The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

For forty years, traders from the planet Valedon have colonized the ocean planet Shora. The story concerns the increasing threat to the inhabitants of Shora and to the balance of life on their ocean home as the effects of colonization escalate and as they face the military invasion of their planet by the occupying forces of Valedon. The population of Shora—all females, who call themselves Sharers—resists the traders and soldiers by peaceful, nonviolent means. They also resist by trying to understand the Valans and by attempting to heal them both physically and spiritually. Although their advanced skills in life sciences might enable them to devise means of destroying the invaders, Sharers resist the temptation to destroy those who would destroy them. Influenced by their wordweaver, Merwen, they maintain the possibility that the Valans are human and that their healing will result in the survival of Sharers and Valans alike.

The story opens with the arrival of the Sharers Merwen and Usha in a port city on the planet Valedon. They have come to learn if the Valans are human in spite of their very different physical characteristics, actions, and values. They return to Shora accompanied by a young boy named Spinel and another Valan, the wealthy and noble Lady Berenice, called Nisi by the Sharers. These two Valans share the lives of Shorans who live on the raft Raia-el.

When Sharers boycott Valan traders, Spinel joins them. Although the boycott...

(The entire section is 473 words.)