The Silver Ship and the Sea
by Brenda Cooper
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0765315971
Date: 20 March 2007 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
When 300 gene modified humans came to the planet Freemont to settle, they didn't count on opposition from the 1500 stubbornly pure stock humans that had come there a century before just to escape their kind. The war that eventually flared up between "altered" and "true" humans ended when less than half of the altered fled the planet in one of thier starships, leaving six children and one gleaming spaceship in their wake. Now the children are coming of age, and the colony has to decide what to do with these useful "prisoners of war." Some will love them as kin, some still fear them as enemies, but all will come to see that the bonds that connect them to the community are matched by equally strong ones to their own kind. Brenda Cooper's first solo novel is a wonderful addition to the literature of human colonial expansion and survival, but it's also a carefully conceived and executed exploration of humanity v post-humanity and the fear of strangers in your midst. The author manages to convey a wide range of views well, and her take on the line between what we are born to be and what we choose shows a rare degree of insight, coupled with engaging characters and solid storytelling. From release/information:
The colony planet Fremont is joyous, riotous, and very wild. Its grasses can cut your arms and legs to ribbons, the rinds of its precious fruit can skewer your thumbs, and some of the predators are bigger than humans. Meteors fall from the sky and volcanoes erupt. Fremont is verdant, rich, beautiful, and dangerous.
Fremont's single town, Artistos, perches on a cliff below rugged mountains. Below Artistos lie the Grass Plains, which lead down to the sea. And in the middle of the Grass Plains, a single silver spaceship lies quiet and motionless. The seasons do not dull it, nor do the winds scratch it---and the fearful citizens of Aristos won't go near it.
Chelo Lee, her brother Joseph, and four other young children have been abandoned on the colony planet. Unfortunate events have left them orphaned in a human colony that abhors genetic engineering--and these six young people are genetically enhanced.
With no one to turn to, Chelo and the others must now learn how to use their distinct skills to make this unwelcome planet home, or find a way off it. They have few tools--an old crazy woman who wonders the edges of town, spouting out cryptic messages; their appreciation and affection for each other; a good dose of curiosity; and that abandoned silver space ship that sits locked and alone in the middle of the vast grass plain …
(Source: Tor Books)