As a child I remember having a book with a collection of novellas that revolved around a common theme that went like this:

Survivors of an ill-fated expedition arrive on a distant planet and create, via genetic engineering, miniaturized versions of humans to live in the shallow waters of a local ocean. The mini humans farmed amoebas and fought a fish (or a lizard, can't recall).

Another batch of humans was adopted to live in tree tops above a canopy in a heavy vegetation. There was also a third story, can't recall what about.

I apologize for not being able to recall more. I hope this is enough. Thanks all!

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Please check out the suggestions for asking a good story-id question to see if there is anything there that can help you remember additional details to edit into your question. Do you have any memories of what the cover looked like?
    – DavidW
    Jun 10, 2019 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


I'm pretty sure that the "core" story was Surface Tension by James Blish.

I don't have the "expanded version" to refer to, but the core story was published in 1952. The story "Surface Tension" does talk about the miniaturized people making their way from one puddle to another in an allegory of crossing through space. Here's a site with more info on the other stories in the expanded version.

  • 4
    I'm pretty sure it is the collection The Seedling Stars by James Blish. First story is "Surface Tension", where the genetically engineered humans were friends with amoebas and fought rotifers. The story about living in the tree tops is "The Thing in the Attic", also in the collection. isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?46804 Jun 10, 2019 at 22:40
  • Thanks all !!! its spot on. I've been wrecking my head for years trying to remember more.
    – JavaHead
    Jun 11, 2019 at 12:43

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