This is definitely a novel, too long even for a novella. I read it at least four decades ago, maybe five. Therefore it is a quite a bit fuzzy in my memory. The book might be even older than that.

It is a space opera, with interstellar travel. There are many humanoid species (or varieties, since they seem to be interfertile, at least in a sort of "continuous" way) in the galaxy, I am not sure whether they were different to start with and met when space travel started, or all descend from "Earth human" but evolved away from the original type with time.

Anyway it is not at all PC as the "Earth" humans are a standard of reference, and the farther a humanoid is from that standard the lowest its status. I think that "gooks" were the lowest in the hierarchy, very far from humans, and "geeks" were closer to humans thus higher, and "pure humans" on top..... except that those who claimed to be "pure humans" were really always a little bit geek halfbloods, or quarter-bloods or 1/8-bloods... But it is quite possible that I interchanged the names geeks/gooks. (Of course, geeks have nothing to do with our present understanding of this word ! That was decades ago !!!)

At some point one young guy appears among the geeks and the gooks. I don't remember where he came from and how they found him, and some gook or geek notices he is really pure human, but precisely he is not prejudiced and he is looked at as some kind of Messiah (and no, this is definitely not Dune)..

I forgot the end, but somehow the fact that he was a nice guy was important.

Does this ring a bell?

  • The novel Earthblood is not so un-PC. At the end, after making his way to Terra, Roan learns that his Gook and Geek friends are better people than the Earth humans. At least that's how I remember it. Maybe it's time for a reread.
    – user14111
    Oct 3, 2022 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


Earthblood, a 1966 novel by Keith Laumer and Rosel George Brown. It has been identified here before; see the answers to this old question and this one. The book can be borrowed (for free but registration required) from the Internet Archive. A (probably shorter) version appeared as a 4-part serial in If, which is freely available (no registration needed) at the Archive: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

The story is much as you described it. Here are a couple of quotes (from the magazine version) about Gooks and Geeks:

"Maybe Henry Dread better friend than you think, Roan. I think he tell all Gooks and Geeks, hands off Human boy. I think he have plans in mind for you, Roan."

"I don't like to work around Gooks, but what the hell. It's better'n living with Geeks."

"What's the difference between a Gook and a Geek?"

"I stretch a point. If a being's humanoid, like a Minid or a Chronid, okay, give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's descended from mutated human stock. You got to make allowances for Gooks. But a life-form that's strickly non-human—that's a Geek."

"Not much, I guess. Dad used to tell me that once Terries ruled the whole galaxy, but then something happened. Now they're scattered, what there is left of them." "Not 'them,' boy. 'Us.' I'm a Terry. You're a Terry. And there are lots more of us. Sure, we're scattered, and in lots of places the stock has mutated — or been bred out of the true line. But we’re still Terries. Still Human. And it's still our Galaxy. The Gooks and Geeks have had a long holiday, but Man's on the comeback trail now. And every Man has to play his part." "You mean murdering people like — Stellaraire and Gom Bulj?" "Look, that's over and done. To me a Geek's a Geek. I'm sorry about the girl. But what the hell. You said she was only a mule."

  • Drat, 30 seconds too late with my answer.... anyways yours is much more detailed
    – Danny Mc G
    Oct 3, 2022 at 8:45
  • 1
    @DannyMcG No, your answer beat mine by 11 seconds! I could have been first if I hadn't waited to collect all those details before posting. :-)
    – user14111
    Oct 3, 2022 at 8:49
  • Kudos, for finding so fast. I more or less expected it to be a dupe. But the point is, when I type my question, I check the box above for related questions, but more often than not, other questions with the same answer do not show up. About "more often than not": it does happen that an answer appears in that box, but then, of course, I don't ask it. And I don't keep statistics on how many questions I find the answer in the "box above" before asking compared to the number of dupes I actually ask. And they leave no trace on the forum because I don't ask them. But they are definitely a minority.
    – Alfred
    Oct 3, 2022 at 9:10
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    @Alfred I didn't find it, I remembered reading it several decades ago. (A damned good read, I thought.) However, I didn't remember that I'd identified it before on this site. Of course finding the duplicates was easy, knowing that the title was Earthblood. I couldn't have found them with just your description to go on.
    – user14111
    Oct 3, 2022 at 9:20
  • Also the unaccepted answer to this old question scifi.stackexchange.com/q/105673/28516 @Alfred don't feel bad that your question was closed as a duplicate. People remember many different facets of the same story, kind of like the blind men and the elephant. Oct 3, 2022 at 11:21

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