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Can You Name This Story? (Part 19)

Sam writes to challenge our readers with story description looking for a title.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I read a book when younger about a post apocalyptic world were different groups had survived only because of their genetically engineered changes.

The protagonist is of a group that have gills (if I recall, he also had some mystical training that let him walk a road of some kind that resulted in teleportation), and their enemies were a group lead by a red lizard man.

I think there may have been a sequel written, but I read this book nearly 20 years ago, and I have no clue what the title was (I think the cover had a red lizard headed humanoid in a desert setting).

Can you name this story?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

8 Comments on Can You Name This Story? (Part 19)

  1. Jim Finn // August 1, 2010 at 3:03 am //

    some of it sounds like Deathlands by James Axler

  2. Jim,

    Thanks for the response, but it’s not that (I just went and looked at the details on fantasticfiction, 96 books!).


    I vaguely recall that there were periodic psychic battles with the red lizard guy, and when they finally met him it turned out to be a misunderstanding.

    One character in the book (a doctor/geneticist?) had removed his gills surgically, and had shiny scar tissue on his neck. (I seem to remember more visual descriptions than I do plot).


    I originally read this at about the same time as “This Immortal” by Roger Zelazny, so I thought it might have been the same author, it seems not though.

  3. Are you thinking of “Midwich Cuckoos” by John Whyndham?

  4. Whatever this is, I’ve got to read it!!   I’m a big fan of underwater, gill-morphing tales.  You may also want to check out “Waters of Centaurus” by Rosel George Brown, “Caves of Karst” by Lee Hoffman, “Red Tide” by Chapman and Tarzan, or the pulpy “Attar the Merman” series.   

  5. Gary Wolfe // August 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm //

    Sounds very much to me like Attar’s Revenge, published in 1975 by Joe Haldeman writing under the name Robert Graham.  There was a sequel called War of Nerves.

  6. Steve: No, but that does look like it might be an enjoyable read.


    Lex: If I recall correctly, the gilled protagonist enjoys swimming, but they live on land, and some actively distance themselves from their non-pure dna.


    Gary: I’ll have to pick that one up from the library, pulpy fantasy novels can be a lot of fun!


    My local library has a book request form to have them hunt down books by loose description, I will be filling one of these out later today, I’ve never had them find the book I was looking for, but I have enjoyed the books they suggested.



  7. Just wanted to chime in and confirm that this isn’t the Attar series (I’ve reviewed both books in the series on my blog:, but I’d definitely like to know what it is…

  8. Well, I have no triumphs to report, I have searched libraries (I suspect the book was old enough that it would’ve been part of the yearly damaged-book culling at some point), and searched my huge local second hand store (reading every title and summary, and looking over every cover) and found nothing.

    Well, thanks for posting this here for me, I did find some interesting suggestions to read and I’ll maybe remember the title or author some late night as I fall asleep.



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