Sunday, August 5, 2012

eBook Review: Lone Star Planet

H. Beam Piper, Lone Star Planet

Product Details

  • File Size: 181 KB
  • Print Length: 88 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004UK0GKK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)
  • Price: $0.00

1. Short review: 

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  Piper's satire. 
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? It tries to be a roller coaster, but most of the action happens in a courtroom, so it is a walk in the park threatening to become a roller coaster.
Free and worth the download.

2.2. What I did not like: Nothing. Once I got into the over-the-top satire, it was all good.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Science fiction fans. H Beam Piper fans.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes. There is killing, but it is not graphic.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book?  Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell:
     Stephen Silk, one of the Solar League's spies, finds himself appointed the Ambassador to New Texas to fill the vacancy left by the late Silas Cumshaw. Some inhabitants of New Texas killed Ambassador Cumshaw. Silk is to investigate Cumshaw's death and determine if the aggressive z'Srauff -- whom the Solar League suspects of planning to invade New Texas -- had a part in the murder. It becomes apparent to Silk that many who sought his appointment hope that this will get him killed, too.
     During his journey to New Texas, Silk familiarizes himself with the local political situation, with his personnel, and with the side-arms the League provided him. On New Texas, everyone goes armed.
     Soon after his arrival on New Texas, Silk finds himself locked in the Court of Political Justice. "[T]he defendant, Wilbur Whately, is here charged with political irresponsibility and excessive atrocity in exercising his constitutional right of criticism of a practicing politician." The defendant killed S. Austin Maverick, a practicing politician. The trial is not to determine if Whately killed Maverick -- that is stipulated -- but to determine if Whately acted 'excessively'. The Court of Political Justice puts the victim on trial for the crime of introducing to the legislature 'An Act for the Taxing of Personal Incomes, and for the Levying of a Withholding Tax.' Except there is no trial. What it amounts to is President Judge Nelson sua sponte takes judicial notice that Maverick put up such a bill. The judge frees Whately, pronounces that he himself would have killed Maverick had Whately not beaten him to it, and adjourns the court to go to the barbecue being given in honor of Silk's arrival.
     (I found this quite humorous. It amounts to codification of the famed Texas defense "Your Honor, the deceased needed killin'.")
     A couple of days later, three men -- Switchblade Joe Bonney, Jack-High Abe Bonney, and Turkey-Buzzard Tom Bonney -- are brought to trial in the Court of Political Justice for their part in the murder of Ambassador Silas Cumshaw. Judge Nelson allows Silk to enter into the proceeding as an amicus curiae. Silk presents evidence that the Bonney brothers acted as pawns of the z'Srauff. He then asks Judge Nelson to dismiss the action because Cumshaw was not a practicing politician within the meaning of New Texas law. (Silk does not want ambassadors subject to New Texans' acts of political dissent; that is, murder.) Judge Nelson agrees, frees the Bonney brothers, and hastily adjourns court. Silk guns down the Bonney brothers. 
     The Fleet of the Solar League intercepts the z'Srauff invasion force and destroys it. Silk marries a New Texas girl, goes native, and "is still active in politics on [New Texas], often in opposition to Solar League policies[.]"
 2.7. Other:
     This is in fact a novella (~22,000 words). The story was first published under the title A Planet for Texans. It is a stand-alone story and separate from Piper's Terro-Human Future History series and from his Paratime series.
     Authorial credit is also given to John Joseph McGuire. When I compare Lone Star Planet to other Piper stories, I believe McGuire may have written most of the story. It does not read like Piper's other work.

2.8. Links: 

2.9. Buy the book:  Lone Star Planet

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