Book Search - Crystal Spiders

Nowyn

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Mar 31, 2011
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I've been looking for one for some time.

I broke my leg when I was in 8th grade and spent the whole summer reading my dad's library.

He had this one book that seemed to be sold in halves, where one story was on one side of the book and you flipped it over and read in the opposite direction and there was another story. Basically just a book with two short novels in it.

The one I'm looking at in paticular was about the main character who is sent to a planet to investigate the colony there going silent. When he arrives he finds that the colony had been destroyed. One paticular paragraph stood out to me as he found that pretty much everybody had been eaten in some form as everything on the planet had some type of crystalline exoskeleton and since humans didnt they were quick easy food.

He loses his way off the planet somehow and spends the night in a cave, finding a crystal spider that has inserted tubes into his ears. He freaks out only to find it was the only way that the spider could communicate. It fabricates a way to speak to him without the tubes and he goes with it back to its hive.

The crystal spiders are highly adaptive but not creative thinkers. By examining him they are able to work out a way to store energy, they are solar powered so at nights they were vulnerable to other creatures knocking them over and eating them.

Eventually they have to travel across the planet somewhere and he gets injured while trying to save the spiders as they passed through a river.

At the end, the humans send more people and find that the main character is still alive, albeit altered somewhat as his injuries required some heavy patching up and that the spiders were going to create their own space travel by growing crystal starships.

I think thats about it and I dont remember the title or the author, was just seeing if it sparks anybody's memory.
 

J Riff

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Almost certainly an Ace Double if not a later Tor double.
Rings a bell. Will guess Silverberg. Can't remember the exact one, but someone will. If not, scan some Ace Double covers online.
 

ashewyntr

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Sentenced to Prism, by Alan Dean Foster. One of his standalone Commonwealth novels. The planet's ecology is silicon-based. I still dig it out to reread every couple of years.
 

Nowyn

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Mar 31, 2011
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Thats exactly it. Thanks so much. You have no idea how long I've been looking for this.

All of these old(er) scifi stories that I was reading when I was down with my broken leg helped so much as we didnt have a tv (long story).
 

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