In my youth, I’ve read countless science fiction and fantasy books. One of these, when I finished it, I felt like a part of my life ended with the end of the book, and surely there must be a sequel… except there was none and I felt emptiness… It was that good! Or it was simply what I wanted to read at that age :-)
Anyway, now I’d like to find this book again. I remember very little about it now, and I’m not even sure of what I do remember :-/ Here we go:
- A (scientific?) crew in a spaceship lands on an unknown planet somewhere.
- The planet is eerily empty: not desert, but seemingly lacking in intelligent life… or maybe there are only plants and animals, or just plants…
- But there is one intelligence there, a powerful one, and if I remember correctly, it is egg-like in shape.
- One crew member finds the egg, and takes it aboard without realizing (or maybe he is influenced by the egg, I don’t remember) and puts it not far from a laboratory rat/mouse (I guess they are scientists).
- Somehow, someone realizes that the planet is not as uninhabited as it appears to be, and the ship leaves the planet as fast as possible… I think…
- And then we discover that proximity to the egg makes the body evolve at an accelerated rate. While piloting the ship, the pilot looses his nails, and his teeth, and his hair, and gets clumsier (sort of like a human from Wall-E), but much more intelligent.
- But… Ta daa!! The mouse was close to the egg much sooner than the pilot, and proves to have superior intelligence at the end.
That’s all I remember, except for one small “fact”: I’m almost sure that the author is Edmond Hamilton, which is not a ridiculous possibility, given that “The Man Who Evolved”, which I discovered today (thank you Wikipedia), seems to describe a very similar accelerated evolution…