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Andre Norton style lost colony survival story in which young man sets out on a trek to find The Truth.

Good stuff:
descriptions of alien world;
sense of a language and culture dying;
worked through ideas on what happens genetically to a small colony;
modern high stakes ending.

Bad stuff:
girl-peer spends too much time thinking how very Different and Special, young man is*;
only two types of sex: vaginal for conceiving, anal for avoiding it, and it's all heterosexual**
I've read this story before, several times, so it's all in the execution.

If I were thirteen this is exactly the kind of book that would have got me hooked on science fiction.

--

One more Clarke book to go, Intrusion



* This might have worked with a significant age difference but they are depicted as the same age, and generally speaking, 15 year old girls regard 15 year old boys as jerks.
**I'm happy to accept that women don't want to make children in this society with men who have cleft palates because of the risk to their future children, but this seems to be a society without love-drive to idiotic sex, or without blow jobs for just fun, and even without circle jerks for un partnered sex. Maybe there is homosexuality but I was skimming by that point.

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