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They call them the "rat-catchers." They're the crew of the spaceship Daedalus, which an economically destitute Earth has dispatched on a mission to re-establish contact with its far-flung, long-lost colonies in space. Alex Alexander, the ship's biologist, together with his staff, must help solve the mysteries of human and alien ecosystems that he encounters light-years from home.
Dendra is a stable world, covered by a huge, unchanging forest-except that nothing living can really be free of change. The planet has no seasons, but its animal life still undergoes life-cycles involving birth, maturation, metamorphosis, and death. The Earth colony sent to tame the world has failed, at least in the terms expected of it, and seems beyond redemption; but the crew of the Daedalus still has to find out exactly why and how the program has gone wrong. Provided, of course, that they can survive the investigation itself!
Brian Stableford (1948- )
Brian Stableford is a British science fiction writer who has published more than 70 novels. Born in Shipley, Yorkshire, he graduated with a degree in biology from the University of York In 1969 before going on to do postgraduate research in biology and later psychology. In 1979 he received a Ph.D. with a doctoral thesis on "The Sociology of Science Fiction". His first published story - a collaboration with school friend Craig A. Mackintosh - was "Beyond Time's Aegis" for Science Fantasy in 1965. Much expanded, it was eventually published in book form as Firefly: A Novel of the Far Future (1994). It was with the Grainger/Hooded Swan series that Stableford began to attract serious notice in America.