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Retief of the CDT (Jaime Retief Series #6) Paperback – June 2, 1981

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 6 of 16 in the Retief Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (June 2, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671434063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671434069
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,174,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Camp on November 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Perhaps this might be an appropriate place to note how much fun Keith Laumer must have had concocting the names for some of his officials in the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne (CDT). In _Retief of the CDT_ (1971) alone, we have Ambassador Clawhammer, Colonel Saddlesore, Cultural Attache Pennyfool, Abassador Grossblunder, Ambassador Flushbottom, Ambassador Wroxwrath (who would rather send the fleet to war than yield a point of etiquette), and the Undersecretary for Extraterrestial Affairs Thunderstroke. The readers know in an instant what to expect of these characters. Retief's immediate superior, Ben Magnan, has a less ridiculous name. True, he is a Company Man and a beaurocrat to the core. True, he is a coward. But Mr. Magnan manages to rise to the occasion at the most unlikely of times and save the day. And (though we sometimes overlook this), he is Retief's friend. He deserves a better name than Straphanger or Underdog or Puffbumble.

_Retief of the CDT_ is the eigth Retief book and the fifth Retief collection. It consists of five novelettes from _If_, published between 1969 and 1971. They are: "Ballots and Bandits," "Mechanical Advantage," "Pime Doesn't Cray," "Internal Affair," and "The Piecemakers".

In the first tale, the Groaci have been driven off Oberon-- but that does not prevent the local alien bullies from trying to control the elections. It's up to Retief to untangle things. The second story is set on a planet loaded with artifacts of junk. There _might_ be a treasure hidden on it, but those pesky Goaci and some killer robots keep interrupting any hunting parties. The third tale is set on a planet where the natives speak a kind of modified Pig Latin.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read this as a teen, and felt it was a wonderfully written, hilarious collection of short stories. When I found out the author actually worked in the foreign service it makes these all the more special. I recall reading a full-length book that just didn't match the short stories, but I highly recommend this book in particular. The insanely outrageous situations and the twists that happen in them are feats of imagination. Just be aware that they can be a bit tedious: In one story the language devices used by the locals mixed the consonants up, and reading the conversations can be hard, but well worth it.
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Format: Paperback
A quick search of the web didn't reveal much about the authors' time as a diplomat, but the elements of his experience that peek through this and other Retief stories are what make them most enjoyable for me. Although I first read and enjoyed this book in Junior High School, it wasn't until my later service in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and Israel/Syria (UNDOF) that I came to appreciate the similarities between the United Nations and the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne. Farcical bureaucracy, inefficiency, a focus on process rather than "doing the right thing"...it's as if Keith Laumer was around today and viewing the UN's pronouncements on North Korean attacks on the south, their inaction in Syria, and their installation of known despot nations on Human Rights panels!
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Once again, Jaime Retief delights by deflating the pomposity of our world's pretentious managers, diplomats and politicians in the guise of the Terran Corps Diplomatique in a series of pithy short stories. A must read, as fresh now as it was in the 1960s and 1970s. I'm still searching for the story about Refief and Mangan on a world beset by volcanic activity (mostly mud volcanoes), with a fragile ecosystem, where the mud rats delicately balance the crab grass, which holds the mud world together. Another pompous head diplomat arrives with rat poison and then chaos results. Anyone out there know the title of this short story. Great for reading to high school ecology students as an introduction!
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