Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Zero Stone by Andre Norton

The Zero Stone Genre: Science Fiction
Year Published: 1968
Pages: 238
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I was in third grade my teacher told us to read a science fiction book and write a book report on it. I came home and asked my father what he thought I should read, and he gave me Andre Norton's The Zero Stone. So the last time I read this book was in 1981, when I was eight. (I don't know if I faked it or not, but I did get an A on the book report). All I could recall of this book from that time was a vision of someone floating in space in a space suit with a monkey-like creature as an accomplice, and Billy Squier's "In the Dark" playing in the background.

Turns out, the person WAS floating in a space suit in space, the creature was more cat-like than monkey-like, and Billy Squier wasn't even invented when this book was written, although that single probably came out right about the time I first read it, leading me to believe that I listened to the radio as I read when I was a kid.

The story is about Murdoc Jern, the son of a jeweler, who ends up space traveling with an associate of his father's. He carries with him a ring with a mysterious stone, which was obtained under mysterious circumstances and which his father always wanted to understand. After his partner is killed, Jern escapes by making a deal with a spaceship captain. But on the way he is forced to eject from the ship (in a space suit--Aha!) with an odd companion--the offspring of the ship's cat after it ate some weird stones on a planet they visited. No ordinary kitten, Eet is intelligent and psychic and helps Jern manuever to an abandoned ship--although the mysterious ring helps too.

The novel ended abruptly, leaving far more questions than answers, so I queried my father and discovered there is a sequel--Uncharted Stars, which I plan on reading this year. I was also stunned to find out that Andre Norton was a woman, publishing sci-fi novels from the 1930's until just before her death in 2005.

Challenges: Naming Conventions, Read it Again, Well Rounded
Book-a-Week # 62
Date Read: (1981 first reading) 12/6/2008

1 comment:

Nebula said...

Hi, I'm a big Andre Norton fan and those two books The Zero Stone and Uncharted Stars are a couple of my favorites. I think Eet is the best alien in fiction! (I found your blog via an Andre Norton forum where they provided the link.)