Sunday, July 21, 2013

Murray Leinster's "Planet of Dread" (novelette, free): Adventure on a world of giant insects & fungi

One of the illustrations by Adkins accompanying the original publication in Fantastic Stories magazine of the short story Planet of Dread by Murray Leinster. Image shows adventurers fighting a giant ant on a far off world.How many variants of the excellent "The Mad Planet" (download) did Leinster pen? I know of at least two novelette or novella length sequels, plus a fix-up novel, besides the current one.

May be I've read too much of the series. It's readable & fast moving - among my faster finishes of a story of this length. But it's very pulpy & with sensibilities of a different era.

Story summary.

With mankind spanning the galaxy, a group of revolutionaries escape their world, & intend to lie low elsewhere for a while. During a port, their ship is hijacked by a local fugitive - the hero of the story who's eventually overpowered. For complicated reasons, they land of an uninhabited world to maroon the hijacker - only this world turns out to be a forgotten & unfinished terraforming job of mankind, & a nightmare world now.

They'll have adventure there, & strike treasure left by a shipwreck 150 years old, & finally all will end well.

Fact sheet.

First published: Fantastic Stories of Imagination, May 1962.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg.
Download audio read by Phil Chenevert from LibriVox. [via QuasarDragon]
Rating: B.