Keith Laumer’s long and varied career as a science fiction writer has seen all manner of interesting stories come and go. No matter what you think of his writing style, his ideas are as varied as one could possibly wish for.
Some of his books are better than others, like any writer, and I want to say that if you have enjoyed anything he has written, you owe it to yourself to find a copy of this book.
Now, I don’t want to spoil the story – I don’t consider it the job of a book reviewer to tell you the plot, or even tease you with a little bit of the plot – so you will find no spoilers here. Instead, let me tell you that the book will leave you thrilled and awed, not to mention envious.
This isn’t a new book, and it is so easy for SF to become dated. But that doesn’t happen here, because although the story is certainly set in such a way as to be basically unrecognizable to us as “here” and/or “today.” For the vast majority of the work, Laumer pulled off what few SF authors manage. That is: create a book without any significant anachronisms or techno-blunders, areas where modern technology obsoletes an idea or even a plot line. The book actually reads just as well today as it did when it came out. Perhaps even better.
So… if you’re looking for a galactic odyssey, or a galactic adventure, this is the book to get and read. Prime, grade-A good stuff from one of the most productive and interesting times for science fiction.
By the way, when young people express an interest in SF in book form, this is the first book I give them. Hooks ‘em every time. Every time.