Daybreak 2250 A.D.
~ A Novel by Andre Norton
(aka) Star Man's Son 2250 AD & Star Man's Son
Click on image for slideshow
of cover-art for
Daybreak 2250 A.D.
Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~
Takes place after the Great Blowup. Many areas are still radioactive. Mutated plants and animals abound. This is the story of Fors of the Puma clan, of the people of the Smoking Mountains. Fors'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 Fors'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, Fors 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.
Write-up from the back of paperback edition ~
Fors was a mutant. He did not know what drove him to explore the empty lands to the north, where the great skeleton ruins of the old civilization rusted away in the wreckage of mankind's hopes. But he could not resist the urging that led him through danger and adventure, to the place where he faced the menace of the Star Men.
Write-ups from fans ~
This is an action-filled page turner. It is one of the first and best and most believable post-apocalypse novels I have ever read. In a world nuked back to pockets of primitive civilization, the Star Men of the mountain folk brave the peril of a radioactive landscape to raid abandoned cities for any items that may help them survive. Fors, son of a deceased Star Man, wants to follow in his father's footsteps. Like many of Andre's protagonists, he is young and underappreciated a social outcast because he is a mutant. With an equally mutated large cat, he leaves upon a journey of discovery to help the tribe and gain the respect and acceptance of his tribe. This fast-paced adventure includes unspeakable dangers, life and death struggles with deadly foes and finding unexpected allies in the desperate struggle for survival. ~ PG
The Star Men have over-looked Fors of the Puma Clan for the sixth time to join their society of Elders. It is Fors’s life-long dream to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Star Man and continue the search for a lost city. The search ended when Fors’s father died. His clan disregards Fors because he is a mutant half-breed: his mother was a Plainswoman, his hair is silvery white, his hearing is boo keen, and he has night vision. Fors and his only trusted feline companion, Lura, steal his father's Star pouch with the notes and map to the lost city that is free of the radiation contamination that destroyed much of the land centuries before by atomic bombs.
They leave the Eyrie in the mountains and begin their quest for the treasures that wait in this city. Fors believes that he will be able to prove himself worthy of the Star Men, if he can bring back some things that his people need. Along the way, Fors and Lura barely miss ]arl, Star Captain, and sure capture for stealing his father’ s Star pouch. They travel through the wild land and Fors captures a wild mare that once belonged to a Plainsman.
In a few days, they reach the city that Fors’s father Wrote about. He gathers samples of old paper and pencils and other things that are valued in the Eyrie. They explore the city and find an injured man trapped in a pit—Arskane, a warrior of a tribe looking for a place to settle. Fors pulls him out, and they stay with him for several days while he recovers. When they leave the museum in which they sheltered, Beast Things (flesh-eating, rat-like monsters that evolved from the radiation) attack them. Fors loses his father’s pouch that holds the new maps and notes he made. They manage to escape the Beast Things and use an old truck to escape the city. Arskane and Fors join together with their beliefs that all tribes should join together to rebuild the land to be better than the ways of the Old Ones who destroyed it.
The Beast Things follow them, and their only escape is into the Blow-Up Lands—the lands that were destroyed by the atomic bombs and are still contaminated with radiation. However, the Things follow and capture Fors and Lura as he tried to recover the pouch. The Lizards kill the Beast Things, and then Fors watch them destroy everything in his pouch except some figures from the museum. Arskane gives the Lizards a fourth statue and rescues Fors and Lura.
Arskane hears the signal drums of his people that calls all warriors back because of war. They continue on their way and find the body of one of Arskane’s comrades—killed by a Plainsman whose spear markings Fors does not recognize. Later they fight these men, but the Plainsmen capture Fors and Arskane. Fors wins their freedom with his knowledge of the Plains customs. They stay with the law man, Marphy, of the tribe who begins to respect them as they tell him all they know about the land and the history of different parts.
They leave the Plainspeople when a ring of fire threatens the camp. Later they find the remains of a battle between Beast Things and a small Plains clan helped by the distinctive arrows of a Star Man. Jarl finds them and Fors tells the story of the warring Plainspeople. Lura rejoins Fors and they all meet with Arskane's people. Arskane calls Fors his brother and the chief woman makes Fors an honorary member of the tribe. The Chief alerts them of the two threats-Things and the Plainspeople. Jarl suggests to Fors to leave the camp and lead the Beast Things away from the rest. The idea is to defeat the Things before the humans defeat themselves.
