Rosel George Brown, Keith Laumer
Earthblood Cover



I wanted to pick up some 60s sci-fi as part of the Women of Genre Fiction reading challenge; I chose Earthblood somewhat at random. Rosel George Brown (1926-67) published only a couple dozen short stories and a few novels before her career was tragically cut short by illness. This particular novel was a collaboration with Keith Laumer. Creative collaboration, like sex, is a complicated art form, and no two partners do it quite the same, so to sort out exactly how much of the book is Laumer and how much is Brown would be impossible. I won't try; I'll just review the book as one complete whole. However, if you skip to the end, the 2012 Baen reprint also includes some of Brown's short stories! Win.

Roan is the only pure-blooded human being ("Terran") that anyone on his home planet Tambool has ever met. He arrived on the planet as a frozen embryo, where he was purchased, gestated, and brought up by the alien couple Raff and Bella. He grew up among various alien races, yearning to discover his roots; but centuries ago the Niss laid siege to planet earth and no one has crossed their blockade since. No one's even sure where earth was, anymore, or if there are any other pure humans left in the universe.

The early chapters make much of young Roan's human ancestry. His adoptive father venerates it. He tells his son that he's "a real Terry, genuine Terrestrial strain. Not mutated, like me… and not just humanoid, like your ma. Real Terry — the breed that settled the whole universe — that built the empire, long ago… Look at you: pale skin, like skim-ice, and hair the color of wineberries."

Much is made of Roan's white skin; in the first half of the book, the undercurrent of racism is unmistakable. Alien races are inferior, animal-like, and dark; it will take a real human to set the universe to rights again. I felt embarrassed reading it at first, thinking maybe the authors weren't aware of it, you know, because it was the 1960s. But the thing about this book is, you're seeing everything from Roan's perspective, and fear not: his perspective will grow.

To read the rest of the review, click the link below!