Many years ago I read a book; I can't remember the name and I want to reread it. Can anyone help me out?

Settlers land on a planet and colonise it; they find this nasty creature that's a wee bit violent and start killing them all; later in the year, they discover that the creature was killing other smaller animals who later in the year turn into huge killing machines.

They then spend their time trying to survive from the new born creatures.

It was a great book but I can't remember the title.

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    Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Please try to add anything that may help identification. When did you read it? What language was it in? Are there any other plot details you remember or descriptions of scenes or characters you can give? Anything at all? Feel free to edit any additional details into the question. You might also want to provide a more descriptive question title.
    – Paulie_D
    Oct 5, 2016 at 14:55
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    "What is the name of this book" describes some 500 questions on this site. Could you please change the title to something more descriptive of the particular book you were looking for? Thanks.
    – user14111
    Oct 7, 2016 at 7:57
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    A generic title of "What was the name of this book" is counterproductive. The title from revision 3, or later, "Colonists kill beasts, only to discover beasts were killing off immature monsters" was far far better. Now there is no possibility to distinguish this question from the 50M other "identify this book" questions when looking at them all in a list. With the original title, I could guess the book title just by reading the title of the question in the hot Network Questions list. Why did you roll this back to revision 2 (thus removing the title change and grammar corrections)?
    – Makyen
    Oct 7, 2016 at 8:50
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    Also if someone has the same question later, Google would be more likely to direct here if title is on point. Oct 7, 2016 at 9:59
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    @Lostinfrance, Yeah, I had checked the edit history and saw that the change was the result of the OP rolling back almost all the edits (why leave that one change, but not the others?). I also was/am unwilling to get into an edit war with the OP without attempting to get a reason for the rollback. Thus, the question to the OP as to why rollback the edits. If it had been someone other than the OP, I would have just submitted an edit which reverted the rollback. Like you, the edit resulted in me down-voting the question (which prior to the rollback was worth an up-vote).
    – Makyen
    Oct 7, 2016 at 15:29

3 Answers 3


If the monsters live in water and use a short-term metabolism boot to power their rampages, then it would be the 1987 Niven, Pournelle, Barnes collaboration The Legacy of Heorot.

There is a sequel from 1995 Beowolf's Children.

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    Possibly The Legacy of Heorot, to which Beowulf's Children is the sequel.
    – Seeds
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:31
  • Ah. Yes. That sounds more like it. Oct 5, 2016 at 15:38
  • Close, but the colonists were killing the big monsters, not realizing that the result would be a whole bunch of babies maturing and thus far more big monsters than they started with. Oct 5, 2016 at 21:29
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    More details and quotes from the book would help to flesh out this answer.
    – Joe L.
    Oct 5, 2016 at 22:14
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    OMG, I have been thinking about this book since I joined SE, but I couldn't remember enough details to post a worthwhile question! Amazing! Oct 6, 2016 at 12:52

I think this is the first book in the Herot series by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes, as mentioned in the comments by Seeds.

Here is a link to the plot The Legacy of Herot


This sort of theme was touched on repeatedly in a book published in 1991 by Janet Kagan called Mirabile. The book is a series of stories about the colonists on a new planet who often had to deal with obnoxious animals due to genetic engineering on the planet gone wrong. The colonists often didn't know which species were Terran gene-engineered monsters or Actual alien beasties, but trying to exterminate pests often lead to worse problems when it turned out the pests were restraining even worse species/pests.

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