Deathworld by Harry Harrison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When professional gambler Jason dinAlt is hired to run a stake up into the billions by some colonists, he is intrigued by tales of their world and opts to return to it. However, Pyrrus is the most hostile world in the universe, with every life form bent on the extermination of the colonists, even the plant life.
I read a few of Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat books years ago and decided to give this one a try. It was free on the Kindle so the price was right.
Deathworld is a tale of man vs. environment. Is it better to tame the wilderness or live in harmony with it? That seems to be the theme of the novel.
Jason dinAlt is a gambling scoundrel, probably a literary descendant of C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith. Jason goes to Pyrrus out of curiosity and winds up leading a revolution of sorts.
Deathworld, aka Pyrrus, is a heavy gravity world where the plants and animals are trying to kill the colonists and have been for centuries, evolving at a frightening rate. The colonists continually try to exterminate the hostile life forms and keep on colonizing. Sound familiar?
The story kicks into high gear when it becomes apparent that the colonists aren't the only humans on the planet and the core theme is really driven home.
Even though there's an ecological message, it's not heavy handed and even people who are anti-environment will find it entertaining.
It's a pretty slim book and I don't want to blow all the surprises. It's a fun read and doesn't feel as dated to me as a lot of its contemporaries. Three out of five stars.
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