Masks of the Outcasts

~ An Omnibus for the Dipple Series by Andre Norton


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Contains ~

  • Catseye (1961) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 61011750, $3.25, 192pg ~ cover Richard Powers
  • Night of Masks (1964) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 64016266, $3.25, 191pg ~ cover by Richard Powers

 

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Synopsis ~

From an old amazon.com posting ~

The planet Korwar was a glittering jewel of a world, inhabited by the galaxy's wealthiest, visited by the upper classes of other worlds in search of diversion. The jewel had a flaw: the Dipple, its name coming from a contraction of "displaced person," where the misfits, the hopeless, the penniless eke out a wretched existence on the dole. Two young men hoped to escape from the Dipple: Troy Horan was deported from his own planet after it lost an interstellar war. When he had a chance to work in an unusual pet shop, offering exotic creatures from other worlds to the wealthy, he though his luck had changed. But the owner was playing a dangerous game of intrigue, and when he was murdered Troy barely escaped with his own life. Aided only by telepathic animals from old Terra who had befriended him, he had no choice but to hide in ruins left behind by the now-vanished original inhabitants of Korwar; ruins which explorers had entered without returning. . . . Nik Kolherne had a face so cruelly scared and disfigured that he wore a mask to cover it. When he was recruited with a promise of being given a new face, a face which would make a young heir think he was someone else, he was uneasy, but accepted the offer. Then he found out that he was party to a kidnapping for more sinister purposes than he had been told, and he was the only hope of the young heir's survival-if the two of them could survive on a planet veiled in eternal night, swarming with dangerous predators.

 

Write-up from the front flap of 2006 HC ~

Two shunned outcasts... Two planets of danger...
The planet Korwar was a glittering jewel of a world, home to the galaxy's wealthiest, but the jewel had a flaw: the huge slum called the Dipple, where the misfits, the penniless, the hopeless eked out a wretched existence - a fate which two young men hope to escape.
Troy Horan leaped at the chance to work in an unusual pet shop in an upscale neighborhood, offering exotic creatures from other worlds to the wealthy. He thought his luck had changed. But the shop owner was playing a dangerous game of intrigue, and when his employer was murdered Troy had no choice but to hide in the mysterious ruins left by a vanished alien race; ruins which trained explorers had entered, never to return....
Nik Kolherne had a face so hideously scarred that he wore a mask to cover it. Then he was recruited by a mysterious figure who offered Nik a new face - if, in return Nik would make a young heir think he was someone else. He accepted the offer reluctantly, but soon realized that he was now an essential element in a kidnapping plot. Now he was the only hope of the young heir's survival - if they could survive on a planet veiled in eternal night ands swarming with deadly predators... 

 

Write-up from a fan ~

Catseye ~ Interplanetary war years ago has created thousands of Displaced Persons evacuated from their home planets.  Many such people now live in the Dipple on the pleasure planet Korwar.  Troy Horan is one of those people, displaced from his original home on Norden, where his father had been Range Master and Brand Owner, i.e. he'd had a small ranch. With his parents dead, Troy survives by taking day labor, when he can find it.  One such job takes him to Kyger's, a pet shop catering to the elite of other worlds who come to Korwar to enjoy the beauty of an unspoiled planet.  While there, he makes telepathic contact with a group of Earth animals (2 cats, 2 foxes and a kinkajou) that Kyger had imported, supposedly as pets for the rulers of other worlds who spend most of their time on Korwar.  Actually, they are his tools in a spy ring gathering intelligence to bring Earth back to prominence among the many planets.  Kyger gets killed in a separate "knife feud", and his assistant tries to kill the animals, foiled in this by Troy, who escapes to the Wild accompanied by the animals. ~ SL

Night of Masks ~ A young man, with a badly scarred face from the space "accident" (act of war?) that destroyed his ship and his family, is living in the Dipple on Korwar, when he is offered the chance for a new face in return for aiding the Thieves' Guild to kidnap a small boy who is the son of an important political leader facing an uprising on his home planet.  The two boys are taken to the planet of Dis, circling an infrared sun, before Nik realizes the true motives for the kidnapping.  He then escapes from the Thieves' Guild taking the small boy with him, and minimal supplies, including only one of the "night sight" goggles necessary on this dimly-lit planet.  Nik has to abandon most of the food supplies to save Vandy from an avalanche--not knowing that Vandy has been so conditioned that he cannot eat anything besides those emergency supplies.  The Thieves' Guild has a falling-out and the Veep who recruited him has to take to the planetary surface also, where he finds Nik and Vandy, with the intention of betraying Nik to the Space Patrol (which has followed him and raided Thieves' Guild hideout) and using Vandy as a hostage for his freedom. Eventually, Nik manages to wipe out the criminals--with some help from the boy's father's military and the Space Patrol. ~ SL

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2004) Published by BAEN, DM, 1-416-50901-1, $6.99, 352pg ~ cover by Bob Eggleton
  • (2005) Published by BAEN, HC, 1-416-50901-1, $24.00, 352pg ~ cover by Bob Eggleton {Black Paper Boards}
  • (2006) Published by SFBC, HC, # 1198672, $11.99, 343pg ~ cover by Bob Eggleton {Black Paper Boards, # 1198672 on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (2007) Published by BAEN, PB, 1-416-52138-0, $7.99, 464pg ~ cover by Bob Eggleton

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