Goodreads ratings
3.6 / 5

"Cluster" Summary

By Piers Anthony

science fiction | 254 pages | Published in 1977

Flint, green-skin carver from Outerworld, saves tribe from Old Snout dinosaur. The Empire forces his high Kirlian aura into alien bodies - wheeled Polarian, slave to insectoid Canopian, tri-sex Spica water world, on dragon to court emulating Elizabeth I. From Andromeda, conquerors bent on destroying the galaxy, follows equally brilliant enemy assassin - female.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A group of strangers must work together to survive in a dangerous and mysterious world known as Cluster.


In the science fiction novel "Cluster" by Piers Anthony, readers are taken on an intergalactic adventure filled with mystery, danger, and unexpected twists. Anthony, a master storyteller, weaves together a captivating tale that explores the complexities of human nature and the vastness of the universe. With its thought-provoking themes and well-developed characters, "Cluster" is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Brief Synopsis

"Cluster" is set in a future where humanity has colonized multiple star systems and forms alliances with alien races. The story primarily follows the journey of Flint, a young man who unexpectedly finds himself at the center of a cosmic conflict. Flint is a Cluster, a genetically engineered individual with powers that make him both valuable and vulnerable. He is tasked with a mission to save the universe from an ancient and powerful enemy known as the Tar-Aiym.

The novel is primarily set in the Cluster, a vast network of interconnected planets and star systems. Each planet within the Cluster has its own unique ecosystem and inhabitants, adding depth and variety to the narrative. As Flint travels through the Cluster, he encounters different alien races, each with their own motivations and agendas.

Main Characters

FlintThe protagonist and a Cluster, possessing unique abilities.
MelodyA fellow Cluster and Flint's love interest.
TarbAn alien creature who becomes Flint's loyal companion.
Tar-AiymThe ancient and powerful enemy threatening the universe.
Alien RacesVarious alien races with their own distinct characteristics.

Summary of Different Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1: The Discovery

Flint, a young man living on Earth, discovers he is a Cluster and is transported to the Cluster by an alien spaceship. He meets Melody, another Cluster, who becomes his ally and love interest. They embark on a journey to learn more about their powers and fulfill their mission.

Chapter 2: Alien Encounters

Flint and Melody encounter various alien races within the Cluster, each with their own unique abilities and cultures. They form alliances and face challenges as they navigate through different planets, gathering knowledge and resources to combat the Tar-Aiym.

Chapter 3: The Tar-Aiym Threat

As Flint and Melody delve deeper into the Cluster, they uncover the true extent of the Tar-Aiym's power and their destructive intentions. They must strategize and gather allies to stop the Tar-Aiym from unleashing chaos and destruction upon the universe.

Chapter 4: Battles and Betrayals

Flint and Melody engage in intense battles with the Tar-Aiym and their minions, facing danger and betrayal from unexpected sources. They must overcome personal doubts and sacrifices to protect the Cluster and its inhabitants.

Chapter 5: The Final Confrontation

In the climactic final chapters, Flint and Melody confront the Tar-Aiym in a battle that will determine the fate of the universe. The stakes are high as they put their lives on the line to save not only themselves but all of existence.

Main Events

  1. Flint discovers he is a Cluster and is transported to the Cluster by an alien spaceship.
  2. Flint meets Melody, another Cluster, and they become allies.
  3. Flint and Melody encounter various alien races within the Cluster.
  4. They uncover the true extent of the Tar-Aiym's power and their destructive intentions.
  5. Flint and Melody engage in battles with the Tar-Aiym and their minions.
  6. They face danger and betrayal from unexpected sources.
  7. Flint and Melody confront the Tar-Aiym in a climactic final battle.

Themes and Insights

Exploration of Identity

The novel delves into the concept of identity, particularly through Flint's journey of self-discovery as a Cluster. Flint grapples with his newfound powers and the responsibility that comes with them, raising questions about the nature of identity and the choices we make.

Power and Responsibility

The theme of power and responsibility is explored throughout the narrative. Flint, as a Cluster, possesses immense power, and he must navigate the moral implications of using it. The novel prompts readers to consider the consequences of power and the importance of using it responsibly.

Cooperation and Unity

"Cluster" emphasizes the significance of cooperation and unity in the face of adversity. Flint and Melody must form alliances with different alien races, showcasing the power of collaboration and the strength that comes from diverse perspectives.

Exploration of Other Worlds

The novel takes readers on a journey through the Cluster, a vast and diverse network of planets. Through vivid descriptions and imaginative world-building, Anthony invites readers to explore other worlds and consider the possibilities of life beyond Earth.

Reader's Takeaway

"Cluster" is a thrilling and thought-provoking science fiction novel that combines adventure, complex characters, and philosophical themes. Readers will be captivated by the richly imagined universe of the Cluster and the moral dilemmas faced by the protagonists. The novel challenges readers to reflect on their own identity, the consequences of power, and the importance of cooperation in the face of challenges.


Piers Anthony's "Cluster" is a must-read for science fiction enthusiasts seeking a captivating and intellectually stimulating narrative. With its well-crafted plot, diverse alien races, and exploration of profound themes, the novel offers an immersive reading experience that will leave readers pondering the intricacies of the human condition and the vastness of the universe.

Cluster FAQ

  1. What is the book 'Cluster' about?

    Cluster is a science fiction novel by Piers Anthony that follows the journey of an alien named Flint who is tasked with exploring different planets and forming alliances to save his own planet from destruction.

  2. Who is the author of 'Cluster'?

    The author of 'Cluster' is Piers Anthony, a renowned science fiction and fantasy writer.

  3. Is 'Cluster' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Cluster' is the first book in a series of four novels by Piers Anthony. The other books in the series are 'Chaining the Lady', 'Kirlian Quest', and 'Thousandstar'.

  4. Is 'Cluster' suitable for young readers?

    While 'Cluster' is a science fiction novel that can be enjoyed by readers of various ages, it does contain some mature themes and content. It is recommended for young adult and adult readers.

  5. What genre does 'Cluster' belong to?

    'Cluster' is a science fiction novel that combines elements of adventure, space exploration, and interstellar diplomacy.

  6. Where can I purchase a copy of 'Cluster'?

    You can purchase a copy of 'Cluster' online through various book retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher's website.

  7. What are some other notable books by Piers Anthony?

    Piers Anthony is known for his extensive body of work in the science fiction and fantasy genres. Some of his other notable books include the 'Xanth' series, 'Incarnations of Immortality' series, and 'Adept' series.

  8. Are there any movie adaptations of 'Cluster'?

    As of now, there are no known movie adaptations of 'Cluster'.

  9. Is there a sequel to 'Cluster'?

    Yes, 'Cluster' is the first book in a four-book series. The subsequent books in the series are 'Chaining the Lady', 'Kirlian Quest', and 'Thousandstar'.

  10. What is the average rating of 'Cluster'?

    The average rating of 'Cluster' varies among readers. It is recommended to check reviews and ratings on book review websites or platforms to get a better understanding of readers' opinions.