Analysis

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Written during the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, this novel reflects the era’s concerns about atomic warfare and its possible aftermath. Many other science-fiction works of that time also employed this theme. Notable examples include Judith Merril’s short story “That Only a Mother” (1948), Ray Bradbury’s short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” (1950), and Wilmar Shiras’ novel Children of the Atom (1953).

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Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D. is Andre Norton’s first science-fiction novel, but the author already was a successful writer of adventure and historical fiction. Her first novel was The Prince Commands (1934). With Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D., Norton began a science-fiction and fantasy writing career that has brought her numerous awards, including several for lifetime achievement. In 1977, she won the Gandalf Award, and in 1988 the prestigious World Fantasy Award.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Norton used the Cold War as background for a series of science-fiction novels beginning with The Time Traders (1958) and continuing with Galactic Derelict (1959), The Defiant Agents (1962), and Key Out of Time (1963). These novels pitted American agents against Soviets in a hunt for abandoned alien technology. An unrelated novel, Sea Siege (1957), explored the impact of atomic mutations in a post-holocaust Caribbean setting.

Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D. contains other themes that also recur in Norton’s later works. Lura, the telepathic mountain cat, is the first in a series of intelligent, helpful animals who populate her science fiction. Catseye (1961), Breed to Come (1972), and the Star Ka’at series (1976-1981) for juveniles are only a few examples of this major theme in Norton’s writing. Lura’s increased awareness is a mutation resulting from exposure to radiation. This positive side effect of the Great Blow-up highlights the prejudice that Fors must overcome as a mutant. Overcoming prejudiced reactions to physical appearance or deformity is a challenge faced by a number of Norton’s central characters.

Many of these characters are eighteen to twenty years old, roughly the age of Fors. The author has said that one has only to look at historical figures in America’s past to realize that such a young hero is authentic. The gritty, determined way that Fors goes after...

(The entire section contains 570 words.)

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