I've been going crazy trying to find the name of a book. All I remember is that is featured multiple alien races.

The races were best described as:

  1. Rat/mole-like creature that lived underground.

  2. Large crab-like creatures

  3. Floating/flying balloon-ish beings

  4. Shark-like flying predator.

I think they were at war with each other, or fighting each other. Some/all of the aliens were highly intelligent and communicated with human visitors.

I think the story starts on Earth, and maybe actually ends on Earth with a nuclear explosion?

I know this sounds random and rambling, but it was quite a few years ago.

  • 1
    How many years is 'quite a few years ago' and would it have a relatively new release (or not) at that time ?
    – Stan
    Mar 11, 2014 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


This is Jem: The Making of a Utopia by Frederik Pohl, published in 1979.

Earth society is divided into three power blocs, Fats (food producing nations), Greasies (oil-producing nations) and Peeps (nations with high populations). The planet Jem is discovered with three sentient species, and each allies with one of the power blocs from Earth.

The alien races were the crablike Krinpit, the Balloonists and the mole-like Burrowers.

Before humans arrived, the three species were primitive and pretty much balanced, but things escalate out of control quickly with the introduction of human technology.

Wikipedia doesn't have an article about the book, but some other resources do:

  • THIS IS IT!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! :) :)
    – patch 1138
    Mar 11, 2014 at 19:08
  • This is what I get for sleeping instead of staying up on Stack Exchange. I have this book, and it's quite good. Pohl has a bit of a thing for the 'multiple species on the same planet' trope. Mar 12, 2014 at 6:34

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