Review: Deathworld 1 by Harry Harrison

Deathworld 1 by Harry Harrison
JD's Rating: 5 out of 5 bookmarks

Book synopsis, courtesy of Orbit Books:
The planet was called Pyrrus...a strange place where all the beasts, plants and natural elements were designed for one specific purpose: to destroy man. The settlers there were supermen...twice as strong as ordinary men and with milli-second reflexes. They had to be. For their business was murder... It was up to Jason dinAlt, interplanetary gambler, to discover why Pyrrus had become so hostile during man's brief habitation...

I am not a huge science fiction fan, but I really enjoyed this classic sci-fi tale. There is lots of action as well as plenty of standard sci-fi fare such as interesting gadgets and gizmos and interplanetary travel. There are interesting creatures on the various planets, some who are like pets and others who are beasts of burden, but there are also many other species of animals that are hostile towards the human occupants.

The most compelling part of the book to me was the great characters, especially the protagonist, Jason. He's a fascinating character that I really liked getting to know. Kerk, Meta, and others were also fascinating characters.

Despite the ominous sounding title, the book is not as dark as one might expect. The title is mainly a reference to the large number of animal species that are a continual threat to the humans on the planet of Pyrrus. There is some violence and there are several deaths with a couple being a bit graphic, but not egregiously so. There is a small romantic element, though it doesn't go much past flirting and a couple of kisses.

This is really a character-driven story with some really interesting ideas that are explored. I look forward to reading the next books in this trilogy. I'd recommend this to any fan of sci-fi and to the general reader who really likes stories with interesting characters and themes that get you to think.

Deathworld 1 is the first of a trilogy. The three volumes were also followed by a short story. Here is a complete list of the works:

Deathworld 1 - originally simply Deathworld, first published in 1960
Deathworld 2 - originally titled The Ethical Engineer, first published in 1964
Deathworld 3 - originally titled The Horse Barbarians, first published in 1968
The Mothballed Spaceship - short story, first published in 1973

J.D. Sutter is the producer and host of the Bookworm Banquet podcast and editor of the blog. He is the founder of Porchlight Family Media, a network of quality audio programming and review blogs based in Phoenix, AZ.

J.D. Sutter

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