Read The X Factor by Andre Norton Online


Diskan Fentress, mutant son of an interstellar explorer, felt himself out of place on the luxury worlds of civilized space. It was not until he stole a spaceship and a travel key to the unexplored planet Mimir that he first felt his latent powers to be of some worth.For Mimir was a world of strange relics, of beasts that were more than beasts, and of a ruined city whose shDiskan Fentress, mutant son of an interstellar explorer, felt himself out of place on the luxury worlds of civilized space. It was not until he stole a spaceship and a travel key to the unexplored planet Mimir that he first felt his latent powers to be of some worth.For Mimir was a world of strange relics, of beasts that were more than beasts, and of a ruined city whose shadows bespoke a higher and weirder civilization than any the galaxy had yet discovered. It was to fall to Diskan's lot to meet head-on that ancient world's "X Factor," and to settle the fate of a planet with his reaction....

Title : The X Factor
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345315571
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 191 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The X Factor Reviews

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-03-14 13:23

    I realise that this book is not recognised as one of Norton's better works, but I enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot. Perhaps I simply lack a frame of reference (this is my first Norton). I suspect I'm reading too much into it, but the ending was (to me) fairly ambiguous. That's the beauty of reading I suppose, and if I wanted to interpret Diskan's (or Xcothal's) metamorphosis as something metaphysical... well, I suppose that's my privilege, even if I'm dead wrong. I reckon I'll be checking out more of Norton's work.

  • Doris
    2019-02-18 12:40

    The X Factor takes a lonely, awkward teen named Diskan Fentress, who is neither liked nor accepted in his home, and moves him into a space-faring adventure. At home, he lives with his stepfamily, who have a perfect life with their delicate, perfect family, none of whom understand Diskan. He is clumsy and slow, and they think of him as half-witted, fit only for menial labor, and a disgrace to the clan. They are all delicate, he is sturdy. They are thin and graceful, he is large and awkward. They never tell him he is not wanted, but he feels that he is out of place in their society (keeping in mind that this was written long ago, and that being very different in any society can make you feel out of place, especially when you are a teen).Diskan takes a chance and escapes into space, using some discs that vaguely suggest mini-cds, and winds up on the planet Xcothal where humans are forbidden to visit. During his time there, he learns that he is neither stupid nor useless, having considerable psychic ability, and the grace to achieve delicate work when he is not supervised, or worse, pushed out of the way for fear he will damage whatever it is he is working on. Some of the issues I had with this story include the fact that Diskan accepted the "Brothers in Fur" at once, rejected the other humans, and seems at ease with his physic ability even though he knew nothing of it before reaching Xcothal. I liked the light patterns, and the overall storyline, and athough we get an idea what raiders want here, we never really learn the whole story. I was uncomfortable with the whole 'fitting in' with the Brothers in Fur, because it seemed as though he went from being a standout in one group due to his size and gracelessness to being part of another group – even though the same conditions apply. I would have liked to know more about Diskan's background and his parents. It would be especially interesting to learn where the latent physic talents came from, some hint that a parent could "read minds" or the like. There were places where I felt additional characterization was necessary, as in building up what a "Jack" was (although I get the vague impression that they were named for the pirates of the high seas, whose flag was a perverted Union Jack). Also, there were places where more could have been explained – why does the family and society reject Diskan; why were the Brothers in Fur locked out of their home; why are so many people so eager to exploit this world?However – all that aside, this is a really good read, with interesting characters, that although it could use more character building, it deals with an age old theme, on the star lanes, taking a rejected character and showing us, and him, that he has worth and a destiny, regardless of what he has been led to believe.

  • Kathryn
    2019-02-18 11:39

    The X Factor, while not one of Norton's best, gives an example of her plotting and characterization abilities. The main character, Diskan (I’m guessing “Dees-kahn”) Fentress, is the product of what appears to have been an arranged marriage between two very intelligent individuals, with the goal of producing a mutant with special abilities and high intelligence. Diskan turned out to be very large and somewhat awkward, so naturally, everyone assumed that he was stupid and couldn’t do anything right. They made him nervous, which only exacerbated the problem. So he steals a ship and escapes to an interdicted alien world. While struggling for life there, he learns that he does in fact have considerable psychic ability, and is perfectly capable of accomplishing delicate tasks when he is not being watched and insulted.The story follows the pattern of the monomyth. Diskan embarks on a perilous journey to and then on an unfamiliar planet. He is somewhat unwillingly thrust into a quest, on which he has several companions. He loses his companions, and must complete his quest alone and unaided. The general plotline, thus, is not entirely original, but that’s not a bad thing. Everyone likes hero myths, and this one is entertaining, particularly if you like space opera.The reason I say that this book isn’t one of Norton’s best is that Diskan’s characterization, while interesting, was somewhat flat (to me), and I felt that the book had too many mysteries and not enough explanation. I like mysterious shenanigans and goings-on in my books, but I like them to be explained at the end. This book gave some explanation, but left several questions insufficiently answered.

