The Beast Master
Cover of the first edition
|Cover artist||Richard M. Powers|
|Series||Beast Master; Hosteen Storm|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (hardcover; abridged paperback)|
|Pages||192 pp (first edition)|
|LC Class||PS3527.O632 B4|
|Followed by||Lord of Thunder|
The Beast Master is a science fiction novel by Andre Norton published by Harcourt in 1959. It inaugurated the Beast Master series, or Hosteen Storm series after the main character. In German-language translation it was published as Der Letzte der Navajos (de: Arthur Moewig Verlag, 1963) —literally The Last of the Navajo.
Norton wrote one sequel published in 1962 and three by Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie of New Zealand were published forty years later, one of them after Norton's 2005 death. According to McConchie, they were "written solely by Lyn from a brief collaborated outline." The first two latterday sequels were named the year's best novel by New Zealand science fiction fans (Sir Julius Vogel Award).
The Beast Master tells of Hosteen Storm, a Navajo and former soldier who has empathic and telepathic connections with a group of genetically altered animals. The team emigrates from Earth to the distant planet Arzor where it is hired to herd livestock. Storm still harbors anger at his former enemies the Xik, and has sworn revenge on a man named Quade for his father's murder. According to Kirkus he finds "life and hope" instead.
In this novel and its sequels Norton explores aspects of Native American culture, specifically the Navajo, through metaphors in Storm's life and in the culture he adopts on his adopted planet.
Kirkus Reviews concluded that the "fantasy is made convincing by the author's boldness of imagination and by his ability to yield totally to the atmosphere which he creates." This was one of several reviews by Kirkus from 1958 to 1963 that reveal that the reviewer presumed "Andre Norton" to be a man. Some others were The Time Traders and its three sequels.
In Norton's sequel Lord of Thunder (1962), Hosteen Storm discovers and resolves a problem with stakes on a world scale. Kirkus concluded that that story "is secondary to the fascinating description, the imaginative ideas, and the general quality of prose and dialogue. For the experienced science-fiction reader."
Kirkus welcomed the continuation of the series by Norton and Lyn McConchie in Beast Master's Ark (Tor, 2002), including the promise of a fourth installment. "[T]hat's good, since this is one of the better SF series going, with Norton using stripped prose to put her stereotypes through their foredestined rounds. ... Neat, swift, and strongly detailed. Old fans will dance and howl for more." McConchie claims to be sole author of the prose.
- Ideas from the novel were featured in a 1982 film, The Beastmaster, which did not significantly follow the novel's plot.
- From 1999 to 2002, a Canadian television series, BeastMaster, was produced which again used concepts and characters from the novel but did not follow its plot or setting.
Selected publication history
- Harcourt, Brace, 1959 (first edition, hardcover), ISBN 0-15-206049-9
- Ace Double Novel (abridged edition), 1961; dos-a-dos with Star Hunter, also by Norton
- Fawcett, 1981 (mass-market paperback), ISBN 0-449-23637-4
- Del Rey, 1983 (paperback reprint), ISBN 0-345-31376-3
- The Beast Master (Harcourt, Brace, 1959)
- Lord of Thunder (Harcourt, 1962)
- Beast Master's Ark (Tor Books, 2002), by Norton and Lyn McConchie
- Beast Master's Circus (Tor, 2004), Norton and McConchie
- Beast Master's Quest (Tor, 2006), Norton (deceased) and McConchie
- Omnibus editions
The Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) released an omnibus edition of the 2002 and 2004 collaborations, contemporary to Tor's first edition of the latter. One year later, a few months after Norton's death, Tor published an omnibus edition of the first two books, which was also carried by SFBC.
- Beast Master Team (SFBC, 2004) contains Beast Master's Ark and Beast Master's Circus
- Beast Master's Planet (Tor, 2005; SFBC, 2005) contains Beast Master and Lord of Thunder — subtitled on the front cover, "The Two Original Hosteen Storm Adventure Novels"
- Hosteem Storm/Beast Master series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-05-01. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
- "THE BEAST MASTER by Andre Norton". Kirkus Reviews. August 1, 1959. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "The beast master". Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "Lyn's Books". Lyn McConchie. Last updated 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "Sir Julius Vogel Awards Winners by Category". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus Publications. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1960, p. 145.
- "LORD OF THUNDER by Andre Norton". Kirkus Reviews. September 1, 1962. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "BEAST MASTER'S ARK by Andre Norton, Lyn McConchie". Kirkus Reviews. May 1, 2002. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- Tuck, Donald H. (1978). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 331. ISBN 0-911682-22-8.