This is a novel I read as a kid/teen in the 90s, I'm not sure if it was new at the time or not.

I believe it was set in a small town, possibly in England. There was a farm, where some kind of creature was evolving throughout the novel. One big reason I remember this book so strongly is that the book featured illustrations of the creature at different stages of its evolution throughout the book. I can't remember if it was an alien or a genetic experiment of some kind.

There was a romance between a boy and a girl, they were probably teens.

Every few chapters there would be a new illustration of this creature growing. These were the only illustrations in the book, it was not a graphic novel.

I vividly remember how the creature looked, it was pretty scary - it started looking like a simple organism, evolved into a long "eel" like form, and finally a larger beast. It reminded me of a prehistoric sea-dwelling creature of some kind.

I wish I could remember more specifics! I can't remember how the farm was involved exactly but I believe it was connected with this evolving creature in some way.

  • Someone else is looking for a similar book at goodreads.com/topic/show/… and accidentally posted an "answer" stating as much.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 16, 2019 at 20:02
  • Are you sure it's a novel? Gahan Wilson wrote a short story for Harlan Ellison's Again, Dangerous Visions whose title is a black ink splotch, sometimes rendered as {spot}. The story is punctuated by several illustrations by Wilson, (really just bigger and bigger ink splotches, showing the blob as it grows throughout the story.
    – Spencer
    Jul 16, 2019 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


Could this be Robert Heinlein's 1954 young adult novel The Star Beast?
Teenager John Thomas Stuart's pet Lummox, found on a distant planet by his grandfather, has been with his family for three generations slowly growing larger and more complex. However it didn't start out eel like, but was described as an eight legged dachshund that grew to the size of a triceratops. Along the way it learns to talk and then swelling bumps turn out to be budding arms. It is very childlike but the townsfolk are scared of it because of its size. When it causes too much damage the town orders it destroyed. John Thomas and his pet run away to the countryside to escape and are joined by his girlfriend Betty. In the end, a powerful, space traveling race has have been looking for Lummox since he went missing all those years ago.
I don't remember my copy having illustrations beyond the cover, but as a young adult novel I can easily see an edition being that way and the artist taking liberties. While the boy doesn't live on a farm, a farm and several greenhouses do play into the story line as the creature wanders loose.
You can read the original serialization at Archive.org
And see various covers here www.isfdb.org

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