I can not remember if it was a short story or a novel, but I am leaning towards it being a novel. There is a colony of humans and I can't remember if they crash-landed or not.

There is a creature that they come to discover after it has killed a few people. The creature has some kind of chemical in its body that is like a super-adrenaline. One part is I remember is one of these creatures getting very hot from using up its reserve of this chemical and it dived into a river or pond and it started to steam. Something like that.

It has to be at least 10 years since I read the story.


1 Answer 1


I believe you are thinking of Larry Niven's Heorot books, which includes: The Legacy of Heorot and Beowulf's Children.

These stories involve an alien labeled as "grendels", that have a unique ability:

A grendel can, on demand, release a chemical supercharger into its blood that does to it what nitrous oxide does to internal combustion engines - enable short bursts of speed in excess of a hundred miles per hour. ... The supercharger, when used, generates large amounts of waste-heat that warm up grendel bodies so rapidly they will die after using it if they do not immediately return to water to cool off.

  • 1
    Nice work. This was one of my favorite Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes collaborations. Mar 19, 2013 at 20:31
  • Thank you! Nice to see that there is a second book as well. Time to get to reading! Mar 19, 2013 at 22:01

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