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Zarathustra Refugee Planets #1

The Avengers of Carrig

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Once the city of Carrig stood supreme on this planet that had seen settled by space refugees in the distant, forgotten past. From every corner of this primitive lost world caravans came to trade -- and to view the great King-Hunt, the gruesome test by which the people of Carrig choose their rulers. Then from space came new arrivals. And with them came their invincible death guns and their ruthless, all-powerful tyranny. Now there would be no King-Hunt in Carrig, or hope for the planet -- unless a fool-hardy high-born named Saikmar, and a beautiful Earthling space-spy named Maddalena, could do the impossible . . .

160 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1962

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About the author

John Brunner

414 books392 followers
John Brunner was born in Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St Andrew's Prep School, Pangbourne, then to Cheltenham College. He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, and published it under the pen-name Gill Hunt, but he did not start writing full-time until 1958. He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Rosamond Sauer on 12 July 1958

At the beginning of his writing career Brunner wrote conventional space opera pulp science fiction. Brunner later began to experiment with the novel form. His 1968 novel "Stand on Zanzibar" exploits the fragmented organizational style John Dos Passos invented for his USA trilogy, but updates it in terms of the theory of media popularised by Marshall McLuhan.

"The Jagged Orbit" (1969) is set in a United States dominated by weapons proliferation and interracial violence, and has 100 numbered chapters varying in length from a single syllable to several pages in length. "The Sheep Look Up" (1972) depicts ecological catastrophe in America. Brunner is credited with coining the term "worm" and predicting the emergence of computer viruses in his 1975 novel "The Shockwave Rider", in which he used the term to describe software which reproduces itself across a computer network. Together with "Stand on Zanzibar", these novels have been called the "Club of Rome Quartet", named after the Club of Rome whose 1972 report The Limits to Growth warned of the dire effects of overpopulation.

Brunner's pen names include K. H. Brunner, Gill Hunt, John Loxmith, Trevor Staines, Ellis Quick, Henry Crosstrees Jr., and Keith Woodcott.
In addition to his fiction, Brunner wrote poetry and many unpaid articles in a variety of publications, particularly fanzines, but also 13 letters to the New Scientist and an article about the educational relevance of science fiction in Physics Education. Brunner was an active member of the organisation Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and wrote the words to "The H-Bomb's Thunder", which was sung on the Aldermaston Marches.

Brunner had an uneasy relationship with British new wave writers, who often considered him too American in his settings and themes. He attempted to shift to a more mainstream readership in the early 1980s, without success. Before his death, most of his books had fallen out of print. Brunner accused publishers of a conspiracy against him, although he was difficult to deal with (his wife had handled his publishing relations before she died).[2]

Brunner's health began to decline in the 1980s and worsened with the death of his wife in 1986. He remarried, to Li Yi Tan, on 27 September 1991. He died of a heart attack in Glasgow on 25 August 1995, while attending the World Science Fiction Convention there

K H Brunner, Henry Crosstrees Jr, Gill Hunt (with Dennis Hughes and E C Tubb), John Loxmith, Trevor Staines, Keith Woodcott

Winner of the ESFS Awards in 1980 as "Best Author" and 1n 1984 as "Novelist"..

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5 stars
7 (6%)
4 stars
30 (28%)
3 stars
53 (50%)
2 stars
12 (11%)
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3 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews
Profile Image for Ian.
381 reviews59 followers
October 16, 2020

Read this as the flip side of an Ace Double, with A. Bertram Chandler's "The Rim of Space (which was the main draw, frankly).

Brunner's book is a serviceable space opera, of the lost colony type. There are distant and faint echoes of Anne McCaffrey's Pern books in the story( lost colony where technology's forgotten; large flying lizards with an important cultural role), likely coincidental as Brunners' book came first.

It's early Brunner and more accessible than his later, experimental novels, i.e the "Club of Rome" books like "Stand on Zanzibar" or " The Sheep Look Up," but without the social commentary and innovative writing of those books. Still pretty good for what it is.

I wasn't going to review this read-long-ago novel, then my friend Zainab Queen liked my non review rating and I thought I better earn my keep 😊
Profile Image for Rodzilla.
79 reviews14 followers
August 23, 2019
***Note: Goodreads has really messed up the order of books in this series. A reader should read "The Avengers of Carrig" and "The Repairmen of Cyclops" is that order, since they occur in chronological order, with some of the same characters. One can read Polymath, a distant prequel, either before or after. But I recommend before, since there is a small spoiler for Polymath in "The Repairmen of Cyclops."

