Humans are colonizing planets, and at some point discover that the fungal-like infection that permeates several worlds each form a groupmind. IIRC, one of the initial encounters with one of these group minds goes VERY bad, and there is fear that if the groupminds are able to communicate (by pheromones?) that fact then there will be a slaughter. So, humanity is SLOWLY decolonizing these worlds in the hope they can get the humans out before one of these group minds learns what happened elsewhere and decides on genocide.

It might have been part of a series. (I think that the events with the groupmind gone wrong occur in one book, and the word that humanity is pulling out are in another.)

It sounds like it should be a Julie E. Czerneda novel, but I can’t match it to one.

It came out in the early 2000s, I think. I only saw it in paperback. I don’t have any other story details, because I never bought or read it.

  • Can you remember any other details - any images from the cover(s)? Where did you see this book?
    – HorusKol
    Jun 20 at 3:31

4 Answers 4


This might be Karl Schroeder's Permanence. I haven’t read it, but purely by coincidence came across this description on TVTropes and remembered this question.

Permanence has aliens so weird, they can't talk to humans or other species without an artificial intelligence. This applies to writing as well, and the translations are never anything close to perfect. In the backstory, one intelligent species inhabited an entire planet, forming all living things there. The animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc were all one species, and had identical DNA. The scientists thought this was odd, until they found some human babies with the same DNA! (The babies basically had a human mind and an alien mind, which didn't communicate with each other.) When they managed to communicate to the aliens that they were sentient, the aliens responded violently, as they felt no species had the right to alter their environment. The humans had to quickly evacuate and nuke the planet. Other nearby planets were also inhabited by the aliens, and the human colonists there had to leave really slowly before the aliens could catch on to what was happening. Creepy.

The book was published in 2002, so the timeline fits as well.

  • 1
    BINGO! THAT’S IT! Jun 20 at 23:14
  • 1
    Thank you to whomever said Permanence by Karl Schroeder. That description from TV Tropes is spot on — and I think may be where I heard about it. Jun 21 at 20:47

Sheri S. Tepper's Arbal Trilogy?

THere is a plague spreading across worlds, but the world with the groupmind (a planet called Grass because it is covered in multi-coloured prairie ) is one that seems to be immune to the plague.

The first book in the trilogy is called Grass.



  • Came here to suggest this answer - the description fits the second book of the series, Raising the Stones, which focuses on a "fungal-like infection" causing a group mind to form on a colony world. The third book, Sideshow, addresses the response from other worlds to this phenomenon.
    – treeshaped
    Jun 20 at 17:12

It may be Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained which are the first two books in the Commonwealth Saga by Peter F Hamilton.

There is a "group mind" alien that is contacted by humans in the first book, which then attacks many colony worlds near the end of the book.

The second book covers the desperate fight to push the aliens back and prevent it being able to launch further attacks deeper into human colonised space.

  • 1
    I’m pretty sure that it’s not the Commonwealth books, based on the Wikipedia summary. Jun 19 at 21:35
  • 1
    No, the summary in the question bears no relation to the Commonwealth Saga story, other than a very very loose view of the Prime from those books.
    – Moo
    Jun 20 at 1:55
  • The description fits the Zanth better than the Prime, even. Jun 20 at 14:14

Maybe "midnight at the well of lost souls" and it's other books jack l chalker?

Only read first 2 of 7 (20 years ago) but one of side stories is about humans being addicted to some fungus that makes them then pawns or hive mind for controlling kabals.

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