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This is a story I read at least 20 years back. I can remember a number of scenes, but frustratingly few key words that I've been able to make a meaningful search on.

Probably childrens or possibly young adult. It's longer than a short story - probably novella length.

Protagonists are boy and girl (I think siblings) attending a school on another planet. It's been settled a while, but within relatively recent memory. During the initial exploration, some eggs were found but no adult forms; two eggs were sent back to Earth for study, and a scientist on the planet experimented with the remaining two and created a race of beings that were sentient but of limited intelligence, who became servants to the humans. There was a line (paraphrased) 'Wasn't she pleased at creating [the servants]? No, she was furious - she thought she should have seen what hatched naturally!'

The servants have some form of rebellion brewing, and they use metallic (?silver) nail varnish to communicate using a code by telegraphing the sun. It's dismissed as a fashion fad by the humans.

There is a scene where the protagonists servant has used a cloth to clean something up they shouldn't have been using, and the thought process is described 'He could wash the cloth - but that would waste the [...]. He could throw the cloth away - but that would waste the cloth. So in the end he dug a hole and buried it.'

The protagonists are planning some sort of flight display during a festival, using a kind of jet-assisted take off booster. They discover the rebellion, and use the flight to thwart it somehow - I think mirrors were involved somehow, subverting the servants use of heliography.

The servants may have been called 'Gullivers', but that might be my memory inventing a name...

I don't believe it was particularly famous, and was probably read at the time I was picking up anything labelled science fiction in the library.

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Excellent description. This is Dark Sun, Bright Sun (1986) by Nicholas Fisk. The planet is called Merci. I couldn't find any more description to link for you-even Amazon only lists the title, not the plot.

Cover of Dark Sun, Bright Sun

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has this to say:

Dark Sun Bright Sun (1986) – whose young protagonists must deal with issues of Race in SF and Imperialism on a colony planet orbiting two suns (see Colonization of Other Worlds) – adroitly conceal[s] harsh realities under a smoothly amiable mask

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    I read a lot of Fisk 30+ years ago so it would fit - thank you. Looks like Gateway are publishing some of his work over the last six months so may be able to get a copy at some point. – Michael Jun 4 '20 at 8:05
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    Wow, I don't know if I've ever found a SF book (that is at least listed in ISFDb) that has so little info available. – DavidW Jun 4 '20 at 12:02
  • Yes - explains why my Google-fu failed, even with the title there's nothing to show up in a search. – Michael Jun 4 '20 at 12:10

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