Luke Wallin writes science fiction under the name John Forrester. His Young Adult Fiction BESTIARY TRILOGY can be found via out-of-print online searches, and via interlibrary loan. Bestiary Mountain
was published in '85 by Bradbury Press, The Secret Of The Round Beast
followed in '86, and the final volume, The Forbidden Beast
was published in '88. Bradbury Press was sold to MacMillan, which was sold to Simon and Schuster. The trilogy went into soft cover in the Harper Torchbook series, and was translated into Danish.
Although they had talked many nights about going to Old Earth -- although their father, living as an outlaw on lunar orbiting Island V, had made all the secret preparations and taught them to plan -- Tamara and Drewyn Langstrom couldn't believe it was happening -- couldn't believe it was happening now.
But the Overones were watching their every move. Because of Tamara, the lies of both her boyfriend and dormpound-mate were in danger. And violence against the last few animals under Dr. Langstrom's study was a growing threat.
If they made the escape, what would they find on the abandoned planet? Nothing, said the Overones. Nothing could survive the poisonous clouds that wrapped Old Earth after the chemical wars of the 2130s.
Their mother hadn't believed any such Overone propaganda. Fifteen years before she had left her husband and two infants to study earth's animals and human-animal hybrids.
If the twins made the landing, there would be much for them to discover: the stranger who was their mother, the home they had seen only in books, and the nature of those they thought they already knew.
The Secret of the Round Beast
Since the disastrous chemical wars of the 2130s, geneticists Tava and Ryland Langstrom and their children, Tamara and Drewyn, have fought against being usurped by a non-human society.
On Old Earth, the company of the wise Round Beast has bouyed Tava in her zeal to preserve what remains of the human and animal life. Sometimes it is even possible to forget that she and her scattered family are prey to the master of Lunar Overones, the Forbidden Beast.
An outlaw on Overone-dominated Luna, Ryland sees the inevitability of the Forbidden Beast's supremacy. Meanwhile, Tava, Tamara, and Drewyn prepare for what will surely be the deciding confrontation between Luna and Old Earth. The outcome will reveal whether it was cunning or despair that led the Round Beast to challenge the Forbidden Beast: Dare you, the supreme electronic intelligence, lose the opportunity to sample Earth experience?
Now the Forbidden Beast is coming to Old Earth -- to taste and to destroy.
The Forbidden Beast
In the 22nd century there are beasts of many varieties on Luna and Old Earth. Some are animal/human hybrids like Kana (half cat, half man, and a beautiful iridescent blue). Others are organic/robotic "creations" of the Overones on Luna (like Saraj, beloved of Drewyn, one of the few humans left in the universe). Drewyn's scientist parents and his twin sister, Tamara, yearn to preserve to animal species once prolific on Old Earth, as well as the glory of Old Earth's former inhabitants: the ability to love.
But science has moved beyond feeling. And other "beasts" -- one organic, one an electro-melded circuitry field -- are in conflict over the worth of feeling in the future. They are the benign and vulnerable Round Beast on earth, and, on Luna, the "fulfillment of all science" the Forbidden Beast. Which of the two will prevail? The answer depends upon the giant sun-radiating mirrors on the moon...
For those who want a good Young Adult Fiction, vivid scene-setting, and the excitement of warning ideas and ideals, this rousing sequel to Bestiary Mountain will be a 21st-century pleasure.
Spaceships & Spells
The story "Beneath their Blue, Blue Skins," was first published in Spaceships and Spells, vol. 2, and reprinted in the anthology Perspectives One. Later the story was reprinted a third time in the anthology Journeys in Perspective.