Corazon or bust! The newly discovered planet Corazon has just been opened to prospectors, and ruthless Senator Bartholomew wants only one man to stake a claim for him. But this man - veteran explorer Captain Henry - will have no part of the venture. As conqueror of several planets, and now 135 years old, he longs for retirement and relaxation. Blackmailed, however, by the Senator into rejuvenation treatments, and commitment to the new mission, Henry shrewdly devises his own scheme for revenge...
John Keith Laumer was an American science fiction author. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, he was an officer in the U.S. Air Force and a U.S. diplomat. His brother March Laumer was also a writer, known for his adult reinterpretations of the Land of Oz (also mentioned in Keith's The Other Side of Time).
Keith Laumer (aka J.K Laumer, J. Keith Laumer) is best known for his Bolo stories and his satirical Retief series. The former chronicles the evolution of juggernaut-sized tanks that eventually become self-aware through the constant improvement resulting from centuries of intermittent warfare against various alien races. The latter deals with the adventures of a cynical spacefaring diplomat who constantly has to overcome the red-tape-infused failures of people with names like Ambassador Grossblunder. The Retief stories were greatly influenced by Laumer's earlier career in the United States Foreign Service. In an interview with Paul Walker of Luna Monthly, Laumer states "I had no shortage of iniquitous memories of the Foreign Service."
Four of his shorter works received Hugo or Nebula Award nominations (one of them, "In the Queue", received nominations for both) and his novel A Plague of Demons was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1966.
During the peak years of 1959–1971, Laumer was a prolific science fiction writer, with his novels tending to follow one of two patterns: fast-paced, straight adventures in time and space, with an emphasis on lone-wolf, latent superman protagonists, self-sacrifice and transcendence or, broad comedies, sometimes of the over-the-top variety.
In 1971, Laumer suffered a stroke while working on the novel The Ultimax Man. As a result, he was unable to write for a few years. As he explained in an interview with Charles Platt published in The Dream Makers (1987), he refused to accept the doctors' diagnosis. He came up with an alternative explanation and developed an alternative (and very painful) treatment program. Although he was unable to write in the early 1970s, he had a number of books which were in the pipeline at the time of the stroke published during that time.
In the mid-1970s, Laumer partially recovered from the stroke and resumed writing. However, the quality of his work suffered and his career declined (Piers Anthony, How Precious Was That While, 2002). In later years Laumer also reused scenarios and characters from his earlier works to create "new" books, which some critics felt was to their detriment:
Alas, Retief to the Rescue doesn't seem so much like a new Retief novel, but a kind of Cuisnart mélange of past books.
-- Somtow Sucharitkul (Washington Post, Mar 27, 1983. p. BW11)
His Bolo creations were popular enough that other authors have written standalone science-fiction novels about them.
Laumer was also a model airplane enthusiast, and published two dozen designs between 1956 and 1962 in the U.S. magazines Air Trails, Model Airplane News and Flying Models, as well as the British magazine Aero Modeler. He published one book on the subject, How to Design and Build Flying Models in 1960. His later designs were mostly gas-powered free flight planes, and had a whimsical charm with names to match, like the "Twin Lizzie" and the "Lulla-Bi". His designs are still being revisited, reinvented and built today.
A coming of age story -- for the supporting character. This was written back around 1967 and starts out a bit slow, but not for very long. The principle characters are off a running rather quickly and the bad guys are hovering in the metaphorical background until around half-way through. Like most SF novels of the time, it's on the thin side (around 50,000 words?), so the action isn't interrupted by long dissertations designed to fill space (although there's a couple of scenes toward the end that get drawn out a bit longer than I liked).
Still, the story is entertaining and the ending is exciting. What more can you ask for?
Classic 60s adventure SF in all its blemished glory, i.e. manly men performing heroic deeds with woman in supporting roles. Planet Run is a combination of space western and survival story with a dash of very dirty politics and a coming of age story. Written by Keith Laumer and Gordon Dickson, I think I would credit Laumer with the cynical political tone while Dickson probably supplied the high adventure aspects. A fun read for us old fogeys, but a bit dated.
