Grass (novel)

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Author Sheri S. Tepper
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science Fiction
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
Media type Print
ISBN 978-1-85798-798-0

Grass is a 1989 science fiction novel by Sheri S. Tepper. Nominated for both the Hugo and Locus awards in 1990, in 2002 it was included in the SF Masterworks collection. It is the first novel in Tepper's Arbai trilogy.

Plot summary[edit]

Chief protagonist Marjorie Westriding-Yrarier juggles family issues and her conflicting religious beliefs as her family is sent to the little-understood world of Grass to seek a cure for the mysterious alien plague afflicting all of humanity. The first stage of this search will be to befriend the human aristocracy of the planet who have seemingly become obsessed with a localised variant of fox hunting using the planet’s native fauna in place of the horses, hounds and foxes found on Earth.


In the distant future Terra (Earth) has become massively over-populated and its resources overstretched. Partially as a result of this, the human race has spread out across the galaxy and populated new worlds. One such world is the eponymous Grass, so named because almost its entire surface is covered in multi-coloured prairie.

The spread of a seemingly incurable plague across human settlements throughout known space prompts the authoritarian religious rulers of humanity, Sanctity, to send investigators to Grass, the only place the plague does not seem to have affected, in the hope of finding a cure. Given that Grass has become largely the fiefdom of emigree former European nobility who have developed an obsession with hunting in the old English tradition, they select the Yrarier family whose equestrian background and upper class roots they expect will best enable them to integrate and learn more about the hitherto secretive planet.

Grass is the first novel of the Arbai-Trilogy. The sequels are Raising the Stones and Sideshow.


Grass was shortlisted for both the Hugo and Locus SF book awards in 1990.[1]


  1. ^ "1990 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 

External links[edit]