I'm looking for the title of a book about a ship that has colonized several systems, and is now traveling from planet to planet, monitoring their progress.

The ship is AI/sentient. And much of the narrative is the from the ship.

One planet has the people turning into trees. Another has people who think they should only sleep 3 hours a day.

I know that's kind of vague but it was about 20 years ago when I read this.

2 Answers 2


This reminded me immediately of a book my son told me about, John Brunner's "A Maze of Stars". I haven't read it myself but online reviews do sound like it might be it:

A slow but interesting book about a colonization ship seeding humanity throughout the galaxy..or rather revisiting these planets at a point 500 years from the start of the work. Mostly a tale of what went wrong with each attempt..has all the big ones...genetic mutation, dictatorships, backwards societies and immortality ( at the cost of mindlessness through symbiosis ), etc... I think it would have been/could have been better if it actually explained some of the questions posed in the novel rather than explaining things by saying that there is/might be a gap in the ships knowledge banks..or that its programming would not allow explanations for 'that topic'.

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    Yes! Thank you! I've been trying to track this down for a few years! Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:54
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    You are most welcome! Maybe I should read it.... Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 18:14

I've searched online and from research I can't be sure, but I found

World's Best Science Fiction: 1971

Technically, it's an anthology series, but of note is "Gone are the Lupo", in which the people of a newly colonised planet are turning into trees. I don't believe that particular story mentions a seed ship or people with little sleep, but something like that may be in one of the other stories.

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    Hmm... not that one, but thank you. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:52

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