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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 space colonies. Alex Alexander, ship's biologist, must help solve the mysteries of human and alien ecosystems that he encounters light-years from home. The planet Floria initially appears to be one of the few Earth colonies that's actually prospered since its initial settlement. But underneath the surface of the society, the "Planners" keep a strict, repressive rule over the Florians, while the police are apparently attempting to assert their own authority. But is either group actually what they seem?
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.