Star Born was written in 1957 and is the second novel of the Astra series. As such, you might expect it to be extremely dated. That’s the good thing about Andre Norton. Her focus is on the characters not on technology. Not that it would have mattered in the end, not really. I found Star Born among my books and discovered that I hadn’t read it. Shocker, but a pleasant surprise.
Our two main protagonists in Star Born are Raf Kurbi from Terra and Dalgard Nordis from Homeport. Like so many of Norton’s characters a rite of passage is what starts off the book.
Dalgard is the descendant of Terran escapees. Many generations ago they came to the planet Astra. There they found a race of people who communicated through telepathy. Telepathic communication is another of Norton’s favorites. These two groups learn to live next to each other in peace and with time the Terran stock evolve their telepathic abilities to the extent that they can communicate with the telepathic creatures on Astra. Dalgard is traveling with Sssuri, a member of the Merfolk, and his knife-brother. Together they are on a journey of exploration – rite of passage.
One of the deserted bases of “Those Others” is the goal of the two travellers. “Those Others” are the ancient enemies of the Merfolk and other creatures on Astra. In olden times the Merfolk were enslaved by “Those Others” but through rebellion they managed to hit the Others hard.
Star Born switches between Dalgard’s story and Raf’s. Raf has come from Terra along with a crew. Four of them set out to investigate some ruins that they had seen during landing. It turns out that they meet up with the Others. Raf is uncomfortable about this meeting. For some reason his guard is up. When they go with the Others to explore one of the ruins, they come upon Dalgard. Now the stories blend together and we get to see what happens when two young men hold the fate a world in their hands.
The newcomers from Terra display all of the classic symptoms displayed in meeting with aliens. Meeting as described in science fiction anyways as I do not know of any real life meetings with aliens. Fear, prejudice, and violence go together it seems in such situations.
Young adults are probably Norton’s target group. Most of her books are written for them. That is clearly reflected in the language. There is no swearing, graphic violence or sex scenes. Quite refreshing in a sense. While Star Born isn’t one of my favorite Norton books, it was an easy read.
“NOTE: This title has entered the “Public Domain” and is therefore open to any publisher that wants to print it. Many “Print on Demand” publishers have started to release this title. This site has chosen to ignore these published versions and only concentrate on estate sanctioned materials.”
The Project Gutenberg has a complete version of Star Born for free – for those who are interested.
Star Born has been translated to:
- German: Flammen über Astra
- Russian: Звездная стража [Star Guard]
- Russian (in combination with The Stars Are Ours!) Астра [Astra]
- A comprehensive review and analysis of Star Born can be found at Worlds Without End.