  • Wilson E. Stevens Sr.
    2019-03-05 13:34

    This was not one of her best books. It was written so she would be able to use the X in a title, as her goal was to write a book for every letter of the alphabet. She succeeded. Several problems with this book, the rockets were based on the WWII German V3 missiles, and landed tail down. What they used for fuel we don't know. She did put the passengers into suspended animation however, which was one of the first authors to do this. When the rocket crashed, there was a way to save the pilot, but no provision for any supplies. Little oversight their I think. She had a work around however. Again she uses mental telepathy with animals as one of the first or the first to introduce this concept to Science Fiction literature. The ending was very poor in my opinion, and could have worked out better. The ending is why I rated the story so low.

  • Sean Hall
    2019-02-24 14:36

    Norton's writing was really hard to get into at first. I had to reread the first few pages before I felt I could settle in and follow along. There is some good word building and descriptions, but too much attention is given to the language and not enough to plot progression. I decided to stop reading it around page 80.

  • Marie Hurt
    2019-03-19 17:38

    What’s not to love about an outsider finding a home?

  • Valerie
    2019-03-18 15:35

    There's something missing here. Why CAN'T Diskan Fentress fit into Vaan society? Why is he so out of place among peaceful, graceful people? It's bad enough that the overarching galactic civilization is so unskilled at finding causes and solutions for developmental disabilities. But Diskan's Vaan stepmother and stepsiblings are as hopeless as his biological father at finding a way to reach him. So he has to rebel and flee to Xcothal. Why is it so easy for him to fit in there? Oh, it's not without snarls and snares. But it takes less than a month, and he fits in as if he was born there. Actually, BETTER than if he was born there.This is one of the few books in which the foster-parentage and education of the Zacathans has little to no effect. True, the Zacathan is badly injured--but so have those in other books been, and THEY'VE done all right. I should point out that the treatment of an injured reptile is poorly reckoned. An injured reptile would not be feverish, which is an endothermic response. It also wouldn't help, as I've pointed out before, to wrap a reptile in blankets (unless they're electric blankets). With little internal heat production, the blankets would keep heat out, not in.Norton had odd ideas about life in general. In this book she distinguishes between 'animals' and 'reptiles'. She describes bogs, meadows, and groves as having 'no sign of life' (Wait, aren't plants alive?) She describes living things as 'unnatural' (an oxymoron, unless you're dealing with cultivars), or 'evil' (as if plants could have intentions, a dubious imputation). She frequently describes plants and fungi as exuding acidic semi-fluids. I don't know of any such plants. Even mildly irritating exudations (as, poison ivy) are not found everywhere, and more severe poisons are most frequently alkaloids, and dangerous only on ingestion. As I've mentioned before, causelessly hostile animals are a too-common element in Norton's work. Ruthless intelligent life is barely plausible, because they are usually at least peripheral to a society that has at least some surplus, ao they can overspend (effort, materials, etc), and can steal more than they spend. Non-social animals are highly unlikely to be able to survive this way, no matter how often they successfully win unprovoked fights. They'd starve, if they weren't critically injured in such fights (or killed, as here). How are enough of them surviving to produce offspring?

  • Jeffrey
    2019-03-16 13:38

    Proving once again that it is hard to re-visit old science fiction books from my childhood. I was reviewing my shelves and came across this slim 158 pp volume from Andre Norton. There are plenty of her books that I have read several times, but I did not really recall the plot of this book so I thought since I am really between books I would give it a try.Deskan Fentiss is one of Norton's typical characters. An outsider with some mental telepathy talents with animals. His father is a Scout, an explorer who goes from planet to planet trying to find habitable worlds for humans to colonize. Under the Scout charter, he is allowed to couple with residents of worlds with the idea of passing on his unique talents to the world. He meets and marries Deskan's Mom, then leaves and Deskan believes he is dead. Deskan is odd, too big for his body and clumsy. He hides his mental talents. His mother dies at his birth and he is given menial jobs. His father, who he believed was dead returns and gets his son and takes him to another world to live with his new wife and family, but again Deskan does not fit in.He breaks into his father's study and finds 3 red disks, identifying planets that are odd. He picks one, goes to a star field and steals a ship which crash lands on the world. There he meets strange telepathic animals the Brothers in Fur, the thal, who want to use him to open an ancient city X Cothal to how it was. He can communicate in a fashion because of his telepathyMeanwhile, there is an expedition on planet of Archeologists who are searching the ancient ruins for treasure. They however run into Jacks and other thieves, who are on planet to steal the treasure.Deskan and the brothers in fur must make as to what to do regarding the archeologists, the thieves, and whether or not Deskan has finally found a place where he fits.Its a good adventure novel, but didn't transport me as much as some of her other books with similar themes.

