10

I read this book about 10 years ago (when I was still a kid) in a library which had mostly older books, so I would assume it is from the early 2000s or earlier.

The plot at first revolved around two species seemingly completely unrelated to each other. There was one race which was covered with fur and would make clay sculptures to communicate with their gods/spirit ancestors, and the sculptures would vanish. I remember one young female was very furry and was talking to her older female mentor figure about how even though most of the creatures were losing their fur to be more attractive to each other, they thought that closeness to the gods was lost with the fur.

At the same time there was a second species of flying creatures who would sing really beautifully in huge choruses. They were unaware of the other species but would pick up the clay sculptures and worship them. The two species depended on each other but were unaware of each other. There was possibly some biological dependence as well.

Humans got involved in this world somehow and I remember a scene with humans singing (badly) along with the flying race as a chorus starts up.

It seems to have some similarities to the short story "Hunter's Moon" by Poul Anderson, except I believe it was a book-length novel on its own.

  • "Hunter's Moon" was a short story that was part of a shared world 'novel' (or at least, novel-length) project called Medea: Harlan's World. Are you sure it's not this? – starpilotsix Nov 27 '19 at 15:57
  • see also scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/152192/… (about the series as a whole) – Otis Nov 27 '19 at 23:36
5

This sounds a bit like Earthfall by Orson Scott Card.

This is part of a series, and in this book humans are returning to the Earth where they find two races have evolved, the Diggers and the Angels. As the names suggest the Diggers are the (furry) terrestrial race and the Angels the flying race. Earthfall isn't a perfect match to your description though many of the points are there. For example the reference to losing fur is:

The priestess stroked Emeez’s fur. As always, Emeez stiffened under the touch. People were always touching the crooked limbs or stumps of cripples, too, and she just hated it, even if it was supposed to bring them luck. But then she realized that the priestess wasn’t doing that hesitant little lucktouch. She was stroking Emeez’s fur with real affection, it seemed, and it felt good. “I don’t know if we’ve been right,” said the priestess, “to call that soft downy nothing hair beautiful. I think along with the hair of our women we might have lost something else. A closeness to the gods.”

It's the Angels who make the sculptures, and the Diggers collect them. For example in this scene the aforementioned Emeez is talking to her mother:

“There is a certain time of year. In the dry season. The skymeat come down and shape the mud by the riverbank.”

“Skymeat?” Emeez was appalled. “You can’t be serious. That’s disgusting.”

“Of course it would be disgusting,” said Mother, “if you thought the skymeat actually understood what they were doing. But they don’t. The god comes awake inside them and they just start mindlessly shaping the clay in fantastic intricate patterns. Then, when they’re done, they just go away. Leave them behind. For us.”

Note the Diggers refer to the Angels as skymeat - charming! :-)

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  • This is it!! Thank you so much!! I was worried I'd gotten the sculptors backwards and turns out I did. – Boop Nov 27 '19 at 18:53

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