Starquake (novel)

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Starquake novel cover.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Robert Forward
Cover artist Ralph McQuarrie
Country United States
Language English
Series Cheela
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 268 pages (paperback)
ISBN 0-595-16748-9
OCLC 53909583
Preceded by Dragon's Egg

Starquake is a science fiction novel written and published in 1985 by Robert L. Forward as a sequel to his novel Dragon's Egg. It is about the life of the Cheela civilization, creatures who live on a neutron star named Dragon's Egg, struggling to recover from a disastrous starquake.

The novel was listed by theoretical physicist Sean M. Carroll as his favorite science fiction novel.[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

This story begins at the exact time that Dragon's Egg (its predecessor) ended, picking up the plot perfectly. As the human scientists in the orbiting ship Dragon Slayer prepare to leave, the Cheela on the star below continue their rapid advance. Starquake centers around two crises. The first is when the human ship is damaged, and the Cheela must repair the ship before tidal forces kill the humans aboard. Then a catastrophic Starquake strikes. Cheela explorers in space survive but have lost the technology to land back on the surface of their world. All Cheela on the surface perish except for four individuals. All succeeding generations of surface Cheela are descended from these four individuals. For a while, the surface Cheela struggle to keep the rudiments of civilization, but eventually a barbarian conqueror arises. The Cheela in space and their human friends watch helplessly as a new dark age ensues.

The second half of the story tells the heroic tale of how the space-bound Cheela, with a little help from the humans, eventually are able to land again on the surface, defeat the barbarian tyrant, and start to rebuild Cheela civilization. The first edition cover shown here vividly and accurately depicts the climactic final battle for the surface as described in the novel.


  1. ^ Howard, Jacqueline. "15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2014.