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Seed Seeker
by Pamela Sargent
TOR Teen, $10.99, 287pp
Published: August 2015

This is the conclusion to Sargent’s Seed Trilogy, following Earthseed (click here for review) and Farseed (click here for review). It’s a great ending to a well-thought-out series. Sargent’s environment, her characters and their internal struggles are well-layered and make compelling reading.

Basically, the books tell of a seed ship carrying Earth’s life forms: humans, plants and a general selection of animals to seek a better world than the war-torn, politically divisive Earth they leave behind.  Except, that’s not really true. The young teenagers who live in the Ship’s Hollow—an Earthlike preserve with trees, rivers and lakes and where they are basically learning to live in a wilderness so they’ll be ready to survive on a new Earthlike planet—discover that the humans who built Ship (that is how it is referred to) had their own agenda. The adults were angry and didn’t like the Earth as it was and so went out to seek their own world where they could live their way, controlling the environment and humans as they chose.

Ship is dismayed to find it has this secret inimical agenda and so along with the teenagers (who also have hostile members among them) they take over Ship and decide that’s not the agenda THEY want. Ship eventually finds an Earth-like planet that gets named simply Home and at last, the teenagers are let loose upon a virgin world with their seeds and tools—as well as domes that have a library, food dispensers and other “futuristic” amenities.  No one has to live in a hut and eat grass.  At least, not at first. The immigrants have not solved all their own internal issues and there humans among them that are not content to follow the majority.

This book starts with a sighting in the night sky. After the sun sets, a lot of people have noticed a bright light moving against the stars. Is this Ship finally returning to see how they have all made out (I’m thinking it’s over a hundred years later—very roughly—based on generations mentioned).  A few young people have decided to strike out on their own from their small villages which had sprung up when others became dissatisfied with living in the domes.  Restless and not wanting to live the same life over and over as their ancestors have they will go on a journey to find out what the others think of the bright light. And what to do about it if indeed it is the return of Ship.

A lot of the people are afraid that Ship will find out what a muddle they have made of things, especially a few of those still living in the original domes. The oldest there feel because people splintered off and went their ways, because those still living in the domes are not compelled to discover things and are simply vegetating because the domes provide food, shelter, some information and entertainments that Ship will feel that seeding planet Home has been a big failure. And that Ship might take punitive action.

The groups of people who broke off to form their own enclaves still return to trade with those living in the domes. Their hand-made goods and fresh produce etc. are exchanged for getting their devices recharged: light wands, engines, etc. There are some stun guns but those that have them don’t reveal that fact to those that don’t. Most of the dome-dwellers don’t even venture outside.

The struggles both groups of people are forced to deal with make a really engrossing tale.

Has the seeding of Home been a failure? Is humanity a failure? Will they be eradicated?

And when we finally are reintroduced to Ship (as of course that IS the bright light) we find out this artificial intelligence has had its own doubts and misgivings about its purpose on its long, lonely journey.

There’s a great deal of thought provoking discussion, and action and decision making in “Seed Seeker”.  This is really a fine end to a very satisfying YA trilogy and I would recommend it highly to anyone.  ~~  Sue Martin

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