Star Man's Son 2250 A.D.

~ A Novel by Andre Norton

(aka) Star Mans Son and Daybreak 2250 A.D.


Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old 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 front flap of 1952 dustjacket ~

A vast, hostile wilderness scarred by an atomic war that had destroyed civilization two hundred years before; deserted cities choked with wreckage; misshapen creatures, once human, whom radiation had changed into subhuman Beast Things – this was the strange, little-known world that lay just outside the mountain stronghold of the Puma Clan.
All his life Fors had dreamed of becoming one of the leaders of the Clan – A Star Man – like his father, of exploring the mysterious country, mapping roads and trails and searching the old cities for forgotten knowledge to bring back to the Eyrie. Now he realized he could never be a Star Man because he was a mutant – set apart from the rest of the mountain survivors by his silver hair, his night sight, and too-keen hearing. Nevertheless he determined to continue his dead father’s search for a lost city somewhere to the north, a city free from the poisonous radiation that killed men. With his hunting cat, Lura, his primitive weapons, and his father’s fragmentary map, Fors set off alone into the alien void.
Thus begins an imaginative tale of adventure, by the author of Sword in Sheath and Scarface, in which readers will find, as did Fors, that only when the peoples of the earth forget their suspicions of each other and learn to work together can they build a world once more fit for men. Nicolas Mordvinoff’s drawings realistically depict the frightening but fascinating world of the book.


Write-up from the back of the Fawcett paperback edition ~

The holocaust had ravaged the world 200 years before. Survivors were scattered across the frightening wastelands. Some struggled merely for life… others, like Fors the Star Man’s son, dared the terrifying unknown to recapture the knowledge… the knowledge that could once again destroy them…
“Good adventure… thoughtful… festinating… reading it is like the murderer’s return to scene of the crime.” – Denver Post
“Imaginative and Exciting!” – San Francisco Chronicle


Write-up from the front flap of the 1980 Gregg Press edition ~

Fors is a member of the Puma Clan — mountain-dwellers whose leaders (Star Men) are determined to recover knowledge of the
past. He has dreamed all his life of becoming a Star Man like his father and of exploring the mysterious, hostile wilderness surrounding his mountain home—that vast country where civilization was destroyed by atomic war 200 years before. its wreckage-strewn, deserted cities and its inhabitants—creatures known as Beast Things, misshapen by radiation — hold secrets that Fors longs to reveal. But because he is different -- he has silver hair, night sight, and a highly-developed sense of hearing- Fors can never be a Star Man. However, his fascination for uncovering the secrets of the past leads him, rebelliously, to continue the search started by his father — for a lost city free from the radiation fatal to man. So Fors sets out with his hunting cat, Lura, and an incomplete map left by his father, to explore unknown lands.
This imaginative novel realistically depicts a whole strange world peopled with such diverse and interesting things as the Puma Clan, the Plains People, and the Beast Things. This is an exceptionally brilliant adventure novel, universally praised and respected as one of the field's most important, and the author's best.


Write-up from the back of the Ballantine Del Rey paperback edition ~

Treasure Hunt
Fors, a mutant, was barred from the ranks of the Star Men of the Eyrie – an elite group of explorers dedicated to the recovery of ancient knowledge. Only some wondrous discovery might gain him acceptance. So Fors set out in search of one of the lost cities, where he hoped to find tools, books, and other marvels to increase the Star Man’s store of information and riches.
But his quest grew into a far greater test than he ever imagined.
Hunted by the dreaded Beast Things, he fled through a radioactive wasteland – right into the hands of hostile humans. The Star Men would never see Fors’ treasures, unless he could convince the warring human tribes to unite against a common – and unbelievable – enemy!
“The recurring theme of Star Man’s Son – that, to survive, men must live in peace – is amply buttressed by grim reminders of what happens if they don’t. Exciting fare…” – The Chicago Tribune


Write-up from the back of the UK paperback edition ~

He was fron a scavenger race, surviving on the scrapes of knowledge the Old Ones had left behind.
In his desperate search for the City, Fors had violated the rites of the Star Men. Now he was meat for any man’s axe, a fugitive in a hostile wilderness twisted by the terrors of nuclear war.
All that remained for Fors was his quest. Its price was a game of hide and seek with Death, played out with an evil he had met once before. But how could fors, armed only with the fragmentary maps left by his father, hope to outwit these creatures set to tear apart what remained of mankind?
“The ring of horrid probability gives the story strength” – New Statesman
“A powerful work of the imagination” – Manchester Evening News


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 [1] 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
Read More ...


KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1952
The author of Scarface and Sword In Sheath with another and this time slightly deeper adventure tale- placed in the future and dealing with the plains people, mountain people and Beast Things which inhabited the earth as survivors of the great atomic Blow Up caused by the sins of the "Old Ones". As a youth in the mountain Puma Clan, it is Fors' ambition to be chosen for the group of clan leaders whose job it is also to study the past by visiting the radiation-free bombed cities for information about the Old Ones. Unfortunately the prejudice ridden mountain peoples refuse to accept a boy whose mother was a plains woman. A series of exciting, imaginatively pictured adventures with old ruins, radiation clouds, with the horrible Beast Things who have deviated from human physical characteristics through two hundred years of radiation-permeated heredity, follows Fors' decision to leave his people and precedes a war against the Beast People in which the plains and the mountains find a new unity and Fors gains the recognition of his clan. Good grade science fiction carried by a thought provoking theme. Nicolas Mordvinoff's drawings have a certain power and heaviness that add to the sense of Fors' quest, the urgency of the battle. 


