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Four-Day Planet by H. Beam Piper, Science Fiction, Adventure
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About the Author
Henry Beam Piper (1904 - 1964) was an American science fiction author. He wrote many short stories and several novels. He is best known for his extensive Terro-Human Future History series of stories and a shorter series of "Paratime" alternate history tales.
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Not a good book for adults, but more for teenage sci-fi enthusiasts. Had I known that, I would not have read it at all.
Points that are often pointed out:
i) some Piper's characters smoke heavily or drink liquor
ii) most of them wear guns and actually shoot at people or at least around them
iii) women play no important role in the plot
I am not sure whether Fenrisians should be tobacco and liquor free or use some more fancy stuff, whether they should shoot laser beams or abstain from violence and shoot arrows of love instead of bullets, whether women should play some minor role or dominate the plot completely, but there seems to be unanimous agreement about Four Day Planet being rather fifties-ish. Gee, it feels just fine as it is.
This book, published in 1961, was intended for the young-teen market and is plagued with stereotype characters and a wooden plot that limps along to a conclusion that has been telegraphed since the first chapter. The story of a fisherman's co-op plagued by dishonest leaders on an alien world is just plain dull. The fishermen hunt a whale like fish for a unique wax that is exported via the corrupt co-op. A fearless cub reporter equipped with a carbine and sleeping-gas cigarette lighter and a secret agent disguised as the town drunk bring the malcontents to justice and head off a civil war.
As a fan of Piper's books I plowed through this early work to satisfy my curiosity since it is such an obscure title. After it's initial 1961 printing in hard cover it was not republished as a paperback until 1979. Today the book is in the public domain and it can be downloaded to an e-reader for free.
I would definitely not recommend this title to new readers but suggest reading "Little Fuzzy" or "The Cosmic Computer".
Also recommended from Piper's Terrohuman Future History are his novels Uller Uprising,Little Fuzzy,Junkyard Planet, and Space Viking, and the anthologies Federation and Empire edited by John F. Carr.