I am looking for a SF short story I read in an anthology published in Germany around the 70s or 80s:

I can't remember the full story but it has the following elements:

A boy or adolescent that is stranded on a planet: He is either a clone or a genetically engineered being. I don't remember how he ended up on the planet, whether he was left behind or was put there on purpose He has a type of telepathic connection to his other clones that are on a ship and who are reaching out to him. he can hear them in his mind and he is learning to compartmentalise this away in his mind to shut them out.

He is held in some form of laboratory and under the observation of either a researcher or jailor. One of them calls him a "Raud" image or "Fheid" image or some other similar name, as an indication that he is not an individual but just a clone.

He is allowed to leave the lab or prison at some point as a reward for controlling the mental influence from the other clones and interacts with 'local' people. I believe they were somewhat tribal. A young girl has to undergo a quest as rite of passage and he helps her at some point.

I believe the local tribe has some background story that they were fleeing away from a spaceship that had these clones/genetic altered people on them and are in possession of an item, I believe a piece of cloth that has to be held in the wind, that contains a recording of an emergency broadcast or plea for help, but they don't really understand the words of it.

Ultimately the clone spaceship find and catches up with the stranded clone on the planet. I am not sure but I seem to remember that he boy rejoined with them, because the mental pull was too strong for him to control.

Unfortunately not a whole lot to go by but hopefully someone else has heard of or read this same story.

I read the story in German in the late 80s as part of an anthology, but the story itself may have been much older than that.

  • Note that proposed duplicate is already a "hub" for two other questions closed as duplicate.
    – Otis
    Dec 31, 2020 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Sunstone Scrolls trilogy by Sydney J. Van Scyoc

The Sunstone Scrolls trilogy by Sydney J. Van Scyoc:

  • Darkchild (1982), german title: Kind der Dunkelheit (1984)
  • Bluesong (1983), german title: Das blaue Lied (1984)
  • Starsilk (1984), german title: Sternenseide (1984)

has several significant elements you specify:

  • Darkchild, the male protagonist, is called a Rauth image. Rauth image are clones of a keen explorer with the last name of Rauth, made without his knowledge to be used as perfect spies. ("Fheid" stings me as a possible conflation with "Feyd Rautha", but where that weird name comes from is buried in the sands of my mind. :) SCNR)
  • Darkchilds flight from the spaceship that has come to gather him up, and the struggle against the welcoming call of his brothers happen in the first book, Darkchild. He is helped by Khira, a girl of about his age, who indeed fulfills a quest expected of her during that flight.
  • The pieces of cloth that sing or speak are the common thread of the three books, their origin and the meaning of the message being uncovered in Starsilk, the last book.

A review of the whole trilogy has more details you can compare to your memory.

Now you seem to be sure that you are looking not for a full novel but a short story. I recall several short stories that may or may not happen in the same universe as the Sunstone Scrolls (e.g. Mountain Wings / Silbervögel and Darkmorning / Der lange Schlaf), but sadly I find no obvious match among the titles in the Short Fiction section of the ISFDB entry for Sydney J. Van Scyoc.

On the other hand, the elements you mention cover Darkchild from beginning to end, so it may be possible you read that book and a similar short story by Sydney J. Van Scyoc.

  • It looks like both "Mountain Wings" and "Darkmorning" were published in IASFM, so you should be able to read a copy at the Internet Archive.
    – DavidW
    Dec 29, 2020 at 13:55
  • @DavidW: Thanks for the pointer; that's now in my Bookmarks. Much easier than digging in my towering bookstacks. :) I mentioned these two stories in particular because I could recall them good enough to be sure, but maybe I can find some of the other titles I was musing about, whether they could be the wanted short story.
    – straycat
    Dec 29, 2020 at 14:12
  • Awesome! That is absolutely it! I do know that it was a longer story than just a 10 page short story but I may remember it incorrectly as being part of an anthology! Once again, many thanks for the quick and accurate reply! Dec 29, 2020 at 15:28

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