A pulp fiction novella upgraded decades later to a small novel form, this book has a very 50s/early 60s feel. Good plot-driven space opera SF. If written today would be 500 pages, but as is got the spare treatment of most novels of its time. Definitely dated, yet has a female character stronger than Polymath.

Despite that improvement, "The Avengers of Carrig" and "The Repairmen of Cyclops" are 2.5 star books, while Polymath is a solid 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Susan Butcher.
30 reviews
May 19, 2022
A planetary romance with interstellar intrigue and espionage. A medieval society on a distant planet chooses its political leaders by aerial combat with dragon-like creatures. This system is already somewhat corrupt, but off-world exploiters arrive to grab power and ruin things completely. On a last-chance assignment, agent Maddalena is sent to investigate the problem, but the project goes pear-shaped when she's stranded in the planet's polar region. Quite imaginative and entertaining, though the ending seems a bit rushed. Andre Norton fans might like this story.

(Chronologically the second of the Zarathustra series, but the first to be published. A revised full-length version of this story was published by DAW as "Avengers of Carrig". The characters Maddalena and Gus return in "Repairmen of Cyclops".)
Profile Image for Jörg.
321 reviews29 followers
December 21, 2021
A solid mix of fantasy and SF. Could have been an episode of Star Trek with humanity monitoring backward settlements on remote planets without intruding. It's not that those settlements have evolved independently from humanity. In fact, Carrig has been settled by a human spaceship crashed there. Since, this fact has been forgotten and only remains recognizable in legends.

Now, outlaws from a rogue planet disturb the balance on medieval Carrig by intervening with superior weapons to exploit the rich resources on this planet. Scouts of the Federation try to alleviate this, allying with selected locals without revealing their identity.

There are enough interesting ideas and the world building is sufficiently original to provide entertainment without any major plot holes or implausibilities. If you like Star Trek, you'll like this one.
Profile Image for Kent.
350 reviews2 followers
April 7, 2018
Based on the reviews of this book and the cover art itself, I thought I was in for a mediocre sci-fi novel about spacemen fighting dinosaurs, but I was very wrong and pleasantly surprised by this story. It ended up being a very interesting and satisfying story. It centers around planet 14, where the descendants of refugees that fled the planet Zarathustra live somewhat primitive lives. An outside power has usurped the throne and it is the job of some galactic agents and a cunning native to take back their city. That probably sounds pretty corny, but it's well written by one of the sci-fi greats. I feel it would make a good star trek episode plot.
797 reviews6 followers
November 24, 2021
A female spy from earth moves mong the colonists who fell back into primitiveness.

I am astonished about the bad rating here. If Robert A. Heinlein would have written this, it would have a rating of 3.80 or so
14 reviews
August 21, 2012
This was the first book I've read by John Brunner, a classic-era sci-fi author who bears a solid reputation if not the grandiose fame of some of his peers. I was initially intrigued by his work after seeing dozens of his novels heaping the sci-fi shelves at the local used bookstore. I chose this one at random.

My choice was somewhat fortuitous in that 'The Avengers of Carrig' is actually the first volume in a trilogy of novels taking place in the same story-telling universe, dubbed the 'Zarathustra Refugee Planets' series. The framework is pretty straightforward. A long time ago, a planet known as Zarathustra was forced to completely evacuate when its star turned supernova and put the planet on a short countdown. Some people managed to leave on time and were scattered about to different uninhabited planets, including the Planet 14 of this novel. Once there, unfamiliar environmental conditions and scarcity led to descents into 'dark age' primitivism. Over several generations, the history of their former civilization had become religious myth and no traces of their former technologies remained. Outside of these 'outer rim' worlds, most of the galaxy is incorporated into a federation of worlds that includes planet Earth and is known as the Galactica. A military/intelligence caste known as the Corps is charged with surreptitiously protecting the natural and organic development of planets (i.e. the refugee worlds mentioned above) from rogue planets and organizations that seek to exploit them for slave labor, natural resources, etc... Such an exploitative pirate venture provides the impetus for this story.

Brunner does a great job of building up Planet 14's medieval society, which contains trade caravans, mysterious 'equatorial' peoples, courtesans, bands of thieves, noble families with totemic lineages, superstitious peasants, and monasteries. At the hub of this civilization is the citadel of Carrig, which annually hosts a world-famous ritual hunt to determine which family rules the city. One warrior from each family is put forth to make a bid at slaying a flying beast called a parradile (basically a giant, somewhat intelligent pterodactyl), which is dutifully referred to as 'the King.'

