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A very good story with a extremely bright protagonist versus paranoid and scared people. The story has no real violence or sex just good tension and action. The tale has aged well. The recording is clear and the narrator is well spoken and easy to listen to.
A classic, although maybe just because Murray Leinster made is so.
Of course there is a modest hero who singlehandedly saves 3 planets. The dilemma he faces seems impossible to solve with satisfaction for both threatened civilizations. At least 1 or even both will be destroyed in the erupting conflict unless a simple medic in his small spaceship comes up with a solution. It is a race against the clock which accounts for a large part of the tension that is maintained throughout the story. Dodging bullets and waiting for the results of medical experiments contribute but are more like background noise.
Between the interactive bits with the several planets there are large stretches of isolated travel in space. Murray Leinster calls them the boring parts, but he describes them thus that the reader keeps his attention glued to the book. There is a lot of information to absorb but the author makes it fascinating reading.
It’s odd to have read a story like this after a summer spent watching nearly all of Star Trek TNG, because I wasn’t able to stop considering WWPD (What Would Picard Do?).
One thing I’m certain Picard would NOT have done is be such a smug, patronizing sexist. Yikes, but Calhoun annoyed me! He’s a good example of a character whose intentions are good, and who wants to do the right thing, but who’s just not especially likeable. He was an idealist who kind of went rogue and did his own thing–something he really believed in–and that’s admirable, but as the story went on and he said things like, “Maybe, just possibly, they’ll listen to me and act sensibly,” I got more and more annoyed and wanted to just smack him. When he told Maril that she, “…wouldn’t want to be a heroine. No normal girl does,” and then went on to explain that her boyfriend wouldn’t want to marry her if she were a hero, I wanted to stop reading.
Much of this should be blamed on the narrator, who says things like, “Not every woman could have faced the fact that a man did not feel impelled to make passes at her.” SHUT UP, ass! The narrator said it, but it made me dislike Calhoun more and more.
Sexism and patronizing self-righteousness (and “Gary Stu-ism) aside, I liked the story. I appreciated the exploration of race and prejudice–especially considering the story’s early place on the sci-fi frontier, and the way it sort of presaged the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This World is Taboo by Murray Leinster
Learn English through stories with subtitles/text
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