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Farseed by Pamela Sargent – Review – Douglas R. Cobb
Could Pamela Sargent’s SF Seed trilogy, comprised of Earthseed, Farseed, and Seed Seeker become the next Hunger Games? There is that possibility, as Pamela’s science fiction novels of human beings who have been “seeded” on a planet the call Home and face the difficulties of colonizing it and surviving have attracted the attention of Hollywood. The first novel in the series, Earthseed, has been optioned by Paramount Pictures and it’s set to be adapted for the screen by Melissa Rosenberg, who also adapted the Twilight films. It will be produced through Rosenberg’s company, Tall Girl Productions. The second book, Farseed, is now in paperback, and what follows is my review of this page-turning and captivating sequel.
Farseed takes place more or less where Earthseed left off. A spaceship called, simply, Ship, has seeded humans who grew up aboard it on the aforementioned planet, Home. Also seeded there are some Earth animals, like horses, wolves, dogs, lions, etc.. Ship has promised it will return some day to check up on the humans it’s seeded there, but when that day will come, if ever, is up to several potentially changing circumstances.
The humans on the planet have some amenities and modern weapons, but they are, for the most part, left to fend for themselves and to adjust and hopefully to thrive on their new planet Home.
But, there’s controversy and challenges that face the seeded humans from the very start. The humans have very different opinions about how they should proceed. One group, led by a man called Ho, feels that they should try to be more adventurous and explore their planet more, and live off of the resources of the land as much as possible. The other group, who are more cautious, and who are led by a woman named Zoheret, believes it would be better if they should just stay where they were originally deposited at least for a while, and establish a growing community, before their descendents might later spread out and occupy the rest of the planet.
Ho’s group splits off in Earthseed, and he and his family and group of followers become ever more suspicious of Zoheret’s group. They have traded with Zoheret’s group in the past for essential things, but Ho has grown increasingly suspicious of the other group of humans, and he feels that they were responsible for spreading a disease which killed some of his followers.
Ho and his family and followers, in Earthseed, had lived in caves by the sea. They are not faring nearly as well as the group they left behind, who still live in enclosed domes, though some travel on horseback and are somewhat more adventurous. A major storm that caused huge waves and flooding drove Ho and his followers from the caves, and forced them to move further inland.
In Farseed, Zoheret’s group has sent off a small band of their people on horseback with supplies to trade and/or give to Ho and his people. They still want to maintain contact with the group who split off from them, and, despite what Ho feels about them, they only have the best intentions at heart.
Nuy, Ho’s daughter, is dressed in animal skins by this time. She’s a great hunter, but she has to be, as she and her group have had to develop primitive methods like using spears to hunt their prey with. She is malnourished, though, and wants to make contact with the band that has come out and to go back with them, and maybe even take a couple of her friends with her.
Ho doesn’t like it when his daughter is seen approaching their settlement with a stranger from Zoheret’s group. He becomes enraged,and claims that Nuy has potentially brought sickness back to their group, that she has gone against his wishes, and is endangering her group. He uses his energy-based weapon on the man who comes with Nuy, and even on his own daughter, rendering them unconscious. When Nuy regains consciousness, she finds that the man who has traveled with her has been killed. Ho exiles her, which is pretty much the same as a sentence of death.
Nuy is resilient, and decides to try to find the other people who had journeyed with the man who got killed. If she locates them, she will return with them to their group and live with them, though one day she might try to contact her father again.
That is hopefully enough information about the book to give you an idea what it’s about. The main conflicts from the first novel continue, and even intensify. The author has included plenty of action and adventure, and Sargent’s world-building skills shine in this sequel to Earthseed. Farseed can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone, though I would recommend first reading Earthseed, so you will have background information about Ship, the planet, Home, and the relatively large cast of characters in the series. Farseed is a fantastic addition to the Seed series. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing the conclusion to the trilogy, Seed Seeker, whenever it becomes available in stores. Check this series and Farseed out today!