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bear by san

December 2021



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Okay, geeks. From a librarian friend of mine:

A patron is looking for the title of a science fiction book about a human beehive. He says these or similar keywords are in the title, and is quite sure that it is a full-length novel, not a short story. It was probably written in the 1960s, because that?s approximately when his wife read it.

Who knows the book?


"Hellstrom's Hive" by Frank Herbert.
Published 1973, which is around the 1960s but not in that decade.
Well, I've killed off a lot of brain cells since then....
The John Peel DSP novel Objective: Bajor comes to mind as a possibility.
There's a brief bit with strange human "wasps" in Le Guin's _Rocannon's World_ . . .
Sounds like Hellstrom's Hive, though the insects were ants.
1973 Hellstrom's Hive by Frank Herbet is one choice.
What about Hellstrom's Hive, by Frank Herbert? It was just re-released. The book came out in the early 70's, but it was originally released as a short story in the 50's. Several publishers have issued it over the years.
I'd suggest (like others) Frank Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive and also throw into the melting pot T.J. Bass' distopyian diptych The Godwhale and Half Past Human which address similar themes...
The Godwhale was the one that popped to mind for me. But that's not really bees, even though they call it a Hive, IIRC.
I was going to suggest Half Past Human as a candidate myself.

-- Steve'll also point out that Brave New World sorta fits the description, if not the publication window.
I'm sure I've been beaten to the punch, but Hellstrom's Hive, by Herbert.

On my eventual to read list.
A M Lightner, The Day of the Drones (1969)
Margaret O'Donnell, The Beehive (1980 - probably too late)
As I recall the use of hive imagery is more metaphorical than actual in both. Hellstrom's Hive sounds the most likely.
also, Oath of Fealty, but that's a stretch, I expect...
Yep, Day of the Drones is what first sprang to mind for me, too.
That's the first one I thought of, too.
Day of the Drones was the one I've been trying to remember. Thank you.
Stephen Baxter's Coalescent is a creepy variation on the hive story; obviously much too recent to be the book this patron is looking for, but might be a good read to suggest anyway.
The first science fiction book I ever read was Hellstrom's Hive by Frank Herbert. My dad let me borrow it - left a lasting impression!
An outside possibility that hasn't been mentioned yet is Robert Silverberg's The World Inside.
Helstrom's Hive by the same guy who wrote DUNE--having a low blood sugar moment and the brain won't work.
There is an Outer Limits story called "Zzzzz" using the theme. Not sure if *that* was based on a novel, but I don't think so.
Could be the Green Brain by Frank Herbert too.
My vote is for "Rogue Queen" by L. Sprague deCamp. I first read it in the late 60s, when it was reissued in paperback--possibly a Signet.

thanks, guys!


I'd go for 'The Santaroga Barrier' by Frank herbert, but it has no hives or bees in the title, so I'm probably wrong. Theme would fit, though.
Your internets rock!

We are waiting for the patron to call back so we can bombard them with all of your thoughts.

Thanks so much!
You are very welcome!


Novel about Human-Hive

Sounds like Hellstrom's Hive by Frank Herbert.