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The Natives   By: (1925-)

The Natives by Katherine MacLean

The Natives by Katherine MacLean is a captivating and thought-provoking science fiction novel that explores themes of cultural identity, human nature, and the power of communication. Set in a future where humans have successfully colonized other planets, the story centers around a group of researchers studying a newly discovered species known as the "Natives."

MacLean's prose is beautifully descriptive, immersing readers into the lush and alien landscapes of the planets the Natives inhabit. Through her vivid descriptions, she effortlessly transports readers to these foreign worlds, allowing us to experience the awe and wonder the researchers feel as they encounter the Natives for the first time.

One of the novel's strengths lies in its exploration of cultural identity. As the researchers interact with the Natives, they begin to question their own understanding of what it means to be human. Through the Natives' unique ability to communicate telepathically, MacLean delves into the complexities of language and how it shapes our perception of the world. This theme is further highlighted by the cultural barriers faced by the researchers, as they struggle to overcome their preconceived notions and biases.

MacLean's characterization is also a standout aspect of the book. Each researcher is distinct and well-developed, with their own motivations and flaws. As they navigate their interactions with the Natives, they undergo personal growth and transformation, adding depth to the narrative. The author's nuanced portrayal of the Natives themselves is equally impressive, making them feel both alien and relatable.

Furthermore, The Natives raises important questions about humanity's relationship with the natural world and the consequences of unchecked colonization. It prompts readers to reflect on the impact of our actions on other species and the responsibilities that come with exploration and discovery.

While the story moves at a deliberate pace, it is never dull. MacLean maintains a sense of suspense throughout, keeping readers engaged and eager to unravel the mysteries surrounding the Natives. The intricate plot unfolds methodically, revealing unexpected twists and turning points that add to the overall depth of the narrative.

In conclusion, The Natives is a remarkable science fiction novel that deftly explores themes of cultural identity, communication, and the impact of colonization. Katherine MacLean's strong storytelling skills and vivid descriptions make for an immersive reading experience. This thought-provoking book is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers who enjoy literary sci-fi and are open to contemplating the complexities of human nature.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced Science Fiction Stories 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Sometimes worlds can meet without the inhabitants of either realizing....

The Natives


The old one said, "Stick close by me, child."

"What'll it be like, Grandpa?" The youngster was frightened.

"Dark, very dark, and big. It moves fast, but we'll keep up with it." The tone was consciously reassuring.

"Dark, Grandpa?"

"Yes, it sucks heat and absorbs light. You'll find out when you're old and strong enough to swim down to the bottom and see what's there. Now stay with me when we follow it, and don't get lost in the crowd; and don't get ahead of me or get too close to it you might take in too much, and get overcharged."

"What's 'overcharged,' Grandpa? Can you really get too much?" The youngster jigged up and down a little with excitement and anticipation.

For a moment, the oldster turned his attention from watching for the thing that was coming, and considered him fondly. "Poor youngling. I forget. You've had no chance to learn what it means to get enough... Continue reading book >>

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