~ A Novella by Andre Norton


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1975 dustjacket ~

Sealed off from the “outside” world by a giant dome, Kristie and her brother Lew are among the few survivors of a polluted earth plagued with sickness. Kristie endures the hazards of many obstacles, including an attack by a pack of rats, before she gets help from a mysterious rhyming man to reach Outside. This is a fast-paced, imaginative tale by one of America’s best-known writers of adult and juvenile science fiction.


Write-up from an old amazon posting ~

A young girl determines to find out what is "outside" the sealed off city in which she's always lived but discovers that the only way she can get out is with the help of a mysterious rhyming man. See also the earlier, shorter version London Bridge in - The Many Worlds of Andre Norton. This novella-length revision tells the tale from the viewpoint of the little sister rather than the tough older brother, in a world of domed cities, walled off from the pollution and desolation outside, where the adults were lost years before to plague.


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issue: March 1st, 1975
Child survivors of some ecological disaster who live inside a sealed off dome city where the life support machinery is running down . . . Andre Norton takes this premise, surely as old as sci fi itself, and finds a new solution aptly suited to the child readers this is intended for. Kristie, no longer one of the really little kids, but still young enough to be attached to her pet fox, is one of the young ones lured away by a Pied Piper known as Rhyming Man. And, following his trail of nursery rhymes and his motto, "Believing's Seeing," she finds herself led to the world outside the dome, now livable again. She also discovers that she has acquired the power of telepathy and sets out to communicate the secret of escape to her big brother Lew. Anyone who knows his way around the genre will find this thin stuff, but the Rhyming Man is clever enough to lure those on the cusp between fairytales and sci fi. 


Review by Publishers Weekly - May 19, 1975
A biographical note says the author now devotes full time to writing. Who could doubt it, knowing that the ubiquitous Ms. Norton has produced more than 70 books? This is an unusual thriller, set in a future when humans must live together in a sealed enclosure, with "breathers" furnishing air and deserted stores providing preserved foods. Kristie is a "Little" and knows better than to even think of "Outside," which has been poisoned. But, looking at tapes in the learning center, the child is enchanted by pictures of grass, trees and animals. When the Rhyming Man (a sort of Pied Piper) comes by, Kristie can't resist following him to the dreaded, deserted world. A sustained mood of tensions and fears is enhanced by Bernard Colonna's mysterious illustrations.


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1975 by J. Rosenbaum in Science Fiction Review Monthly #3 (fnz), May
1975 by E. Haynes in School Library Journal, September
1976 by Charles N. Brown in Locus #185 (fnz), February 29
1976 by Aiden Warlow in Times Literary Supplement, July 16
2021 by Judith Tarr


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To the Wollheims and the Sternigs, with gratitude.


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1975) Published by Walker, HC, 0-802-76185-2, LCCN 73092454, $5.95, 126pg ~ cover and illustration by Bernard Colonna {Blue Paper Boards}
  • (1976) Published by Avon/Camelot, TP, 0-380-26211-8, $1.25, 126pg ~ cover and illustration by Bernard Colonna
  • (1976) Published by Avon/Camelot, HC, 0-380-52720-0, $1.75, 126pg ~ cover and illustration by Bernard Colonna {Library Edition - Pink Reinforced Pictorial Boards, # 007-010 on Rear Cover}
  • (1976) Published by AvoNova, PB, 0-380-00435-6, $1.75, 126pg ~ cover and illustration by Bernard Colonna
  • (1976) Published by Blackie & Son, HC, 0-216-90169-3, £2.75, 128pg ~ UK printing ~ cover and illustration by Bernard Colonna {Blue Paper Boards, # 3CDE on Front Flap}
  • Moon Mirror (1988) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-93098-4, LCCN 88020136, $17.95, 250pg ~ cover by Yvonne Gilbert ~ Anthology by Andre Norton

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