This edition also contains two shorts, one by each author. Once There Was a Giant is a tale like Last of the Mohicans combined with a survival story. It's very cynical, normal for many of Laumer's stories. The other story, Call Him Lord by Dickson, has the Galaxy Emperor's son(No Democracy in Space!!!) come to Earth as a trial of his worthiness to rule. The Empire needs Earth around as a touchstone of what true humanity is. (Colonialism?)
review of Keith Laumer & Gordon R. Dickson's Planet Run by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - January 8, 2015
My rule for myself is to never have more than a maximum backlog of 3 recently read unreviewed bks. When I started reading this one I had FOUR. I 1st read Laumer's writing w/ Time Trap in June of 2013 (see my review here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16... ). I liked it & proceeded to pick up as many bks of his as I cd find thinking I'd continue to enjoy his writing.
8 bks & a mere mnth later, in July of 2013, I'd breezed thru enuf easy reading to make me disgusted so I stopped w/ the Laumer for awhile. 8 mnths later, I was back to Laumer again w/ a review of his The Invaders 2: Enemies from Beyond in February of 2014 (see my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6... ). I started off that review thusly:
"This is about as low as my reading habits get. It's tempting to write a review of this that just makes excuses about WHY I'd read such crap. That wd actually strike me as pretty funny. SO, I'll incorporate that into the review (but it won't be exclusively that)."
So, yeah, it's time to make excuses again. The bks in my personal library are very well organized & there are thousands of them. My collecting is faster than my reading so unread bks accumulate in piles on my floor. To get them off the floor, I've put the unread SF haphazardly & horizontally on top of the vertically placed SF organized on my bk shelves. Every time I see these disorderly bks they're a reminder to me that I shd read them & get them put in their alphabetical & chronological place. I see reading them as a JOB to be gotten over w/.
9 of these unread bks are Laumer's. Reading a Laumer only takes a day or 2 - even when I'm busy otherwise. SO, reading the Laumer's is a way of getting part of my JOB done w/o having to waste too much intellectual energy otherwise. I know, I know: it's a stupid reason for reading a bk considering how much better stuff I have laying around neglected. At least this one was coauthored by Dickson, whose work I haven't previously read, so I can feebly justify reading it by saying that I've read someone new.
That sd, NAH.. it wasn't very good, I've been reading too many coming-of-age SF novels lately (Rite of Passage, The Inverted World, Space Cadet) & I've liked them all more than this one - wch isn't quite a coming-of-age story but has the naive young character going thru the trials of fire under the guidance of the very old experienced warrior-type.
Sd warrior-type, Henry, is the main focus. At 1st he has an old friend:
""How old are you, Amos?" Henry asked abruptly.
""Huh? I'm lesee, a hundred and fifty-two."
""How long since your last Rejuve?"
""Forty-five, forty-six years." He leaned forward, his old eyes bright." - p 18
Amos seems potentially interesting but the authors kill him off right away:
""He's dead, Captain," the thin-faced man said. "The Rejuve treatment—it was too much for him. He died four hours ago. I did all I could . . ."
""You gave Amos a Rejuve? Why, you damned fool!"
""But—he said those were your orders—"" - p 26
That's a tiny spoiler but I don't think it matters much. Henry doesn't want to go to Corazon but Senator Bartholomew tries to blackmail him into it. The plot thickens when Henry manipulates the Senator into sending his son along:
"Henry's eyes were sharp under white brows. "You want me to go to Corazon. Sure, I'll go—but not unless your Statistically Average son goes with me."" - p 22
That's a nice touch & I reckon there are enuf of such nice touches to make it so I'm not completely dismissive of the overall bk. There're others, like: "But Henry scarcely heard him. He was already walking toward the mirage-like scene. A steady flow of warm air pushed into his face, bringing an odor of spring." (p 79) & the quoting a poem by Kipling (highly appropriate).
