The "Reviews/Feedback" page was inspired by the following e-mail, forwarded by Ted Powell; it is reprinted here, slightly edited, by kind permission of its author, Theresa Huyzers. Thanks for making our day, Theresa!
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001
Dear Spider and Jeanne
I bought my copy of STARSEED at a pay-by-weight bookstore, that sells imported publisher's reject books. By that I mean the cover is slightly warped, or the printing is not centred or whatever. Anyway, that must have been when I was about 14. I read it, and immediately it was my favourite book in the whole wide world and all my friends simply had to read it. Most of them did, or told me they did anyway, but somehow they didn't seem to appreciate it as much as I did. And with hindsight, I couldn't have fully appreciated it at that stage of my life and with the experience I had at that time. One of the friends' dog got hold of the book, and chewed it to shreds. I was, of course, seriously pissed off. But the bookstore where I had bought it, had sold out all the stock of STARSEED that they had, and considering the nature of their business, they obviously couldn't get hold of more.
That was 1997. Last year, as a graduation (high school) gift, the same friend somehow managed to find another copy of STARSEED at a similar bookstore. I don't think any letters or signed shirts or whatever could have made me love her more. So I put it in the box that I was to take to university.
(This letter is not exactly as logical or coherent as I would have liked it to be, but it's hard for me to be perfectly coherent when I write about something close to my heart. It's much easier when I write a story... but I'm getting ahead of myself.)
If you'll grant me a moment to give you some background on myself, I'll get to the important STARSEED part in a moment. The whole reason for this letter is that I would sleep much (I'm beginning to think that being a little self-absorbed and arrogant comes with the territory of being an artist, be it writer or dancer, but please do not take offence, I'm referring to myself) better if you knew what an impact STARSEED has made on my life, and to grasp that, you have to know where I'm coming from.
I'm currently in my first year at Stellenbosch University (a university town near Cape Town, South Africa), where I am doing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities. My main subjects are English and Philosophy, and my other subjects are Psychology, Ancient Societies and Afrikaans & Dutch. (My first language is Afrikaans, though I tend to express myself better in English. Must have something to do with the fact that I only recently started reading Afrikaans books. The problem is you don't find much science fiction or fantasy in Afrikaans, simply because the language doesn't really lend itself to esoteric and un-pragmatic language, but I'm getting ahead of myself again.) I want to be a writer. No, make that: I want to be a published writer. I have as yet not been able to get a grip on a story that will grow into a novel, but I have written a few short stories, in both English and Afrikaans, and some poetry, but that is just for me. I would die of embarrassment if anybody read my poetry. It's pure therapy.
When I was 4 I started ballet. I adored every minute of it, and I think I was pretty good, though I never got any better than a B in my exams. My teacher said I simply was not built for ballet. See, I was tall for my age, and always a little chubby. Never mind that now. I'm not writing this letter to tell you how you made a fat girl's dreams of dance come true. When I was about 11 I had had enough, and decided to switch to modern dance. My mother (a failed ballerina herself, obviously) fought with all her might, but in the end she let me swap. After a year of modern dancing, I got Honours with Distinction, and the highest marks in the Western Cape (the province where I live) for my first exam. I was ecstatic. Oh, and by this time I was only slightly curvy, and about the same height as my classmates. I adored every minute of every single dance class. It was (is) in my blood and in my bones and I can feel every cell in my body vibrate with passion when I dance. It is simply what I was meant to do. I had not found my bliss in ballet, but I definitely had in modern dance, and I would be damned if I wasn't going to follow it.
But then, I live in a small town, and dance teachers don't make much money in small towns, so they tend to stick around for a year, and then move. This meant that up to date I have about 3 or 4 years, with some gaps in between, of modern training, and 2 exams. Besides the ballet, that is... I have about 7 or 8 solid years of that. Two years ago another avenue opened up, and I started Latin American dancing, and once again I adored each minute, and was getting damn good, but the teacher didn't stay around long enough for me to do my first exam.
So I went to Stellenbosch with the firm conviction that, with the new abundance of resources, I was going to start dancing again, and who knows, maybe it was not too late for me to become a professional dancer. Sadly, I had underestimated the amount of work we would get, and I simply did not have the time to devote to dancing. I have since attended one class, but in the first place it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, because most of the women there are doing it for mild excercise, and the teacher does not teach technical dance at all, but still, when I got back to my residence, everybody thaught I had been up to some serious hanky-panky, because I was flushed and glowing (like a glow-bug, my best friend said) for the rest of the night. For the next two days I could barely walk, but it was worth it.
Ok, back to the book. It was after this dance class that I decided to read STARSEED again. I hate reading books for the second time, and honestly thought I would just be filling idle time, but once I had started, Rain had completely caught hold of my heart again, and she wouldn't let go. The amazing (and really eerie) thing is, that when I got to the end, after Morgan returns to earth, I couldn't remember how it ends... I had no idea what would happen when she met Robert at the restaurant. This is really strange to me, because the end of a book is usually what you remember most clearly... and this was a really special book to me, so it should have been imprinted even more clearly.... but here is where I let my romantic side say that everything happens for a reason, and that book appeared again in my life at exactly the right time, and had exactly the right purpose to fulfil. When I think back, what I had remembered was little Rain dancing for the sea lions in the beginning, and Ben's 360 degree glasses and all the zazen sitting and the foursome between Robert, Moran, Ben and Kirra.
Anyway, I started reading the book at about 5 in the afternoon, after my last lecture of the day, and skipped dinner and read straight through till about 4am the next morning. By that time I was crying and laughing and my soul was practically bursting. I can't really put into words what the story made me feel, and I'm not going to try, but I want to sincerely thank you both, from the bottom of my heart... Here I would have liked to say it has inspired me to be a great writer and dancer, and it has, in a way, but that's not the point. I just wanted to thank you for putting Rain Mcleod into the world, where I found her. She made my heart sing.
I know one of the marks of a good book is that each reader can identify with a character, but seriously... I even know and love my very own Reb! Hahahaha...
OK seriously... if there is one future I wish were true, then this would be it. And if I can someday write a book that will touch just one person like STARSEED touched me, then my purpose on this earth will be fulfilled. With hindsight, I can see how, when I first read it, I knew there was something really special about this book, but the full importance and relevance it had on my life couldn't have been clear to me then, like it is now. Once again I'm telling all my friends they simply have to read it, but I know in my heart (or at least would selfishly and naively like to think so) that it will not mean to them what it does to me. Firstly, they're not dancers, and secondly, they are not little Rain Mcleod, dancing for the sea lions, whether they are watching or not.
Joy and Love,