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Ultima Thule

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  52 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Ronny Bronston wanted to see the galaxy -- and he asked to. But the work turned out to be a search-and-arrest mission -- and he was supposed to arrest Tommy Paine!

The real, historical Tom Paine was quite character. But this fellow was slipperier, cleverer, more revolutionary -- "and" he hopped about the galaxy like a flea with the hot-foot!
Paperback, 84 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Aegypan (first published March 1961)
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Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'd give this a bit under 4 stars.

The premise of this novella is that humanity's expansion out to the stars was often motivated by groups of people who wanted their own planet for their chosen form of political, economic or religious society. As a result, the various planets have radically different cultures which would see each other as misguided. They are held together in a confederation with the number one rule of non-interference with each other.

Ronnie is hired as a new agent of a United Pla
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book - and that's a rare thing for me to be able to do these days. I'm glad I listened to it because if I was reading I might have put it down and not gone back. Given that the story was originally published in 1961 it shouldn't be surprising when I say - there are a lot of very dated bits in this book. No - seeing 50 or more years into the future nobody will get everything right, but more than that the social changes that have come about since then just highlight those detail ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mankind was exploding through this spiral arm of the galaxy. There was a racial enthusiasm about it all. Man's destiny lay out in the stars, only a laggard stayed home of his own accord. It was the ambition of every youth to join the snowballing avalanche of man into the neighboring stars.
It took absolute severity by Earth authorities to prevent the depopulation of the planet. But someone had to stay to administer the ever more complicated racial destiny. Earth became a clearing house for a tho
Since this was public domain (available at and I assumed it was an early (pre-1923) science fiction story. I was wrong. It's a 1960 story that somehow became public domain.

About a guy who wants to join the space patrol, or star police, or whatever the hell they called the interplanetary government agency in this book. And then he gets his first assignment. And he's DISILLUSIONED.

It's not deep, though it thinks it is. I guess one reason I look down my nose at a lot of
Mark Dewey
This is a great science fiction story. I highly recommend it. It's rather short (about 30k words), so it's a quick read (about 2 hours of listening if you get the free LibriVox recording that I did—see the book link above).

Anyway, there are a lot of ideas seen in this story that future authors (such as Orson Scott Card, in /Speaker for the Dead/) revisit. It reminds me of a mix between the said Card book and /The Scarlet Pimpernel/, with the perspective all switched around. It's kind of a myster
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable quick read on "school" night.
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
has aged very well, still interesting and thought provoking
Marts  (Thinker)
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Who or what is Tommy Paine and what is the secret of Section G, Ronny Bronston soon finds out...
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
Nice short amusing science fiction novella.
And, as it was FREE, for download on the Kindle, I certainly got my money's worth.
Will be checking out some more Mack Reynolds science fiction soon.
Richard Givan
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a provocative novella which makes you think about colonization and types of government.
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John Velona
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Dallas McCord "Mack" Reynolds was an American science fiction writer. His pen names included Clark Collins, Mark Mallory, Guy McCord, Dallas Ross and Maxine Reynolds. Many of his stories were published in "Galaxy Magazine" and "Worlds of If Magazine". He was quite popular in the 1960s, but most of his work subsequently went out of print.

He was an active supporter of the Socialist Labor Party; his
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