Section: Scene,  Page: E2

Date: Friday, December 17, 2010

Almost 30 years after science-fiction author Pamela Sargent introduced audiences to a faraway planet that a sentient starship had populated with people, animals and plants to resemble Earth, she has finished her "Seed" trilogy.

It's not that she's a slow writer.

For more than 20 of those years, Sargent believed she was done with the world she had created for 1983's "Earthseed."

"I originally thought of it as just one book," says Sargent, who since 1996 has lived in Delmar with fellow sci-fi author George Zebrowski. About five years ago, an executive from Tor, a science-fiction publisher, asked if Sargent had thought about continuing the series.

"I'd always had the idea that there might be more there, but I had other books to write," says Sargent, whose output since the early 1970s encompasses two dozen novels and anthologies and more than 50 published short stories.

"When an editor actually calls you and asks if you've thought about writing something and says they might be interested in it, that's not generally something you run away from," says Sargent.

"Farseed," the second book in the series, was published in 2007. The conclusion, titled "Seed Seeker," is just out in hardcover. Sargent will read from the book and sign copies on Saturday afternoon at Flights of Fantasy bookstore in Colonie.

The new novel takes place about 150 years after "Earthseed." A character named Nuy, the daughter of original settlers of the planet, called Home, is the last living connection to the early years. Over the generations, the residents of Home separated into two populations -- those who continue to stay in domes erected by the colonists and maintain technology from the starship, and those like Nuy, who live along Home's waters and maintain a hunter-gatherer existence. The two groups interact only rarely, usually through wary trading.

As "Seed Seeker" opens, a new, bright pinprick of light is seen moving in the night sky. According to legend, the original spacecraft, called simply Ship and guided by a vast computer brain, had promised to return to Home. The light in the sky prompts speculation that Ship has come back; the River People and the Dome Dwellers each believe their way of life will be judged superior by Ship, leading to rivalry and suspicion between the communities.

The heart of the book is an upriver journey by Nuy's 17-year-old great-granddaughter, Bian, who sets out with a friend to find out what the Dome Dwellers know about the possible return of Ship.

While "Seed Seeker," like its precursors, is classified as for teens, Sargent says that has more to do with the age of the main characters than its content.

"I don't write them any differently" from her other novels, she says, adding that she enjoys writing about adolescents because of the perspective they allow her to explore.

"If you're a writer, there's going to be some part of you that's ... going to have to remain a child or an adolescent, seeing the world in a way where a lot of things are coming at you for the first time," Sargent says. "People that age always have that outlook where something is perpetually new."

Steve Barnes can be reached at 454-5489 or by e-mail at

Book signing

Pamela Sargent

When: 4-5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Flights of Fantasy bookstore, 381 Sand Creek Road, Colonie