Fors and Lura find the right time to get away and watches a Thing with its trained rat. They get snared in a trap, but he looses Lura to find Jarl.
The leader of the Beast Things is a mutant. He also captures a Plainsman and interrogates him by torturing him with a rat. later, the Things use the men as shields when the different clans of humans attack. Somehow Fors gets away and Lura leads him home through the sounds of a battle.
The leaders of the three tribes join together. The leader of the warring Plainspeople died in the battle so Marphy speaks for them. Fors confronts them when they argue about land, and they all agree to peace. Marphy and Arskane both invite Fors to join their tribes. Fors decides to go back to the Eyrie to face judgment. There, he gives Lura her freedom—knowing she will someday return to him. His judgment is clan acceptance and acknowledgment of the road ahead—Fors task will be the neutral messenger to the other tribes while he wears a different star around his neck—the star that pointed in all directions as a compass to show the new ways that they will all follow. ~ DB
Originally published as Starman’s Son, 2250 A.D., Norton’s first science fiction novel has been also titled Daybreak — 2250 A.D. (the version I have) and Starman’s Son. Ace seems to have preferred the Daybreak variant and I think it is because they were worried readers might be misled by the title. This is not a world where young men  find their destinies between the stars. It is one where they struggle to find a better way of life on the radioactive ruins of Earth.
Life two centuries after atomic war is hard enough, but orphaned Fors of the Puma…. ~ JN
Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre
1962 by P. Schuyler Miller in Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction, May
1962 by S. E. Cotts in Amazing Stories, June
See also ~ Star Man's Son 2250 AD
Bibliography of English Editions ~
- (1954) ACE Double Book containing Daybreak 2250 AD and Beyond Earth’s Gates by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as Lewis Padgett] Published by ACE, PB, # D-69, $0.35, 138+182pg ~ cover artist for Beyond Earth Gate - Harry Barton, for Daybreak 2250 AD - unknown
Synopsis for Beyond Earth’s Gates ~
Under Eddie Burton's management, the ambitious starlet Lorna Maxwell seemed headed for the top of Broadway's glamorous world of make-believe. And then she vanished-through a wall where there was no door. Eddie found himself plunging after her into a city beyond reality. In that weird twin city to New York, Eddie became a hunted fugitive while his girl friend turned up as an ever-present face and all-pervading voice that awed and mystified the inhabitants. And Eddie learned that between him and a return to his natural home stood her new manager, a mysterious figure who ruled by a tyrannical combination of super-scientific miracles and brute force.
- (1961) Published by ACE, PB, # D-534, $0.35, 182pg ~ cover by unknown (Complete and Unabridged) 2nd printing, 3rd printing 1963 # F-323 $0.40, 4th printing 1968 # G-717 $0.50, 5th printing 1968 # 13991 $0.60, # 13992 $0.75, #13994 2 printings - one has title in yellow & red and a spine in black using a different type face (the other printing has the title in white & red with spine in red). The one with yellow & red text can be found with or with-out Ace logo on the cover, 1977 # 13989 $1.50
Note: Many people, including the editors of this website believe that the cover-artist for the ACE paperbacks is Ed Emschwiller, for the style matches many other covers done by him. However we can find no documentation for this statement.
Non-English Editions ~
- (1965) Published in Munich, Germany; in Moewig, OCLC: 73597963, Terra TB105, 158pg ~ translation by Gisela Stegel ~ German title Das grosse Abenteuer des Mutanten
- (1990) Published in Lublin, Poland; by Versus, 83-851-5008-0, 171pg ~ translation by Grzegorz Wożniak ~ Polish title Świt 2250
- (1992) Combined with "Star Guard", "The Last Planet", "Secret of the Lost Race" and "Star Hunter" ~ Published in Ishin, by EYA, HC, 544pg ~ cover by O. Polishchuk ~ Russian title Рассвет в 2250 году [Daybreak 2250 AD]
View the 1978 Ace Contract ~ as Star Mans Son
View the 1990 German contract ~ no publishing data at this time