Beasts of the Open Space is a science fiction novel set on earth several million years ago at a time when intelligent beasts graze on a mountainous wilderness called the Open Space. Some of the beasts have settled beside a river that separates the Open Space from a giant wetland densely populated by aquatic swamp primates with dexterous hands. This is where wild beast Westwind meets and falls in love with pretty Nama, who lives and works in close association with swamp primates. Nama thinks Westwind will make a fine father, but their plans are disrupted when they learn that the friends who help them build fires and use water drop microscopes also have a hidden agenda. Nama and Westwind must oppose the schemes of a formidable pair of swamp primates, Chief Tusker of the Darkpool Clan and his mate Head Beast Rider Lutra. This story deals with the way environment constrains the lives of animals and the inevitability of conflict. Parents of younger readers should review it for violence and sexual content.
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About the Author
I turned to writing ecological science fiction after helping design and build remote sensing instruments used to monitor environmental changes on earth from space. Thinking about the way the lives of animals are constrained by their environment fired my imagination. The characters in my novels were chosen partly in reaction to William Blake's aphorism "The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction," and I wondered what it would be like if animals felt remorse. Nama and Westwind's reflections are akin to those described by Mary Austin in her short story "The Walking Woman."