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March 2nd, 2012, 11:27 AM
I am looking for a book/series that I remember from the late 80's, early 90's. It was a story about a planet colonization. One of the main characters was a robot named Ash (not the one from Alien). Indigenous life included miner worms. It was book 1 of a possible series. in the end of the book, one of the colonists ended up traveling lost down a river through a amazonian type of forest. the book came out in paperback sometime around the same
time as the Rama books. the expedition crew was not attacked. there was a
scene in the book where the robot saved someone's life while they were
dynamiting an area to make a bridge or dam. the miner worms were non
violent and would deposit "gifts" of precious ore when given something I
cannot remember. the woman floating down the river in the last half of the
story was Russian? and encountered an intelligent alien near the end that
was able to control her somehow. I have been trying to find this book and
its sequel for years. it had a cliffhanger ending so a sequel was probable.
it was also a pretty good size book say 400+ pages. the author probably would not be a well known one

March 3rd, 2012, 08:53 PM
Look at A Gift from Earth by Larry Niven.

It doesnt seem to fit all of the details you remember, but Im just going off of the synopsis on Wikipedia. Humans colonizing a planet, using bio-engineered 'mining worms', and at the end they do encounter aliens.

excerpt about the worms:

A mining worm is five inches long and a quarter inch in diameter, mutated from an earthworm. Its grinding orifice is rimmed with little diamond teeth. It ingests metal ores for pleasure, but for food it has to be supplied with blocks of synthetic stuff which is different for each breed of worm - and there's a breed for every metal...

What breaks down the ores is a bacterium in the worm's stomach. Then the worm drops metal grains around it's food block, and we sweep them up.

The food block sounds alot like your 'gifts' when given something.

Apparently this book kicked off his Ringworld series, so there was certainty a sequel to this.

March 5th, 2012, 03:42 AM
I have read pretty much everything by Niven. I know for certain that is not it, the book you are referring to is more about an insurgency than it is about exploring a planet and there are no Amazonian forests on Mount Lookitthat. Thanks for taking the time to respond though!