The book takes place in a 70s or 80s contemporary setting (I read it in the 80s). The characters are somehow 'changed' or 'copied' by gems that are buried underground. The main character was changed / duplicated as a child by two such gems. He has the ability to (gradually) change his appearance, as well as some other abilities I can't recall. It was more thriller than sci-fi.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. When you say "duplicated" do you mean that people were replaced with copies? How many people were changed? How widespread were these gems?
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 20:37
  • Did the gems resemble eggs, or turn out to be alien eggs?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 20:38
  • I was thinking of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/278944/…, which doesn't match as well on second look.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon? It was published in 1950 though. At one point he loses a finger, but regrows it.

  • 1
    I agree this seems right - the character names ring a bell and the regrowing a finger as well. I obviously got the decade wrong. Thanks :-)
    – homephree
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 18:14
  • It was this edition I read - obviously a 70s reissue. Thanks @john. I’ll re-read the book to make sure - it’s on kindle.
    – homephree
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 19:43

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