Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Planet of the Damned” as Want to Read:
Planet of the Damned
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Planet of the Damned (Brion Brandd #1)

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  1,153 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
A Classic Science Fiction adventure from the creator of The Stainless Steel Rat and Bill the Galactic Hero. Brion has just won the Twenties, a global competition that tests one' achievements in 20 categories of human activities. But Brion must leave his world to help salvage the world of Dis, the most hellish planet in the galaxy.
ebook, 289 pages
Published October 15th 1993 by Tor Books (first published 1962)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Planet of the Damned, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Planet of the Damned

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 18, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulp, sci-fi
PLANET OF THE DAMNED is classic sci-fi pulp in the vein of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs--namely, the kind of book I ate up back in high school: chock full o' rugged heroism, bad science, and cheesy romantic encounters. It's certainly not a story that would benefit from careful analysis, but, as long as you're willing to check your brain at the door, POTD is actually quite entertaining. And, though it may not be on par with Harrison's STAINLESS STEEL RAT novels, it's at least better written ...more
Kat  Hooper
Apr 26, 2013 Kat Hooper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

Brion Brandd has just become the champion of his planet by defeating all the other contestants in “The Twenties.” Many men train all their lives for a chance to be the winner and Brion is ready to savor his victory. But not so fast! When a former winner challenges Brion to do something truly meaningful and heroic with his life, Brion sets off to save the planet Dis from a war that will surely destroy the entire planet. Dis has a
"Violence piles on violence in as bloody and gutsy a yarn as we've had in a long time, and at the same time the picture of the extraordinary symbiotic relationships which the Disians have developed with the native life forms is rounded out. The author has done a masterful job of weaving the two threads of development together, and hanging the solution of the plot on a scientific puzzle: who and what are the magter? ... Top stuff, as you know if you read the original. The paperback expands, round ...more
David Caldwell
Feb 13, 2012 David Caldwell rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book reminded me of one of those 1950 or early 1960's sci-fi movies.One of those that has superman type of hero who is extermely tough, a genius,and just generally great in everything he does.Of course he has to be a man.And every leading man needs leading woman.The woman has to be smart, beautiful, and totally dependent on the leading man to solve the problem and make her a happy woman.Plus the story needs to have a lot of little things that date it(think outdated technology).Now this stor ...more
Apr 01, 2015 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flash Gordon couldn’t be any more the obvious touchstone here if the central character was named Dash Morgan.

A great athlete and champion of his world is recruited as an agent by a secret organisation and sent to deal with an inter-planetary conflict that could result in the destruction of two planets. At stake is nuclear Armageddon, the destruction of a peaceful utopia, as well the annihilation of a race of man which has evolved to fit in to a remarkable degree with his adopted home. You can se
Feb 05, 2012 Dylan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Planet of the Damned is bad, even for pulp. It's dated (anachronisms range widely, from everyone using radio to extensive casual sexism) and shallow, and combines uninteresting writing with no interesting ideas. The science is poorly integrated and poorly understood, the characters are as generic as possible, and the plot is entirely based on a massive group of brilliant, cooperative people being unable to foil the slapdash, barely concealed plans of a bunch of moronic technological primitives. ...more
Lee LeTourneau
Sep 18, 2014 Lee LeTourneau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about this book when reading an interview with John Carpenter about "Escape from New York," one of my favorite movies. I searched Amazon and saw that the kindle edition was free so I grabbed it.

A few pages in it seemed like it was going to be a pretty boring and flat read, but once Brion left Anvhar the story picked up very quickly.

The budding relationship between Brion and Lea was pretty predictable, but it didn't take away from the story which was loaded with more than enough ac
Al "Tank"
Nov 11, 2015 Al "Tank" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's far in the future and mankind has settled -- and adapted -- to a number of planets.Brion is a product of his particular planet -- in fact one of the best. He's become this year's champion (or "Winner") of the annual games. But another Winner wants him to go off-planet to save another planet's inhabitants. And this may be beyond even Brion's ability.

