enhanced senses including night vision.
Langdon- Fors father & a Star Man master instructor. Dies before the beginning of the book.
Jarl- a Star Captain.
Arskane- an African-American man descended from a group of airplane pilots that landed in (possibly) Arizona during the Big Blow-Up. Volcanoes have erupted on the west coast and the ocean has flooded inland forcing them to seek new land in the east.
Lura- Fors hunting cat companion. Siamese mutant stock.
Kanda- hunting cat, mother of Lura.

Fauna/Flora:
Beast Things- mutated rats. Hinted to be a genetic experiment during the war.
intelligent lizards- They create terraces and harvest special grasses as well as use poisoned pellets with thorns as defence.

Places:
The Eyrie- "…had records to prove that their forefathers… small band of technicians & scientists."
Glentown- an abandoned town (First National Bank building relatively intact but overgrown). There is a town called Glenview in the state of Illinois but that is east of the Great Plains where much of this is set.

Terms/Tech:
Star Men/Man- Scouts for the Puma Clan, descended from scientists who performed first successful space flight (see The Stars Are Ours!)
Star Captain-
Hydro farm-
the Law- to enter the Star Hall one must make a long bow, short stabbing sword, hunting knife, and bond with a hunting cat.
the Council-
Plainswoman- a woman of the Plains people

Events mentioned:
"Men were playing with the very stuff of life before the Blow-Up" Genetic engineering
Dogs have died out in this region from radiation poisoning while cats mutated.

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