They call them the “rat-catchers.” They're the crew of the spaceship Daedalus, which an economically destitute Earth has dispatched on a mission to re-establish contact with its far-flung, long-lost colonies in space. Alex Alexander, the ship's biologist, together with his staff, must help solve the mysteries of human and alien ecosystems that he encounters light-years from home.
Dendra is a stable world, covered by a huge, unchanging forest—except that nothing living can really be free of change. The planet has no seasons, but its animal life still undergoes life-cycles involving birth, maturation, metamorphosis, and death. The Earth colony sent to tame the world has failed, at least in the terms expected of it, and seems beyond redemption; but the crew of the Daedalus still has to find out exactly why and how the program has gone wrong. Provided, of course, that they can survive the investigation itself!
by Brian Stableford
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