The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

First published in hardcover for a juvenile audience, Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D. was so popular that in 1954, it was retitled Daybreak, 2250 A.D. and reissued in paperback for adults. With this new set of readers, the novel had its second success.

Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D. takes place in a United States devastated by the effects of nuclear war. Fors, the main character, is a teenager trying to make a place for himself in his primitive mountain community. His father was a Star Man, a respected gatherer of information from the long-abandoned cities. He trained Fors in the map-reading and survival skills needed for this job, but Fors has been denied his own chance to become a Star Man because he is a mutant. People fear his white hair and unusual, catlike night vision, both the results of atomic radiation left over from the “Great Blow-up.” The boy knows that no other job in his community will ever satisfy him. He steals the maps that belonged to his father and sets out to prove his worth. Accompanied by Lura, a mutated mountain cat who can share some of his thoughts, Fors hopes to bring back valuable relics from a distant city.

Fors reaches the ruins of Cleveland, where he discovers museum relics and important information about stored supplies. Before he can bring these back to his people, he has many adventures. He befriends Arskane, a black teenager whose ancestors were pilots before the holocaust. Members of Arskane’s tribe are now farmers and artisans who have left their southern homeland to escape erupting volcanoes. Together, the boys battle fierce Beast Things. These vicious mutants are the descendants of people who received massive doses of atomic radiation. The two teenagers also meet a third group of survivors, the wandering Plainspeople. Aided by Lura and her telepathic bonding with Fors, the boys persuade these nomads to coexist peacefully with Arskane’s farming tribe and Fors’s own community of hunters and explorers.

Because of his achievements, Fors is welcomed back into his tribe as a Star Man. He then learns that the Star Men who now explore ruined cities are the descendants of real starfarers. The badges they proudly wear are the insignia worn by astronauts before the Great Blow-up. The novel concludes as characters hope that, with peace, humanity may someday reach the stars again.