Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Planets Of Adventure - by Murray Leinster

Planets Of AdventurePlanets of Adventure is a collection of two novels and some short stories, comprising classic works of early science-fiction from the 1920s up to the 1950s…
The Forgotten Plant - This tells the tale of a world which was, by chance, "mislaid" by he galactic bureaucracy. Its terraforming project left incomplete, it evolved into a nightmare planet of giant insects and spiders. When a space-liner crashes on the world, the human survivors and their descendants have to learn to survive this version of hell.

The Forgotten Planet was Leinster's rewrite and novelization of three previously published novellas: The Mad Planet (Argosy, June 1920), The Red Dust (Argosy, April 1921) and Nightmare Planet (Science Fiction Plus, June 1953). This is classic B-movie stuff with giant, man-eating spiders and forests of enormous mushrooms.
The Planet Explorer - As humanity spreads throughout the galaxy, the colonization of new worlds is strictly monitored and controlled. As often happens, what appears to be an apparently hospitable planet may well contain undiscovered dangers. It's the job of the Colonial Survey Office and one man in particular to help avert these disasters.

The Planet Explorer started off as four separate tales: Sand Doom (Astounding, December 1955), Exploration Team (Astounding, March 1956), Critical Difference (Astounding, July 1956) and The Swamp Was Upside Down (Astounding, September 1956). Leinster rewrote them to give them all the same protagonist and then re-issued them under the name Colonial Survey in 1956 and then as The Planet Explorer in 1957. We get to follow Senior Colonial Survey Officer Bordman through his career as he has to deal with four of these "problem" worlds.

The other five tales (Anthroplogical Note, Scrimshaw, Assignment on Pasik, Regulations and The Skit-Tree Planet) are short stories published in various magazines between 1947 and 1957 but each is a science-fiction gem and well worth reading.

Murray Leinster (aka William Fitzgerald Jenkins) is one of the fathers of science-fiction writing and this little collection, compiled and edited by Eric Flint and Guy Gordon, is a cracking example of his work.

Okay, some of these stories may feel a little dated but that's what they are. This is a galaxy where rocket ships still land vertically on their tale fins, robots are clanking automata and advanced alien civilizations can still fall foul of a common cold.

Genre: Science-Fiction
ISBN: 0-7434-7162-8
My Rating: 8/10

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