I read this series about 15 years ago give or take. It was in the young adult section of the library and I think there were at least 3 books or so. The main identifying features were two alien races.

One race was cone shaped and if I recall correctly very nature oriented. I believe they used nature-oriented technology, and could grow machines. There was something about covering huge areas of water with these plants. It was one of the things that could cause friction with the other factions since the plants choked the lakes or something.

Of the other I recall that they were physically strong and had a lot of natural weapons. They wanted to be civilized and usually were, but they built up a hormone of some sort that required them to release by going into aggressive rages at regular intervals. They may have had special events, rituals or locations dedicated to venting their rage hormones. Being stranded with one was extremely dangerous if they could not vent.

The central overarching story was about how these three races (the two above and humans) would try to live together and learn from one another but their differences put them on edge constantly and there was always tension.

I remember the books having black bars on the top and bottom like a 4:3 tv showing a 16:9 film, and I think the author sounded American. I've asked the same question on Goodreads to no avail, and google has failed to yield a single clue.

Does anyone know what series this is?

  • This sounds like a couple of the alien species from the Sector General books. The latter in particular as one of the species from a few books (I know she reappears in Genocidal Healer) where they are a very peaceful species, but the moment they encounter anything perceived as threatening, they link together with little telepathic tentacles on top of their heads and form into a giant screaming hive mind that destroys everything around it. I dunno, it doesn't sound exact but I'm trying to allow for memory drift- have you checked out James White's Sector General series?
    – Broklynite
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 11:05
  • I looked up Sector General on wikipedia but that's definitely not it. For one, I remember that it was really just about these two races and humans, and how the three races try to cooperate despite constant tension of war. Furthermore, there was no hospital, and the rage-out race had no telepathic abilities, their danger was totally physical and that buildup. It was extremely dangerous to be stranded with one if they had no means of venting. Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 11:39
  • 1
    Excellent- please add those details to the question :)
    – Broklynite
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 13:49
  • Done. Your comment did help me recall those details, although I can feel some points edge around some memory drift. Thanks all the same! Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 14:15
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    To those voting to close as a duplicate: the OP has not yet confirmed an answer, simply commented that Bookwyrm's answer "looks promising".
    – Blackwood
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 22:29

2 Answers 2


Identification of a sci-fi book or book series based on the description of two alien races

The book described in the search linked above does have some of the elements you mentioned notably the accumulating rage hormones and a triangular shape which could be remembered as a cone. Also the humans apparently get sentenced to a planet overgrown with plants. Don't know if it fits any of the book cover memories because the cover was not shown and it was not described as part of a series.

The other answer says " a short SF story, written in Dutch, ... called "Misdaad en straf" ("Crime and punishment"), apparently as a reference to the famous literary work. Unfortunately, this makes it a pain to Google."

Apparently it was part of an anthology and I think it is further away from the original points than my first answer but there were some things I didn't have so I want to give the OP the option of exploring that as well.

  • Could you please add the title of the book, and maybe a synopsis and a cover? Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 21:07
  • @Gallifreyan I added the title (there was no cover shown) but is there a reason to add more detail when I've already provided the link to that discussion on stackexchange? Is it some community norm (since I am a newbie here)?
    – Bookwyrm
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 22:48
  • Yes, generally we don't want users going other places to see their answer, i.e. and answer has to be self-sufficient. This is the reason we ask to provide short summaries of the links. Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 9:25
  • This is it! I am also Dutch and the linked synopsis coming from an anthology (or printed in one) along with Tais Teng makes perfect sense age-wise. The word 'amok' and the emptied bladder story I recognize as well. I am certain there were multiple books in this series though... I guess it wasn't Uplift after all. Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 4:37

Cover from Brightness Reed

How about Brightness Reed by David Brin, part of the Uplift series. The sequal, Infinity's Shore, had blue bands at the top and bottom of the cover. There were actually 6 alien races of refugees hiding on this planet but I remember one did have a problem with temper and one (the same?) communicated by smell which could be dangerous. There was a third in this grouping as well as other books dealing with events happening in the larger universe. I don't remember an overgrowth of plants but one of the races was made of sets of graduated rings which would give a cone shape.

  • I will look into this one, so far it looks very promising! Commented May 15, 2017 at 8:59

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