Wednesday, October 4, 2023

To the Stars #03 - Starworld

Along with series titles like Stainless Steel Rat and Bill, the Galactic Hero, Harry Harrison wrote a number of science-fiction and fantasy novels during his long and respected career. I've concentrated on reading the author's trilogy To the Stars, Homeworld (1980), Wheelworld (1981), and today's topic, Starworld (1981). 

The story so far is that Earth is completely ruled by the rich that have established a two-class one-world government administered by the United Nations. You have the rich controlling everything, including Earth's far-reaching “territory”, a series of slave planets that serve as manufacturing and service for the lower-class Proles. A whiz engineer named Jan figures out that Earth is hiding human history and is seized by the authorities and sentenced to death on a farming planet. All of this is captured in the first book, Homeworld.

In Wheelworld, Jan orchestrates an uprising on the farming planet to usurp an old woman's rigid authority. Her concept of being complacent and living to serve Earth with harvests of corn is overthrown by Jan's forward-thinking, liberal approach to do things in a more democratic way. Jan later discovers that his short uprising on Earth led a series of events that have forced Earth into a war with the only country not participating in the one-world government, Israel, as well as rebels from all of the slave labor planets. On the last page of Wheelworld, Jan joins the rebellion to take down Earth's power-hungry leaders.

Starworld is a buzzsaw filled with non-stop action as Jan and other patriots form a strategic plan to organize the rebellion into a fighting force. This fertile story-line incorporates a lot of different elements ranging from espionage to military combat. At the root of Harrison's riveting narrative is a dilemma facing Jan – he must learn to trust the man who murdered his sister (events that occurred in Homeworld). Enhancing the plot development is preparation for a spacecraft battle and overtaking a military base in the Mojave Desert. Jan also has a romantic relationship with a woman that plays a key part in the rebel's success.

Once you've read Homeworld and Wheelworld, you get the idea where this novel is heading. It's much more epic than the two prior installments and often places Jan in a minor role for some of the developing plot. While the military campaign and ultimate war seems like a grand spectacle, the novel is still less than 200 pages, so an org chart or notes isn't a requirement. This is lightweight science-fiction for casual genre fans. Recommended! 

Buy a copy of the book HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment