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Lone Star Planet Paperback – May 19, 2013
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Originally published as A PLANET FOR TEXANS in the magazine FANTASTIC UNIVERSE (Vol. 7, No. 3, March 1957), this novella was expanded by John J. McGuire and published as a short novel in 1958.
This work is a clear and obvious tribute to H.L. Mencken's classic essay "The Malevolent Jobholder" (from THE AMERICAN MERCURY, June 1924), in which Mencken proposed:
"...that it shall be no longer malum in se for a citizen to pummel, cowhide, kick, gouge, cut, wound, bruise, maim, burn, club, bastinado, flay, or even lynch a [government] jobholder, and that it shall be malum prohibitum only to the extent that the punishment exceeds the jobholder's deserts. The amount of this excess, if any, may be determined very conveniently by a petit jury, as other questions of guilt are now determined."
In 1999, the novel won the Prometheus Award, Hall of Fame Award for Best Classic Libertarian SF Novel. This tongue-in-cheek tale features a planet of Texans whose dinosaur-sized cattle have to be herded with tanks and helicopers, and whose system of government derives its character from Mencken's essay.
The protagonist is an insubordinate Terran junior diplomat who is appointed as ambassador to this cantankerously independent planet in the hope that he will be assassinated (as the previous ambassador had been), thereby justifying the forcible invasion and conquest of the Texans. The crux of the story is the trial of the previous ambassador's assassins - actually paid killers hired by an alien empire also planning invasion - under a legal system that considers the killing of a practicing politician to be justifiable homicide.
An interesting premise, carried out with typical '50s-style space opera ingenuity and light-hearted disrespect for government authority.
2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked: Piper's satire.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? It tries to be a roller coaster, but most of the action happens in a courtroom, so it is a walk in the park threatening to become a roller coaster.
Free and worth the download.
2.2. What I did not like: Nothing. Once I got into the over-the-top satire, it was all good.
2.3. Who I think is the audience: Science fiction fans. H Beam Piper fans.
2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read? Yes. There is killing, but it is not graphic.
2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? Yes.
2.6. The plot in a nutshell:
Stephen Silk, one of the Solar League's spies, finds himself appointed the Ambassador to New Texas to fill the vacancy left by the late Silas Cumshaw. Some inhabitants of New Texas killed Ambassador Cumshaw. Silk is to investigate Cumshaw's death and determine if the aggressive z'Srauff -- whom the Solar League suspects of planning to invade New Texas -- had a part in the murder. It becomes apparent to Silk that many who sought his appointment hope that this will get him killed, too.
During his journey to New Texas, Silk familiarizes himself with the local political situation, with his personnel, and with the side-arms the League provided him. On New Texas, everyone goes armed.
Soon after his arrival on New Texas, Silk finds himself locked in the Court of Political Justice. "[T]he defendant, Wilbur Whately, is here charged with political irresponsibility and excessive atrocity in exercising his constitutional right of criticism of a practicing politician." The defendant killed S.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great story. Not many of our politicians would fare well if we had the same legal system.Published 1 month ago by Russ Keenan
This is the first I've ever read by Piper. His writing in this story reminded me of a combination of Heinlein and L. Neil Smith. Very entertaining, especially for a native Texan.Published 2 months ago by H. Scoggins
A very enjoyable SF novel, light in tone with some laugh out loud moments. If you are a Texan, you should read this! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sleazey
If you haven't read H. Beam Piper's works you should. Hands-down THE best absorbtive reading I know of.Published 7 months ago by History Fanatic
Brilliantly constructed story with the premise that it is legal to gun down a politician who has not taken the wishes of his constituents into account.Published 9 months ago by bruce
A comedic libertarian rant from the golden age of science fiction.Published 20 months ago by Henry John Lacaze