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Stinger Stars Kindle Edition
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Maria de la Cruz from a strict Spanish background works as a doctoral student for M-Gen in south Texas. She is sure that watching and recording starfish and lizards will help to create regeneration cures someday, but she is horrified when Doug, the sullen son of the company owner, starts mutilating the little creatures to observe the regeneration of limbs. She's not going to work in that kind of lab. Alex, a qualified researcher, likes Maria but she keeps carefully apart, surrounded by white male PhDs. Alex blames the cut starfish on Doug, now in Peru.
Peru is well described; hot, steamy, sticky, slimy, thorny, full of the flatworms Doug despises but needs to collect. Maybe he'll even discover a new species of flatworm. Hold on, there's an attractive woman in the bar, far more deserving of his attention.
Actually, what Doug sends back includes a flatworm being preyed upon by a tiny creature with triangular sides, not an insect or worm but something amphibious and minute. Maria and Alex are the ones who identify it as something new to science. A little genetic manipulation later they have a tank full of the 'stars' which are bigger, just large enough to observe properly and maybe even intelligent to a degree. Maria, with the woman's better ability to distinguish colour shades, realises that she can tell some apart and they are not just camouflaging but communicating. Can the creatures help with the regeneration treatments? Are they in jeopardy if Doug decides to start cutting limbs off them? And is anyone else in jeopardy if the stars retaliate?
This story engages attention fast and we easily feel sympathy for the main characters. Maria has a slight disability which could be helped by M-Gen's research but her thoughts are more for her elderly grandmother who has given her a home and a measure of independence. Alex and even Doug have reasons for their attitudes and misbehaviour. I couldn't make my mind up about the sneaky but conflicted person who tries some valuable industrial espionage. While the topic is potentially vast the story remains at the personal scale, keeping our interest and showing how much is at stake.
I love the demonstration of the mindset and communication of the stars. We know octopi are intelligent and change colours fast, so that's my best guess for aspects of the new tetrahedral creature. The rainforest does contain many more species than have yet been observed - as does deep ocean - so goodness knows what we might find.
Mature young adults and adults who enjoy well-grounded speculative fiction should enjoy Stinger Stars, especially anyone interested in biology or corporate espionage.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
What do we do if we make another intelligent species?
If they are not naturally occurring, should we set them free?
Can we continue to experiment on them even after we discover even rudimentary intelligence? And what defines intelligence anyway?
What if we can improve the lives of human by torturing clones? Can we? Should we? Who would know if we did it anyway?
Okay. Okay. Okay. That is a lot of questions and hard ones, but does it change the answer if a billion dollars is involved? These questions and more still rumble through my brain long after finishing this novel. That is the sign of a good scifi book. It is well written, evenly paced with believable characters in a real life setting. This is definitely worth the read.
Alan Black Chewing Rocks
It was a wonderful, interesting and very enjoyable read, and I think I have to read it again, one day. Loved it
Paul Bussard is such good story teller. Thank you.