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Deathworld Paperback – March 11, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 137 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Harry Harrison is the author of numerous books including Make Room! Make Room!, Return to Eden, and The Stainless Steel Rat series. He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (March 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932100415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932100419
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started this story in an old issue of Astounding Stories that was kicking around - and was very happy to find the rest of it on Kindle. A quick read, really a novella. A solid page turner with lots of action, fun plot twists, and a satisfactory ending. If you like old Heinlein's I think you will like this.
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Format: Paperback
I read and re-read my original paperback containing the three novels until it was tattered and torn. I recently received a shipment containing many of my old books, including this one. When I saw its condition, I wanted to replace it, but found it was out of print. Then I stumbled on a copy of this edition in a specialty bookstore and had to have it.

The books are classics -- the main character, Jason dinAlt, is a gambler and a scoundrel, with an ability to influence luck in his favor. He's recruited to help raise money for the inhabitants of Pyrrus, and has to follow the girl sent to arrange the deal to see the place for himself.

In the second book, dinAlt is kidnapped by a self-righteous man angry at his home planet's making dinAlt a hero, inspiring others to gamble. He plans to take dinAlt back to face trial, but things go awry and they both end up enslaved on a primitive desert world. DinAlt's luck and knowledge allow him to survive.

In the third and final book, many of the key people from Pyrrus join dinAlt in taming other planets. Their first assignment is a tough one, a planet of fierce nomadic warriors. DinAlt must learn their ways in order to defeat them.

This volume also includes "The Mothballed Spaceship", a short story featuring dinAlt and other Pyrrans not included in the original volume.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This was Harry Harrison's first novel and I can remember reading it in high school, when it originally appeared in ASTOUNDING (which is also why it's rather short for a novel). It was popular enough to engender a couple of sequels, though most fans probably identify Harry first with the "Stainless Steel Rat" series.

It's interesting, by the way, to read a science fiction novel written fifty years ago (and a bit appalling to realize that's how long it's been). For one thing, it always surprises me that virtually no SF author of that time predicted computers or any other form of digital electronics, and their idea of miniaturization was laughable by today's standards. The starship pilots do the math for plotting a hyperspace jump in their heads, assisted by a calculator. (Writing a decade earlier, Heinlein's pilots used slide rules.) You would expect folks like that to be experienced predictors, but it almost never happened.

Jason dinAlt is a professional gambler with a knack for winning far more often than he loses -- with the assistance of an undependable psi talent. He takes on a commission from a representative of the planet Pyrrus to build a very large take into a huge sum at the casino on another world, which he duly accomplishes. Pyrrus, he's told is the deadliest world ever to be colonized by humans and the money is crucial to its survival. Jason has basically run out of challenges in his life and after hearing this description, he decides to go and take a look for himself. And Pyrrus certainly lives up to its reputation: Every living thing there, from the microorganisms and the grass on up, seems intent on killing the colonists. And if the fauna and flora don't do you in, the tectonics and the climate will.
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Format: Paperback
I refer to Deathworld and the others in the triology everytime someone asks me to recommend a SF classic. Believe it or not, I still have the fan magazine where it was first published. Unfortunately, this was the high point of Harry Harrison's career. The Stainless Steel rat series was good (but should have died several volumes earlier), and so was Soylent Green; but Harrison never again captured the magic that was Deathowrld... and I believe I have read and own them all.

Imagine a planet where the grass has curved, needle sharp tips, you sit on a rock and the lichen tries to get you, all the animals have one thing in common - kill the human invaders. Imagine that to survive you need to attend a pre-school for colonists and your survival skills never extend beyond "first grade". This is Deathworld.

If you never read another SF, at least read his finest - Deathworld.
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Format: Paperback
This if the first book in what was a very popular trilogy in the early and mid-sixties. In Death World, the author, Harry Harrison introduces us to our hero, Jason dinAlt a professional gambler, adventurer, gadabout and something of a cad. He also introduces us to the first of the three Death Worlds. This first world is one that has evolved in a way that is absolutely hostile to humans. The plants, animals, bacteria, weather, etc. are in a state of continuous war, all directed toward humans. An encounter with even the smallest creature or most innocent looking plant can mean instant death to the unsuspecting or unprepared human. Interestingly, the life forms of the planet are constantly evolving and evolving very quickly, in order to overcome any efforts the humans might make to defend themselves.

On the other side, the humans who inhabit this planet, who came there to start a mining colony in the distant past, have developed almost superhuman traits, in order to survive. They are strong, fast and their technology has developed for the sole purpose of survival. They are the ultimate survivalists. Harry, through a series of circumstances is taken to this planet and becomes quite involved with their struggle, even though he is completely unfit to live for even ten minutes on the surface of this world.

This is a very well written world, full of adventure and action and is funny at the same time. The author's sense of humor constantly shines through and is reflected in his writing. Not only is the plot rather good, but Harrison is a master in character development. You actually get to know, in a very short time, each of the characters, and for good or bad, actually like them.

For a good, rather fast and fun read, you could certainly do worse than this.
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