If I recall, book one started with a space ship being shot out of space. My other recalls are:

  1. the planet had rain drops which had mostly air at the beginning of the evening and then gained more moisture as the night went on to become dangerous,
  2. they were at times trying to dig gem stones or something similar, and
  3. one of the characters was of a species that could only mate with select subspecies due to some incompatibilities between the subspecies.
  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Please try to add anything that may help identification. Review this checklist. When was it written? 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 Nov 27 '16 at 10:16
  • Is it possible that you could be conflating details from more than one book/series in your memory? The rain aspect does sound like Hal Clement's Close to Critical as LSerni suggests, and that is indeed a pretty distinctive / likely unique thing, but the other aspects don't fit that book (there's a spaceship accident, but not shot down, and IIRC there are no subspecies or gems involved). The complicated multiple-subspecies mating thing is how the Dirdir from Jack Vance's Tschai books work. – cometaryorbit Nov 28 '16 at 5:22
  • a space ship being shot out of space - I think you need to clarify what that means. – Grimm The Opiner May 22 '17 at 11:20

I don't know of any book that meets all these criteria, but the Tschai / Planet of Adventure books by Jack Vance (the first book is City of the Chasch aka The Chasch, 1968) fit most of these.

  • The series begins with the protagonist (Adam Reith)'s exploring spaceship being shot down by a missile.

  • The money on the planet is "sequins", crystals that are only found in one specific place on the planet. This area is visited in the third book, The Dirdir.

  • The Dirdir are an alien species which have a dozen or so sub-types of males and a dozen or so sub-types of females, and only certain sub-types are reproductively compatible. One of the protagonist's companions is a "Dirdirman", from a human slave/servant "subspecies" which has been altered (maybe by selective breeding, and in some cases artificial implants & surgery IIRC) to resemble Dirdir.

I don't believe there is anything unusual about Tschai's rain, though.


This kind of rain is quite unusual, and as far as I know, was only attempted by Hal Clement in his Close to Critical (1958). The planet was called Tenebra.

I seem to remember there was also some digging.

While the ship falling out of the sky could be Aminadabarlee's airship (but it's not at the opening of the book).

The "three book series" could be then the Heavy Planets series by Hal Clement: Close to Critical, and Mission of Gravity and Star Light both on the planet Mesklin.

If we except this one clue, however, there's no doubt that @cometaryorbit's answer is a perfect match. The mating incompatibility in particular is a dead ringer for Dirdir's complex reproductive system.

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