Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Harry Harrison's "The Misplaced Battleship" (novelette, crime, free)

Quote from short story titled The Misplaced Battleship by Harry HarrisonThis is a juvenile action story. Fast paced, not a moment of boredom.

Story summary.

Someone with evil designs has subverted the bureaucratic system on a world called "Cittanuvo. Second planet of a B star in Corona Borealis". And have managed to get a massive & super-capable "late Empire battleship of the Warlord class" built in secret. The ship is of a 1000 year old design - back from warring times, & is way more capable than even the military stuff of these peaceful times.

Then there is a smart aleck, a recently-hired military cop from "Special Corps", & the narrator, Jim diGriz, who can think like criminals & was the first to detect something fishy. But conspirators are a step ahead. The ship lifted off the construction docks before he reached there with cops. He will ultimately trap the conspirators.

Story also features a super-competent robot. With many of its capabilities described in some detail. And touches upon the theme of space piracy. And features professional telepaths ("psimen") used for cross-galactic instant communications in facilities akin to telegraph offices of yore!!


  1. '"Secrecy can be an obviousity." What the magicians call misdirection. Let people very obviously see what you want them to see, then they'll never notice what is hidden.'
  2. "Like many other planets, this one was uniform-conscious. Delivery boys, street cleaners, clerks--all had to have characteristic uniforms. Much prestige attached to them".
  3. "If there are two choices to take, take the simpler."
  4. "False modesty is the refuge of the incompetent."

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding Science Fiction, April 1960.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg or Manybooks.
Rating: A
Listed among the stories from John Campbell's Astounding/Analog.