I'll definitely be reading this story again. Lots of action and a believable problem to be solved along with formidable obstacles to overcome. T
Apr 23, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Direct and no diversions from the basic story but with some interesting details to make it interesting. If you like the old SF books where the hero is uber-masculine and the female interest, well, beyond the female counterpart to said male - how could she live without him?? - then this is for you. If you want to judge by today's standards of writing to cater to sex-roles that are politically correct - look elsewhere. I find these old books quanit and nostalgic, and yes, silly as well. But what's ...more
Apr 20, 2015 Izzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-60-s
Very well crafted book asking some quite intriguing questions that are now even more valid than they were 55 years ago when Harrison conceived it.
Let it be on record that I find it a master stroke to make the aliens speak Danish with a few modifications. Aliens that turn out to be more human than we feel comfortable to acknowledge.
This is one of those ecological novels that make rank Herbert look like a copycat. There are only a few of those, but this one surely outranks anything Frank Herbert
Feb 24, 2008 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Hugo nominated in 1962, originally published in Analog Science Fact-Science Fiction as "Sense of Obligation." Brion has just won the Twenties, a global competition to test achievements in 20 categories of human activities -- but before he can enjoy his victory he's forced to leave his homeworld to help salvage Dis, the most hellish planet in the galaxy.

Free from
Eric Kammerud
Oct 08, 2015 Eric Kammerud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the Rat but,,,

Brian isn't the Stainless Steel Rat, but who is? A good quick read in classic Harrison style. Easily worth the time and money. I wit there were more like the Rat series, the exploits of Brion a and Lea would be fun to .follow.
Jul 30, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book holds up pretty well and isn't dated like other sci-fi stories from the 60's. Who knew that preventing war could be so entertaining. Still it has the standard hero with a love interests and mutants and some action too. Not bad for a $2 book from a drug store.
Jan 19, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harry Harrison is an awesome writer. His stories and characterizations are riveting. In this book, sports star Brion Brandd must stop a devastating planetary war between an irrationally-aggressive culture and their more even-keeled neighbors. A fun and great read!
Tim Priebe
Jan 15, 2011 Tim Priebe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent classic sci-fi story.
Planet of the Damned is a space opera, i.e. the focus is on a larger than life hero not on science, action not thoughts. Here it is Brion Brandd, whose empathic skills enable him to rescue a whole planet with 7 million inhabitants almost single-handedly. While doing this, his sidekick Lea, a young exobiologist from earth, runs through the whole cycle from refusal to finally wanting to marry him in a few days. In critical situations, her contributions are restricted to combing her hair, whining a ...more
Zantaeus Glom
'Planet of The Damned' (nifty title) is yet another zesty page turner by the inimitable sf trope-blazer Harry Harrison; a nimble writer of admirable brevity; as he seems able to weave an entirely gripping tapestry without wasting an iota of literary thread. Whereas I can well imagine a similar, but infinitely less amusing varietal would be written today with the additional unwieldy ballast of 500 pages! One can only surmise that lurking within many of the more sneering dismissals of this fine, e ...more
Jun 17, 2015 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every year one man on the planet Anvhar is declared Winner by competing in a month long Olympics-type competition, where each contestant participates in every event, including mind games, such as chess, literature and poetry writing, all of the usual physical sports, and finishes by competing in rough gladiator style fights (without the killing), battling one competitor after another until the last one left is declared Winner. We follow Brion, the most recent Winner as he is convalescing from hi ...more
Daniel Swensen
This book is very similar to Harrison's Deathworld. Not just for the basic plot of "planet full of primitive crazies who will kill you on sight," but also the opening hook, where a guy walks up to another guy and says "hey, leave the only life you've ever known to come help me out on this planet full of killer crazies" and the other guy says "let me think about it... well, okay."

While a fun read, Planet of the Damned really shows its age in terms of gender roles. The book's token female, ostens
Matthew Croisant
I always go into older science fiction expecting a "more than is currently normal" degree of overt sexism. This book exceeded my expectations. It didn't manage to hit the point where I just had to put the book down and leave, although it definitely skirted that line.

The plot is ... well, frankly it's more or less Deathworld 1, but not handled as well. There are some interesting ideas happening, but most of them happen off screen and aren't fully explored in the book (e.g. a planet with such a f
Dec 06, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2015-reads
I know it’s inevitably rife with sexism but I loooove classic pulpy sci-fi from the 60s and 70s. (So, fair warning, my ratings of it will always be higher than it deserves - DO NOT USE MY RATINGS AS A BASIS FOR READING ANY OF THIS ESCAPIST GARBAGE!) The brilliant and likable perfect block of manliness who can predict action five steps ahead and will ALWAYS win the fight and ALWAYS have the answer that has eluded the millions of experts before him; the helpless broad who - even if strong and inde ...more
Aug 30, 2012 Abi_88 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book kept me entertained from the very beginning. The only thing I didn't like was how quickly brion and lea hooked up. That part just didn't seem realistic to me. She was asking him to marry her, and he hardly even knew her, but I love that brion kept it real and said no. He showed a lot of common sense that others were lacking throughout the whole story. One chapter that really stood out to me was the one where the staff morale at the CRF is below the ground and brion decides to push the
David Meiklejohn
Brion has won his planet's sporting competition to become a Winner. He is approached by a previous Winner to take on a massive task: save an entire planet. The planet in question is a harsh place and the locals have adapted to survive. But there are a strange group of characters who run the place. And they've managed to get their hands on some bombs which they plan to send to the neighbouring planet. The neighbour is a civilised place but feels forced to destroy the first planet before they are ...more
Apr 14, 2016 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure this book was fresh when first written in 1962, and I see that it was a Hugo Nominee, so others thought highly of it. I will give high marks for the plot, but the intervening years really show a dearth of character development...