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre

1952 Kirkus Reviews, August 01
1952 in New York Times, August 31
1952 in Springfield Republican
1952 in San Francisco Chronicle, October 12
1952 in Library Journal, October
1952 in Saturday Review, November 15
1952 by The Editors in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, December
1953 by P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding Science Fiction, April
1954 by Groff Conklin in Galaxy Science Fiction, April, reprinted in: (UK) Galaxy Science Fiction #18
1962 by S.E. Cotts in Amazing Stories, June
1966 by Hans Peschke in Der Mann von der Sternenwache 1. Teil
1968 by Gregory F. Pickersgill in Vector #49
1979 by H. flick Jr. in Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, January
1980 by Spider Robinson in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, December
1981 by Roger Schlobin in Science Fiction Studies, July
1985 by John Thiel in Lan's Lantern #16 (fnz), March

See also ~ Daybreak 2250 A.D.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1952) Published by Harcourt Brace, HC, LCCN 52006906, $2.75, 248pg ~ cover and illustration by Nicolas Mordvinoff {Black Paper Boards, Red Cloth Spine}
  • (1953) Published by Staples, HC, £ 9s6p (114p), 253pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by R. Dulford, illustration by Nicolas Mordvinoff {Green Clth Boards}
  • (1968) (With 2250 AD - omitted from the title) ~ Published by Gollancz, HC, 0-575-00054-6, LCCN 68134821, £ 18s (216p), 248pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Alan Breese ~ illustrated by Nicolas Mordvinoff
  • (1980) (With 2250 AD - omitted from the title) ~ Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-23614-5, $1.75, 224pg ~ cover by Ken Barr
  • (1980) Published by “The First Edition Library” of Shelton, CT, HC, Boxed Edition ~ cover and illustrated by Nicolas Mordvinoff
  • (1980) Published by Gregg Press, HC, 0-839-82636-2, LCCN 79026128 $9.95, 253pg ~ Gregg Press Science Fiction Series of Andre Norton ~ Dust Jacket by Fred Knecht Jr, Frontmatter by Barbara Anderson {Binding: 5.625 x 8.25 - Black Cloth Boards (Publisher states the color is Dark Green) & Spine with Silver Lettering, Blue End Papers}
  • (1985) (With 2250 AD - omitted from the title) ~ Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-32588-5, $2.95, 224pg ~ cover Laurence Schwinger
  • (1987) (With 2250 AD - omitted from the title) ~ Published by Gollancz, PB, 0-575-04124-2, £2.50, 220pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by unknown
  • Darkness and Dawn (2003), Published by BAEN, TP, 0-743-43595-8, LCCN 2002038393, $15.00, 310pg ~ cover by Bob Eggleton ~ Omnibus containing Star Man’s Son 2250 AD (1952) & No Night Without Stars (1975)

Non English Editions ~

  • (1990) Published in Debrecen, Hungary; by Phoenix, 963-02-8170-8, 203pg ~ translation by István Nemes ~ cover by Tibor Szendrei ~ Hungarian title A csillagember fia
  • (1986) Published in Warsaw, Poland; by a book club, no ISBN, 252pg ~ translation by Grzegorz Woźniak ~ Polish title Świt 2250 [Dawn 2250] ~ Limited to 100 copies
  • (1990) Published in Lublin, Poland; by Versus, 83-851-5008-0, 171pg ~ translation by Grzegorz Wożniak ~ cover by Andrzej Janicki ~ Polish title Świt 2250 [Dawn 2250]
  • (1992) Combined with "Quest Crosstime" ~ Published in Moscow, 5-855-41003-X, HC 318pg ~ Russian title Сын Звёздного человека. Поиск на перекрёстке времени.
  • (1993) Combined with "The Last Planet", "Star Guard", "Treasure on Thunder" by Edmond Hamilton and "Brother Berserker" by Fred Saberhagen ~ Published in Tallinn, by Melora, 5-797-90480-2, HC, 512pg ~ cover by M. Shevdova ~ Russian title Планета приключений. [Planet of Adventure]
  • (1996) Combined with "Brother To Shadows" translation by O. Kutuminov ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press, 5-859-49077-1, HC, 484pg ~ "Star Man's Son" translation by AD Savel'ev and J. Saveliev ~ Russian title Брат теней [Brother To Shadows]
  • (2002) Combined with "Dark Piper", "The Sioux Spaceman" and "Long Live Lord Kor!" all translation by Oleg Kolesnikova ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-01308-3, HC, 480pg ~ "Star Man's Son" translation by Victor Fedorov ~ cover by ?, illustrations by A. Lurie ~ Russian title Сын звездного человека [Star Man's Son]
  • (2005) Combined with "The Sioux Spaceman" translation by Oleg Kolesnikova ~ Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-699-09429-6, PB, 384pg ~ "Star Man's Son" translation by Victor Fedorov ~ cover by C. Kurbatov ~ Russian title Сын Сын Звёздного Человека [Star Man's Son]


View the Original contract

View the 1978 ACE contract

View the 1980 Copyright renewal app.

View the 1989 Hungarian contract


Interior Illustrations;


See Also: Star Man's Saga ~ a continuation of this story by Ralph F. Couey