I'm fairly sure this is a series, or at least more than 1 book. I remember bits and pieces. There is a space ship, I think it's family run and is a cargo ship. There is an alien race that I think is described as smelling like cinnamon. There is an amorphous entity tied to one of the aliens. The alien dies and the entity is forced to bond with a human male. They have a hard time adjusting to each other but the entity facilitates the ship to go faster/navigate better or some such benefit.

Either late in that book, or later in the series, if it is a series, the human ship ends up in a region of space where they get "stuck". Their engines either don't work or can't get free of the space. Come to find out that region of space is a giant entity that used to be bonded to the amorphous entity that bonded with the human. The space entity teaches the bonded entity how to release the human without killing him. The 2 entities go off together.

I think I read this back in high school, so between 2000-2004, but the book may be older, I don't know.

  • If this had happened on a planet, it would be very much like George R. R. Martin's novella A Song for Lya, but it isn't.
    – Spencer
    Jan 27, 2019 at 15:09
  • Aliens & a smell of cinnamon (among other smells) is a not unheard of trope among the "I was abducted & probed by aliens" nutters & has also found it's way into a lot of ordinary unconnected sci fi, so are you sure that was part of what you're remembering & not from something else that's attached itself to the idea of this book in your mind simply because it's associated with aliens?
    – Pelinore
    Jan 27, 2019 at 22:36
  • No, I'm not sure, that's why most of my statements are, "I think". I've read so many books the details blur, but I tried to provide all i remembered.
    – Dajan Ra
    Jan 27, 2019 at 22:43

3 Answers 3


You may be thinking of Man of Two Worlds by Frank Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson.

Wikipedia's entry for it isn't very good, but here you go:

On the distant planet Dreenor lives the most powerful species in the Galaxy. All of the Universe is the creation of the Dreens, who possess the power of "imaging" [sic - it's actually "idmaging"], turning their thoughts into reality. They can create whole worlds, of which the wild, ungovernable planet Earth is one. But suddenly Earth is a threat, its people on the verge of discovering interstellar travel, and with it, of gaining access to Dreenor itself - a paradox within a paradox, not to be permitted. While the elder Dreens plan Earth's destruction, a youngster, Ryll, embarks on an unauthorized jaunt across space. Forced for survival to merge bodies with an “Earther” whose mind is as strong as his own, he has to battle for control. And the future of all earthly life lies in the hand of a composite being, half wily, aggressive human, half naive adolescent alien, confused and far from home.

The story involves a race of blob-like aliens (the Dreen) who can alter reality with the power of thought (called "idmaging"), and had done so in creating Earth and humanity. Now, humanity is on the verge of discovering faster-than-light travel, allowing them access to the Dreen's other creations, and Dreenor itself - and the Dreen debate destroying humanity, believing them too barbaric to have this kind of access.

The story begins with the main human character, Lutt Hansen Jr. in his personal transport ship colliding in FTL space (they call it "spiral space" IIRC) with a Dreen ship (using its superior "vorspiral" drive). The only way either can survive is if the Dreen, Ryll, can merge his consciousness, parasite-like, to Lutt's, creating a single entity.

A quick search of my eBook didn't have the word "cinnamon" anywhere but there are references to the Dreen being able to detect one another by smell, even when piggybacking in a human consciousness.

  • 1
    No, that doesn't sound right. There were 4 distinct species. Human, the aliens who were the original hosts, the symbiote that merged with the human, and the entity that the symbiote merged with at the end of the book/series.
    – Dajan Ra
    Jan 27, 2019 at 20:05
  • Ah, okay. It sounded very similar to me. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. I hope you get your answer. Jan 27, 2019 at 23:06

It sounds like it could be Brian Stapleford's Hooded Swan series.

In the first book, The Halcyon Drift, a starship pilot called Grainger (a pacifist antihero) is marooned on a desolate planet where his mind is invaded by a mind symbiote-slash-parasite called the Wind. When rescued, he is more or less forced to take a job flying the experimental starship The Hooded Swan on a series of missions to pay off a debt. These missions constitute the six books in the series.

In the last novel, Swan Song, Grainger and some associates gets trapped in a weird place called the Nightmare Nebula, which is an interface to another universe. This universe turns out to be sentient (possibly the giant entity you mention). On the way back, the Wind dies, leaving Grainger free from what he has always considered a parasite - and finds that he misses the Wind so much that he seeks a way to bond with a similar entity,

Covers of the "Hooded Swan" series: ""Halcyon Drift", "Rhapsody in Black", and "Promised Land"

Continued covers: "The Paradise Game", "The Fenris Device", and "Swan Song"

  • No, there is no planet marooning, and the symbiote is acquired during an interaction with another alien race that is already known about in the book universe.
    – Dajan Ra
    Jan 28, 2019 at 16:25
  • That spaceship on the book covers is making me think of Firefly, it looks a lot like it to my eye.
    – Pelinore
    Feb 1, 2019 at 21:29
  • 1
    @Pelinore the first flight of the Concorde was about three years earlier. I suspect it owes more to that aesthetic.
    – fectin
    Jan 31, 2021 at 15:41
  • @fectin that sounds plausible, likely even now you've pointed it out :)
    – Pelinore
    Mar 7, 2021 at 13:18

Solved on another site I posted this to.

The name of the books are Mind Light and Minds Apart, by Margaret Davis

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