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Savior of Fire Paperback – December, 1991

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Editorial Reviews


An astonishingly gentle, adamantly principled parable about what happens after you hear, 'we're from the government and we've come to help!' and what to do about it once it happens. -- L. Neil Smith, author of Pallas, quoted in Laissez Faire Books catalog, October 1993

Boardman's 294-page novel started out with a bang, literally, as the bad guys blew up a sun to destroy the good guys Boardman has clearly established that we are about to read of two different worlds and the very different paths the civilizations will follow. His words, concepts and style echo Isaac Asimov, especially Asimov's humor. -- Jim Banke, writing in Florida TODAY, 2/16/92

I've just finished reading Robert B. Boardman's Savior of Fire and enjoyed it very much. Its message is obviously one which would be attractive to our readers. -- ndrea Millen Rich, President of Laissez Faire Books, in a letter to the publisher

It's not often that an important work of philosophy takes the form of an author's first science fiction novel. Savior of Fire is an enjoyable romp as a work of fiction. Its science isn't terribly hard and the characters are brilliantly conceived, so it might be classed as New Wave. But it is much more. You've just got to like a story that opens with a line like, At noon the sun exploded. To come upon an author with the intestinal fortitude to start with a supernova and move on from there is a rare thing -- I'm convinced that the first line alone is worth the price of admission. Savior of Fire is clearly meant to be read for enjoyment. Yet underlying this good read is a carefully crafted, well-developed economic philosophy. Entrepreneurs and liberty-minded individualists will love this story as much for its high regard for capitalistic values as for its readability. Not since Atlas Shrugged has the novel been used to evoke a philosophical point so delightfully. Savior of Fire's characters are fully dimensioned, excellent studies of humanity who grow and evolve through the story. By paying attention to his characters and creating strong ones, Boardman succeeds in making Savior of Fire even more poignant. The planet Fire is inhabited by human beings. In the 22nd Century, visitors from Earth arrive, study the fairly advanced civilization of Fire and decide to send help. Fire is already quite successful economically and technologically, but lacks what the antagonist Gordon Boston calls an advanced spiritual outlook. Boston sets out to help the Firelings help each other. In this way, Boardman sets up an intriguing commentary on life in America. The point Boardman is making is best served if the people of Fire are human beings just like those of Earth. Rather than belabor the point with some sort of unskillful prehistoric tale that gives gas pains to any paleoanthropologist reader, Boardman plays with early historical myths for his explanation, which is at once lighthearted and acceptable. He makes his point that Earth and Fire are populated with the same species without resorting to complexity. Rather, he openly invites the reader to play along and see what results. He clearly wants to challenge anyone who says that the economic system under which the people of Fire have flourished wouldn't work for Earthlings. One of the central characters is an economist named John Maynard. That name seems appropriate when you realize that Boardman is criticizing some of the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, the British economist whose work was the basis for the governmental intervention typified by the New Deal. If economics is a science, then this book represents economic science fiction at its best. It becomes only natural that the economist should play a central and eventually heroic role. I realized how very much I liked not only the book but also the people of Fire when John Maynard explains to the antagonist, On the planet Fire, Gordon, the people do not have, never have had, and don't even understand the concept of -- taxes. Naturally, the social balance of Fire is considerably upset when the Earthlings arrive. Adding to the irony, it is a cabinet-level, United States Department of Space Exploration mission which finds Fire in the 22nd Century. The space program is clearly an extension of the current, government-oriented, jet-jockey-dominated, space-for-the-elite program of today. It was the ability of the people of Fire, led by their heroine, to overcome the challenges of the bizarre economics of Earth that was the best part of this book for me. It suggests that there is some hope for changing the system we live under. -- James E. Davidson, Chairman and CEO, Interglobal Paratronics, Inc., writing in Prometheus Magazine, Spring 1996

From the Back Cover

What did the Earthlings bring that was so dangerous? In the year 2156, explorers from Earth discovered Fire, the fifth planet found beyond out Solar System that had intelligent life. Fire's people were so advanced that they used solar power satellites and were mining nearby planets. Physically the natives to Fire even looked like us. But there was a difference, so subtle that it passed without notice until the Earthlings had spent several years sharing their knowledge with the citizens of Fire. And a little knowledge was a dangerous thing.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Note Pubns (December 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878398113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878398116
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,150,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a very entertaining book. The underlying theme is similar to James Hogan's Voyage to Yesteryear (another very good book) or Eric Frank Russell' And Then there Were None.
It is a case of a world that has evolved without the force and fraud that necessarily accompanies the imposition of the state on society. The the do gooders arrive and decide that they must "help" these poor deluded free happy souls with the trappings of the state: subsidized transportation, voting, taxes, police thugs, and so on.
If you are frustrated with the shriveling of freedom in the face of our own do gooder fascists here on earth, you'll enjoy this read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jimi Dracutt on January 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I feel this book described the errors of mankind and just being human. What would humans of earth do if they happen to find other humans on another planet. This book displays a scenario of what might actually happen. Robert B Boardman is a good writer. He pulled off a good story of economics, politics and especially greed, in which, I feel is happening in our society today. I think he hit the nail right on the head with what our current government is acutually doing. I would of gave this book a five but it lack a little bit of "Umpff", other than that this book is entertaining
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