For such a short novel, Brunner crammed in quite a few characters and managed to give most of them solid and simple character arcs. I liked the Earthling space-spy Maddalena Santos, who, at the beginning of the story, was on the verge of being discharged from the Corps for having an improper attitude with her comrades. As the story progresses and she ends up deeper in the dire situation on Planet 14, she's forced to both prove her full resourcefulness as well as become more mature. Brunner also does a good job tracing the arcs of some native characters, including a refugee noble and a disgraced former prince. Numerous other characters fill in the remaining parts, but are mostly one-dimensional in nature. This was a little bit of a drawback as regards the story's antagonists, who start out being pretty resourceful but turn out being little more than caricatures.

I plan on reading the other short novels that make up the full trilogy, as I enjoyed the politics and intrigue of this story and am curious to see where else Brunner takes the story universe. However, 'Avengers of Carrig' could easily stand on its own as a solid one-off adventure. It should also be said that Brunner is a very good writer with a particularly strong grasp on believable dialogue and respectable 'hard sci-fi' details.
Profile Image for Steve Rainwater.
167 reviews10 followers
December 10, 2021
A pulp story in the Zarathustra series.

This is an expanded version of a story that first appeared in the pulps. Survivors of a super nova crash land their spaceship on a planet, lose all their tech, and 800 years later have populated the planet with a busy medieval culture. Evil corporate types from a more advanced planet have found them and are taking advantage of their primitive superstitions and religious beliefs to loot the planet of valuable minerals. Good guys from Corps Galactia are aware something is up and send undercover spies to find out what's going on and set things right. Also there are pterodactyls.

Not a memorable or award-winning story. But if you get past the slow starting chapters, it's moderately entertaining.

Profile Image for C. Steinmann.
123 reviews
February 14, 2021
A long start, a long end, and missing the middle part at all. Nevertheless have to read it if you like ZRPs
Profile Image for Netti.
466 reviews12 followers
August 29, 2019
Science Fiction, first published 1969

This year the first new moon of spring fell early. In the hill passes the way was still slippery with ice. By day the travelers’ breath, and that of their beasts of burden, wreathed before their faces in transient curlicues, while the feet of the less fortunate grew numb inside crude straw-stuffed clogs from the soles of which a few nails protruded, hopefully to give extra purchase on the steepest stretches; by night, when the caravan made bivouac, water had to be got in the form of pailfuls of snow, which they melted down, shivering around tiny fires. The highland streams were still frozen, and there was no fuel except what they had themselves brought.

Mehr Fantasy als Science Fiction, eine unterhaltsame klassische Abenteuergeschichte ohne kitschige Love-Story und - erstaunlich für die 60er Jahre - relativ frei von Gender-Klischees.
Profile Image for Tentatively, Convenience.
Author 16 books191 followers
June 3, 2014
review of
John Brunner's The Avengers of Carrig
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - June 2, 2014

This is probably the 1st of the many Brunner bks that I've read that I have close to nothing to say about. It's probably also the 1st one that was generic enuf for it not to even seem like it 'had' to be written by Brunner. The back of the title p informs the reader that "A considerably shorter version of this novel appeared in 1962 under the title Secret Agent of Terra" (p 4)

If you're just looking for light reading to breeze thru w/o much caring, this is the Brunner for you. Otherwise, don't bother. The plot was enjoyable enuf, any significant writing about the bk wd have to reference the plot b/c there's so little else there. In other words, there're no remarkable esoteric references, there's no political subtext beyond the obvious good guys & bad guys, etc.. I reckon that for such a short bk it manages to bring in enuf varied environment & characters to be stimulating but, still, this is basically something just written to keep the author's bks rolling out there. It might fare better as a movie, one of those swash-buckling adventure yarns like "Star War[t]s" or "Dune[-Bunny]":

""I think," the young server said, and had to swallow nervously before going on—"I think it's a man. Hanging by some kind of harness under the parradile's body!"" - p 143
Profile Image for Bogdan.
673 reviews41 followers
January 6, 2012
Again this was one of the best sci-fi novels that I ever read. I never stop wondering how much wit and inventiveness writers put into sort of novels. I liked especially the mixture of middle ages civilizations, similar like Earth several hundred years ago, with space exploring civilizations. This was a new type of idea that I did not encountered very often in sci-fi novels.
My copy of this book is in Romanian.
Profile Image for Epichan.
146 reviews5 followers
September 19, 2017
Kral seçme yöntemleri çok ilgincime gitti. Birde burada geçen akıllı-vahşi uçan yaratıklar ve olay örgüsü Avatar filmindeki gibi değil mi?
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews

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