Star Man’s Son 2250 A.D. is an enjoyable read, it was originally marketed as a Young Adult novel but the later Ace publication made no mention of this and the book seems to have sold well. Donald A.Wollheim the head of ACE Books at the time notes in his book The Universe Makers, 1971 p.60 “I was thinking the other day of ACE Books’ most unsuspected best seller, a novel I reprinted and whose title I changed to Daybreak, 2250 A.D.. it was written by Andre Norton as a juvenile novel, and it was her first science-fiction book-length work. She called it Star Man’s Son…, It has sold continuously and rapidly for fifteen years, in printing after printing, with steady price rises to meet the rising costs of production, has broken the record for any book ever published by what has become a major paperback publisher and continues to sell with unabated interest. Well over a million copies would be my conservative estimate of its total sale to date. There is nothing in our ACE edition to indicate it is supposed to be a juvenile novel. " Wollheim also discusses how readers of Norton’s novel, as well as other science fiction novels of the time took for granted that an atomic war could happen, and the result could well be a devastated world inhabited by mutated survivors.
But this does not seem to have been an important consideration for Norton when she wrote the novel. Paul Walker interviewed Norton for his book Speaking of Science Fiction and raised this point.
PW “ Of you books, my favourite is Starman’s Son. I wonder if it reflected your own anxieties about the Bomb?”
AN “ No, I was not thinking of the Bomb, except as a means of the plot beginning. What had always fascinated me was trying to imagine my home city of Cleveland as it might be as a deserted ruin. Cleveland, then is the city of that book-only distances in it have been telescoped.”
Star Man’s Son 2250 A.D. is a great introduction to Norton’s work since many of the plot elements will appear again and again in her work. The protagonists are often young orphans or outcasts. Robert D. Lofland conducted a long interview with Norton in her home for his MA Thesis, Andre Norton, A Contemporary Author of Books for Young People, 1960. In speaking about Norton he notes “ she feels the hero must be an orphan in order that his parents cannot interfere with his actions." Norton will often introduce minority characters, examples include Fanyi of No Night Without Stars, Hosteen Storm of Beastmaster, and Travis Fox of Galactic Derelict. In the same thesis Lofland states “ she does feel strongly about racial prejudice and does not feel it should exist.” One of the most obvious threads running through her novels is some level of communication between humans and animals which can be found in many other novels including, Catseye, Beastmaster, Storm over Warlock, Moon of Three Rings, and No Night Without Stars.
So why did I like this novel so much? Fors has a sword, a bow and a giant cat, for a pet crazed kid with hamsters, wow. As enemies the Beast Things are pretty scary and clear cut. Like almost all protagonists in YA literature Fors is unappreciated (weren’t we all at that age ) but wins his place in the world in the end. While Norton states The Bomb did not influence her thinking in this work, but as a child who was taught to crawl under his deck in a Windsor public school in case the big ones launched from Cuba, it certainly influenced my reading and my thinking. Norton books were common in both my school library and the public library across the street and I loved authors with a big back list, knowing there were many more books by them to enjoy had great appeal. Often I would read one book, be it a historical novel, mystery etc and then seek out and read all the other books by that author without embracing the entire genre.
So Star Man's Son was just the beginning, Andre would take me out of my own life, across the galaxy, into our future and our past, with aliens, animals and adventures galore. Thanks Andre!
All articles/books quoted here except the Walker and the Wollheim titles can be found at