  • Andrewcharles420
    2019-03-15 10:15

    The main character is supposedly a clumsy, slow, outsider, living with his accomplished father and step family. He yearns for an escape and steals the directions to a recently discovered planet not scheduled for any settlements or immigration, and then steals a ship and sets off. He wanders through a hostile environment and old ruins, and comes to be guided by 'furred ones', some seemingly telepathic furry creatures who usually stay just out of sight. He runs into an archeological team, and then is chased and captured by grave-robber pirates. He is telepathically instructed to get them high (burn the red leaves), and eventually escapes them.I did not believe the pretense in the book that the main character was that clumsy or cloudy-headed. In all the action scenes he holds his own like a typical sci-fi action hero, and even when he was setting up his first camp (which he was woefully unprepared for), he did fine. The book too often took the reader into the main character's trances, adopting the made-up, unexplained vocabulary and place-names without adequate preparation. I enjoyed the close (sometimes verging on telepathic) connection between humans and animals, much like the previous book of Norton's that I read. I also liked that the female character had a name, position, and personality, without being a love interest or mother/sister/wife (though, apart from scant mentions of a step-sister, she was the only woman). Not the most interesting book, and not the most satisfying ending; this is not a book I would recommend reading.

  • Kevin
    2019-03-13 17:31

    Reliving this favorite from my early teens I find as an adult I'm a little perplexed by what Ms. Norton is getting at in this. Parts of it are a bit bizarre and metaphysical for Norton. The ending is ambiguous, closer to what I would expect from a counter culture "new wave" 1960s science fiction writer than to Norton. Otherwise it is typical of her work, having an indescribable tone of antiquity and mysticism while still making satisfying use of all the best science fiction memes of its day. Her worlds, and especially her aliens and lost civilizations, seem real yet not quite real, but surely they must exist somewhere. This mystical tone is the reason I enjoy Norton. As an added bonus, The X Factor fits in with much of the rest of Norton's universe in that it features a Zacathan, a recurring species in many of her novels most notably "The Last Planet."

  • James Eckman
    2019-02-27 10:31

    This is one of Andre Norton's classic 'misfit outsider' stories, Diskan doesn't fit into his adoptive family or his new home at all, being the physical and cultural opposite of that culture's ideals. He steals a spaceship and flees to a mysterious planet and through the subsequent adventure finds his true strengths. This criminal hero is very similar to other Norton works like Night of Masks and The Time Traders. This one has a very bizarre setting with some possibly fantasy elements that leads to a very ambiguous happy ending. An excellent read from the Queen of classic YA SF.

  • Chris
    2019-02-27 13:20

    A fun atmospheric space adventure. Whilst Norton does not here excel at dialogue she more than makes up for it with the journey around the dream-like planet and the journey Diskan makes to find where he belongs. Not the most original or groundbreaking work you'll read but more a good old fashioned sci-fi serial with some interesting things to say.

  • Jim Angus
    2019-03-02 17:25

    This is one of Andre Norton's more interesting books. Although it falls into the category of science fiction, it is clear that she is exploring some of the ideas that eventually blossom into her Witch World novels. Multiple layers to reality. Mind influencing matter.

  • Elaine
    2019-02-20 17:42

    another reread, this one from 1965. I think I liked it a whole lot better when I was younger - a misfit finding the place where he belonged.

  • Wayne Collins
    2019-02-18 12:20

    This was one of the greatest books I ever read and was the first I had read by Andre Norton. She really brought the characters to life and made you feel you were right there on their adventure.

  • John
    2019-02-17 13:30

    1979 grade B

  • Tamara Barringer
    2019-03-10 16:39

    Norton always writes these strange landscapes, ancient haunted cities, and conflicted heroes. I could have done without the constant hostility of the woman.