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Three planets in deep space were named by their humandiscoverers to reflect their environments: lush andforeboding Jungle, which swallowed up an exploratoryteam; Stone, phenomenally rich in rare ore; and Moss,the most enigmatic -- and dangerous -- of the trio.
Joining her half-brother Paul, the famed linguist, on a two-person scientific expedition, Jewel Delis has come to Moss to observe the phenomenon of dancing light and to help decipher the strange musical "language" that accompanies it. But there are other mysteries alive on this exotic world covered in ever-shifting vegetation -- and something more than illuminations has enticed her away from a disastrously overpopulated homeworld to seek answers at the universe's unexplored edge. For Jewel herself is a question mark with a radical agenda that will put her at perilous odds with her planet's ruling powers -- and with the inscrutable alien races she encounters -- as she risks all for justice for the endangered beasts of the Earth.
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Sheri S. Tepper is the author of more than thirty resoundingly acclaimed novels, including The Waters Rising, The Margarets, The Companions, The Visitor, The Fresco, Singer from the Sea, Six Moon Dance, The Family Tree, Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Shadow's End, A Plague of Angels, Sideshow, and Beauty; numerous novellas; stories; poems; and essays. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.From Publishers Weekly:
Fans will hail Hugo nominee Tepper's latest (after 2002's The Visitor), with its compelling story of an ordinary woman flung into extraordinary circumstances, but interesting ideas left undeveloped, awkward transitions from first to third person and unfair withholding of information may annoy others. Earth, incredibly overcrowded, has passed a new law prohibiting nonhuman life on the planet. Jewel Delis, dog keeper and member of an underground animal-rights group, wrangles her way to the planet Moss with several dogs, ostensibly to help her unpleasant half brother Paul, a linguist, figure out the peculiar language of the planet's varied inhabitants. Jewel finds Moss every bit as odd as advertised, with strange and dangerous plants, fantastic dances performed by creatures that may or may not be intelligent, and a group of humans descended from the crew of a spaceship that crash-landed years earlier. But figuring out how the Mossen communicate is only the beginning, as Jewel and her dogs get sucked into a portal, where Moss, Mars, the dogs, a missing alien race and Jewel's ex-husband collide. As usual in this author's novels, overt themes of ecology and feminism combine with thrilling mystery, and just as typically, a deus ex machina-here aliens stepping in to save the day-makes for a less than emotionally satisfying ending. Still, Tepper talks about important issues, besides excelling at world-building and at creating strong and independent characters.
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