The Leaves of October
A Novel of the Scattered Worlds
The Hlutr . . .
Immensely old, terribly wise . . . and utterly alien. Long
before life crawled from the oceans of Earth, the forests of
the Hlutr stood on a million worlds. Their soundless songs filled
space, and their mastery of evolution had brought peace to countless
When Mankind went out into the stars . .
He found the Hlutr waiting for him. Waiting to observe, to
converse, to help. Waiting to judge . . . and, if necessary,
to destroy. Humans were savage, uncontrolled, aggressive and
unpredictable. Should the Hlutr encourage them -- or exterminate
The Cult Classic
Back in print after a decade and a half
Parts One and Two of this book, originally published as Analog
novelettes, each appeared in The World's Best SF anthologies
for their respective years. The novel was a finalist for the
Compton Crook Award. Wavelengths Online calls it "an
underrated SF gem." Speed-of-C Productions is proud to bring
The Leaves of October back into print with a brand-new epilogue
written just for this edition.
Stardancer calls The Leaves of October "profoundly
beautiful." Read her review here.
The Leaves of October was first published in 1988 and
I wish I had read it then. It uses a series of short stories,
following two different time lines, to unfold the relationship
between man and Hlutr.
The stories focus on the interactions between individuals
as they tie into the relationship between species. Sometimes
they are adversaries, often they are friends, but they change
those directly involved and the world around them.
The one thread focuses on the relationship between one man
as he grows up and a Hlutr. These tales are brief moments, showing
the changes he goes through, the important moments of his life
as he shares those moments with the Hlutr. It eventually ties
in to the other thread near the end of the book.
The second thread travels through time to show how the relationship
between man and Hlutr grew. Each story is told by a Hlutr as
they try to understand man, sometimes amazed and sometimes shocked
by what we do. At times they struggle with what to do with us,
whether they should save or destroy a species that is capable
of so much good and so much that is ill. The answers never come
easy and as in all things the past influences the present.
Not only are the stories well written, the characters are
real. At times you can see the edges of what could have been
if they had chosen differently. You also see parts of why they
chose to do what they did.
And their choices stem from who they are and what has gone
before. There is always a reason, and the reasons make sense.
The only flaw in the book is the number of spelling errors in
one of the stories. Don Sakers has woven a wonderful tapestry
of tales together into a greater whole with The Leaves of
October . Take the time to listen to the tales with heart
and mind, to see what they have to show.
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 9 August 2003