Nonetheless, I'm thoroughly sick of these stories of tough-guys-w/-principles-endure-torture-&-come-out-triumphant even when I agree with sd principles, blah, blah.. The world is entirely too full of guns & killing & it doesn't make any sense to pretend it's not there but it seems more & more that people just thrive on this shit & can't think enuf outside the box of endless mayhem.
I have been reading Keith Laumer for just about as long as I can remember reading science fiction. This book has always been one of my favorites, so when I was packing up boxes of books to send to my library-owning partner, Larry, I held it back to savor one more time.
The setting: The planet Corazon, discovered decades ago, has been under quarantine until the present day, when the Planetary Survey has released it for a "Run". Every hornswoggling, backstabbing, swashbuckling son-of-a-gun in the Galaxy will be there to try to claim the best land for himself, or for the interests which he represents. Captain Henry, formerly of the Survey, was along on the voyage which discovered Corazon. He is now retired, living a life of ease on Aldorado, enjoying watching his great-granddaughter, Dulcie, grow into a young woman. It has long been rumored that he found a treasure trove of precious jewels on Corazon, bolstered by the fact that he occasionally sells a perfect specimen to finance his quiet life, and Dulcie has been seen wearing a necklace of precious stones on special occasions, not the sort of thing a retired spaceman could afford on his own.
Senator Bartholomew of Aldorado thinks he has the means to blackmail the captain into undertaking one last planet run, with the fact that Henry returned to the planet several times, illegally, the last time returning just barely too late to save his wife from a terminal illness the treatment for which the gemstones in his possession could have paid. But Henry turns the tables and puts his own twist on their agreement. Bartholomew's nephew, Larry, who has a bright future in Aldoradan politics, is a bit of a fop, but Dulcie is quite taken with him. Captain Henry decides he's either going to make a man out of the boy, or break him in the process, and tells Bartholomew that he'll undertake the run, if Larry goes along with him to help, and if the proceeds are split between Larry and Dulcie 50/50.
So Henry and Larry go off on one of the greatest adventures of all time, rootin' tootin' and shootin' their way through the claim-jumpin' lily-livered villains and varlets. It has a great surprise ending, too.
Kieth Laumer can write a hard boiled dystopia like no man before or since. He is the man who single handedly forced me into reading science fiction. If you are unfamiliar with Laumer, you can imagine a Ray Bradbury mixed with a generous dollop of Dashiell Hammett. This guy packs the dystopian future with protagonists who are light on words but heavy on action, and what we get is a fast paced page turner of a book.
Planet Run tells us about an interstellar gold rush. In the far future, the universe is over-saturated with people, so when the government decides to lift a settlement ban on a pristine world, people will do anything to stake a claim.
To make matters even better, also included in this volume is the Laumer short story 'Once There was a Giant', which shows how human greed and shortsightedness can be one of humankind's great follies.
From start to finish I couldn't put this down, and since that day I have been not only a Laumer fan, but also a science fiction fan.
Planet Run is great read by two masters of Science Fiction, Keith Laumer and Gordon R. Dickson. This is classic Science Fiction at it's best. It also contains two short stories. The first is "Once There Was a Giant" by Keith Laumer and "Call Him Lord" by Gordon R. Dickson. Planet Run is the story of an old space adventurer who takes a fourth rejuve to get back his youth and strength even though it will probably shorten his life to a year or two. He then takes his granddaughter's fiance with him to stake a claim on a new planet and also to turn her fiance into a man. Thus the adventure begins. "Once There Was a Giant" and "Call Him Lord" are both very entertaining short stories and both are object lessons in how to live an honorable life. I recommend this book to all lovers of classic Science Fiction.
Take one ornery very-old planet pioneer and rejuvenate him for one last Land Rush on the last frontier planet within 100 years of FTL travel. Throw in a green-horn untested politician's kid, who's the intended of his great-granddaughter who is the spitting image of his late wife, as his sidekick. Now 'Go Galactic West Young Man'! This 'High-Tech mixed with the gritty wild-west frontier' story of survival, endurance and character refining hardships is a great tale from the Laumer and Dickson duo. Highly entertaining, cliched, gritty, and downright fun! I call it a Great Read!