Trying to find a book I read back 2000 I think. Desert planet, desert people dressed in black, captured human that becomes one if them, aliens that are fighting to take planet whose sex is decided as they age, one that screams “It burns! It burns!” as they become a female.

Anyone know the title?

  • Do you remember anything of the cover? Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 9:16
  • 5
    If this is a book by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, I don't want to read it.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 12:47
  • 1
    Cherryh's Mri series? Human character is named Duncan. Were the aliens they were fighting called the Regul?
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 14:33
  • @MrLister Wish I could up-vote you twice. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 19:49
  • @mkennedy I think you got it. Do you want to write an answer or may I do it?
    – straycat
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


This seems like the Faded Sun Trilogy, by C. J. Cherryh.


There are numerous references in the book to the sex being decided by age.

There came another touch at degh’s body, faint, tremulous. It was Nagn, an older youngling. And it tore back with a shriek of dismay.
“Honored,” it cried, “I burn!”
It had happened: next eldest had gone prematurely into Change. Suth cried out with relief and shut degh’s eyes.

The pain moved lower. Muscle contractions began at last, fever increasing, skin sloughing and peeling. The younglings brought food, and bathed degh, and applied unguents to the swollen parts.

Scarcely supported by the younglings the Honored Nagn moved again to degh’s side, touched, shuddering in degh’s own pain.
The choice was Suth’s. Suth’s body was making it. The swelling continued as one vestigial set of organs was absorbed, and the other began, in convulsive heaves of Suth’s body, to press down into the membrane covering the aperture . . . descended, evident as it would never be henceforth save in mating.
“Male!” a youngling declared.

It's set on a desert planet and from what I can see browsing the book it appears to be what you're looking for.

  • I've taken the liberty of editing in a book quote. This seems to be what the OP is referring to
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 15:26
  • Thanks! I couldn't find that while searching through the Google Books copy.
    – Mithical
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 15:46
  • 2
    By luck (cough cough), I just happened to have a copy of the omnibus ebook edition to check through
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 15:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.