Daybreak – 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son) by Andre Norton science fiction audiobook reviewsDaybreak – 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son) by Andre Norton science fiction audiobook reviewsDaybreak – 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son) by Andre Norton

It’s 2250 A.D., two hundred years after a nuclear holocaust destroyed most life, knowledge, history, and civilization on Earth. Fors, a young man with a mutation that renders his hair silver and his hearing and sight extra keen, is a descendent of a group of scientists who used to do nuclear research before it all went wrong. Fors desperately wants to become a Star Man like his father who died on a quest ten years ago. But the Star Men shun him because, due to the world’s experience with nuclear energy, they’re afraid of his mutation.

When Fors’ father died, he was searching for a hidden city that, he expected, would contain valuable knowledge and treasures. He had a scrap of a map which Fors had seen, so the young man thinks he might be able to find the city his dad was looking for. So, he sneaks away, hoping to make an important discovery that will secure himself a place with the Star Men. He is accompanied by his friend Lura, a large cat that he can communicate with by telepathy. (It wouldn’t be an Andre Norton story without a telepathic animal companion.)

The trip will be risky. Fors and Lura will have to go out onto the plains, exposing themselves to radiation, mutated plants and animals, and other hostile humans. Along the way, they’ll be able to explore the ruins of a prosperous modern society that Fors’ people no longer understand.

During his travels, Fors befriends the first black man he’s ever seen. The two men realize that for civilization to advance, people will have to work together toward common goals, and this requires overcoming prejudices about people who are different. But they worry that the nuclear war they’ve seen evidence of is proof that such cooperation and harmony is unlikely to occur.

Darkness and Dawn by Andre Norton science fiction audiobook reviewsAt the beginning of the story, Andre Norton, as she always does, makes us feel empathy towards Fors. We hear his thoughts, feel his pain, and want to see his quest succeed. Once the quest begins, there’s a lot of traveling, fighting wild animals, and exploring. It gets tiresome in spots, but the scenery is interesting and mostly pleasant. The story is simplistic, but heartwarming with good messages about the dangers of prejudice, racism, and nuclear war (notably, this novel was originally published in 1952, just a few years after the end of World War II). These messages must have seemed progressive at the time.

I’d especially recommend Daybreak – 2250 A.D., also known as Star Man’s Son, to teenagers. In 2003, Baen books packaged Daybreak – 2250 A.D. with the novel No Night Without Stars in an omnibus edition titled Darkness and Dawn. I’m listening to the audio version of this omnibus, which was published by Tantor audio in 2022. Eva Wilhelm is the narrator and I thought she did a nice job.

Text originally published in 1952. Published, along with the novel No Night Without Stars as an omnibus called Darkness and Dawn in 2003. Darkness and Dawn was published as an audiobook by Tantor Audio in 2022. Two centuries after an atomic war on earth, a silver-haired mutant sets out on a dangerous search for a lost city of the ruined civilization. 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… 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 Men’s store of information and riches. But his quest grew into a far greater test than ever he 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!


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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