(Found) 1970s or 80s sci fi novel set aboard a living alien ship (bioship)


New Member
Aug 10, 2021
I am looking for a sci fi novel from the 70s or 80s, it is set aboard a living ship piloted by an insect-like alien and a small crew of humans in an attached metal structure. I remember reading it in the early 90s but the copy was quite old so I believe it would have been published in the late 70s or early-mid 80s judging by the style of cover.

What I remember of the general plot is that the ship was captured as a baby and enslaved by an alien race of insect-like creatures that lived inside the ships and controlled them by stabbing them with chemicals and had something of a telepathic bond.

There was a separate human crew who communicated with the pilot and were on the way to a new planet(?) after the earth was no longer habitable? The humans had adapted to life in space and one human ended up becoming the new pilot/bonded to the bioship, when the alien pilot was killed by the bioship after a conflict where it tried to jettison the humans?

I do not believe this is any of the books in the B&B “Ship who Sang” series by Anne McCaffrey or her co-writers.

The cover that I remember was painted, had black starry space (maybe a planet as well) in the background while in the foreground was a pink spaceship that looked like a man o’ war jellyfish or lionfish.

I have been searching online over the past few years but have had very little luck so any help would be hugely appreciated. Thanks for your time.


Well-Known Member
Aug 20, 2013
This might possibly be Alien Earth by Robin Hobb writing as Megan Lindholm. The cover of my copy is almost exactly as you described, though it was first published in 1990 I think, and from what I remember, your other details are a good fit.