"Hello, nice to meet you."
"Hi. I think I'm falling in love with you."
"I love you too, but we can't get married, remember?"
"Oh, yes. I forgot. Well, goodbye."
"Goodbye. It was nice working with you."

I would like to tell you that was a synopsis, but it's almost a c
This was a pretty stereotypical science fiction novel from 1961 in that the man was a manly man in the style of John Carter of Mars and the woman was a 1960's damsel in distress complete with fainting spells and everything you could imagine.

Despite all that this was a good story that also had echoes of the Foundation Trilogy in it in regards the protagonists goal of manipulating societies at large and steering the course of planetary civilizations.

It wasn't fantastic but hey, it's free on Libri
Sometimes it's hard to get through these LibriVox recordings, but I was out of other audiobooks at the time and went ahead and started this one from a free app on my iPhone. If you can get past the amateurish readings (it's all volunteer work; these books are in the public domain), then the book has a halfway decent story, especially once you get into it. Of course, these free Harry Harrison books aren't nearly as good as his other books I've read (e.g., Bill the Galactic Hero). Are these free e ...more
Röbert Fenske
I decided to give this book a chance after I listened to an interview with John Carpenter where he said this was one of the influences on 'Escape from New York'. Perhaps this gave me high expectations for this book. It had some interesting ideas but overall didn't really intrigue me. I didn't care for any of characters or situations for majority of the book.

It had a pulp feel that reminded me of shows like Flash Gordon and Commander Cody. It has a hero coming in and doing the impossible to save
B. Zedan
Jul 22, 2008 B. Zedan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Folks who like a quick sf romp of war
That handful of cantos I read made me feel smart for a bit while reading this. The planet in question is named Dis, which is totally a circle of Hell. And get this: an extremely hot one. Which the planet is. There is some intrigue and an interesting bit about symbiotes and things. I gotta be honest here, I was thinking that Harrison was a different author when I downloaded this novel along with some short stories (all carefully researched to have no copyrights, more things from Astounding and th ...more
Simon Mcleish
Jun 28, 2015 Simon Mcleish rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Reading this immediately after Deathworld 1 was a mistake. The two novels share many ideas (a hostile planet with human colonists in danger of destruction, a man from elsewhere with a new viewpoint who looks to save the colonists from their situation), and Deathworld 1 is far superior. If I hadn't read that first, my rating would probably have been a 3.
Mar 10, 2010 Aaron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this on a few subway journeys on the iPhone (freely downloaded from using Stanza).

It's pulp-y and throwaway, a novel built around 2 or 3 nice ideas. The characters are paper thin, which is ironic given that 90% of them are bulge-muscled superheroes.

Instead of this, read Harrison's 'Deathworld'. The direct influence of that book is clearly seen in all kinds of subsequent sci-fi, most notably Avatar.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Brain Twister
  • The Pirates of Ersatz
  • The Whole Man
  • Who?
  • The Planet Buyer
  • Davy
  • Day of the Minotaur
  • A Plague of Demons & Other Stories
  • Immortality, Inc.
  • Footrot Flats 1 (Footrot Flats, #1)
  • The Butterfly Kid
  • The Enemy Stars
  • Here Comes Garfield
  • Invaders from the Infinite
  • Too Many Magicians (Lord Darcy, #2)
  • The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories
  • The Dueling Machine
  • Star Born (Pax/Astra, #2)
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey) was an American science fiction author best known for his character the The Stainless Steel Rat and the novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966), the basis for the film Soylent Green (1973). He was also (with Brian W. Aldiss) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction G
More about Harry Harrison...

Other Books in the Series

Brion Brandd (2 books)
  • Planet of No Return

Share This Book

“DIS ... DIS ... DIS ... it was a word it was a planet and the word thundered like a drum a drum the sound of its thunder surrounded and was a wasteland a planet of death a planet where living was dying and dying was very better than living DIS” 1 likes
More quotes…