Friday, September 23, 2022

49. Deathworld 3 by Harry Harrison

The third Deathworld had some cool action and adventurous moments, but the overall appeal of this series is somewhat lost on me by this point.  The main idea that drives it seems to civilize the uncivilized so we can exploit their resources, which is colonialism as far as I can tell.  Here, Jason is getting bored and desperate with the planet Pyrrus as the city's population is slowly but inexorably reduced by the constant attacks by the planet.  He comes up with a plan to take a giant starship to an abandoned mine and I guess make a ton of money so they can find a new place to live.  The mine planet has a really cool geography; the mine is on the north side of giant cliffs that split the long narrow sole continent.  This is an arid, mountainous land of savage barbarian nomads (who drove away the original mine owners).  Jason's plan is to infiltrate them and then somehow take over and change their culture so they will accept the presence of offworlders exploiting their natural resources and disrupting their migratory culture.  By the end, he succeeds but in a much more destructive way involving helping the north invade the more advanced south.  Really quite horrible in a certain sense, but it is all presented as an intellectual challenge and a clever victory for narrator Jason DinAlt.  I think Harrison was a pretty progressive guy for the time.  This book feels much more in line with nerd individualism fantasy.  Despite the questionable morals, the middle of the story is as fun as the first two, with a cool, well thought-out setting.  There are also some well-told battles and cool tech.  It feels like Jason DinAlt did not really justify a series and it petered out on its own.

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