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Deathworld 2 by Harry Harrison

Deathworld 2 (1964)

by Harry Harrison

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I love old school science fiction. These are a little bit dopey, but still a lot of fun. Lots of good gaming ideas. ( )
  bibliosk8er | Aug 16, 2018 |
Another good story by Harrison. In some ways I liked this one even better then the first one. Guess that's why I'm giving this one 4 stars. Great imagination. Our protagonist is in constant conflict with bad and/or unwise characters on less then ideal worlds. This is a theme in which Harrison excels. ( )
  ikeman100 | Feb 4, 2018 |
Human beings have come to inhabit a world that is completely toxic to them. Gravity is twice normal, weather is brutal, geologically the planet still seems in an early stage of formation with constant volcanic eruptions and frequent quakes, and most importantly, all animal and plant life is venomous and hostile. In the beginning, the novel gives some hints of how society morphs to adapt to such an environment, and I thought that would be an idea to pursue further--but that is not this book.

Turns out this book has an old-fashioned moral to it. It's not a bad moral, and it's one that's relevant to our times (as I'm sure it would have been to many times in the past).

The moral comes in the penultimate chapter, and the book would have been a fine one if it had just ended there. We've had plenty of adventure and suspense to this time, and the moral makes a fine capper. But then a final chapter becomes overly preachy. Too bad. It was fine as it was. ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
Originally posted at FanLit.

Deathworld 2: The Ethical Engineer is the second of Harry Harrison??s novels set on Pyrrus, the planet that tries to kill most humans who set foot upon it. In the first DEATHWORLD novel, space rogue Jason dinAlt discovered the secret of Pyrrus and negotiated a very tense peace between the planet and its two human colonies.

Now Jason has a new problem. A man named Mikah, who represents the religious Truth Party, has arrived to arrest Jason for fleecing casinos across the universe. The purpose is to display Jasonƒ??s decadence and sinfulness so that they can topple the government of Cassylia which has been using ƒ??Jason Three-Billionƒ? as a poster child to advertise their casinos. Mikah kidnaps Jason and on their way back to Cassylia for trial by the Truth Party, they are shipwrecked and enslaved on a planet that sports a curious mix of primitive tribal cultures with varying degrees of technological advancement. Jason must use his knowledge and skills to get them off the planet.

Harry Harrison is great when heƒ??s writing pulpy science fiction adventures with roguish protagonists. I loved the first few books of his STAINLESS STEEL RAT series, which were just that. But sometimes Harrison decides to acquire an agenda and whomp us over the head with it. This happened with some of the later STAINLESS STEEL RAT books (I stopped reading them because of it) and itƒ??s happened here in Deathworld 2.

In this case, Harrison wants to show us that people who believe in some sort of Truth are just wrong. Thatƒ??s fine. I donƒ??t agree, but itƒ??s fine with me if Harrison takes that viewpoint. The problem here is that itƒ??s so badly done. Harrison makes his point in two ways. First by making Mikah, Truthƒ??s proponent (and an obvious Straw Man), a ridiculous idiot who gets frustrated with Jason and keeps resorting to calling him names such as ƒ??Limb of Satan.ƒ? Second by defending his no-Truth argument merely by having it said over and over by a character weƒ??re supposed to think is smart and knowledgeable because heƒ??s suddenly a brilliant engineer. There is no substantial discussion, just a back and forth like this:

ƒ??There is no Truth, no Life, no Mankind. At least not the way you spell them ƒ?? with capital letters. They donƒ??t exist.ƒ?

Mikahƒ??s taut skin contracted into a furrow of concentration. ƒ??You will have to explain yourself,ƒ? he said. ƒ??For you are not being clear.ƒ?

ƒ??Iƒ??m afraid itƒ??s you who arenƒ??t being clear. Youƒ??re making a reality where none exists. Truth ƒ?? with a small t ƒ?? is a description, a relationship. A way to describe a statement. A semantic tool. But Truth with a capital T is an imaginary word, a noise with no meaning. It pretends to be a noun, but it has no referent. It stands for nothing. It means nothing. When you say, ƒ??I believe in Truth,ƒ?? you are really saying ƒ??I believe in nothing.ƒ??ƒ?

Gosh, it sounds like Terry Goodkind, doesnƒ??t it? Both characters become self-righteous zealots who constantly interrupt the action to bore us with long meaningless lectures about the nature of Truth. This made it impossible to enjoy the story and I ended up skimming a lot of it. I hope DEATHWORLD will get back on track with book 3.

Iƒ??m listening to the audio version of Deathworld 2 that Jimcin Recordings produced in 2011 and which was just produced on CD and distributed by Brilliance Audio. Jim Roberts does a fine job with the narration. His rhythm is stilted sometimes, but he has a good voice for this sort of story. ( )
1 vote Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
This book is possibly better than Deathworld One, although I find Mikah's character intensely annoying. That's probably ok though, because he's meant to be annoying. Oh $DEITY is he successful. This was another good fun light read, the kind of Harrison I enjoy.

http://www.stillhq.com/book/Harry_Harrison/Deathworld_Two.html ( )
  mikal | May 10, 2009 |
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All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, Universal good;
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
—Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man
For John W. Campbell without whose aid this book – and a good percentage of modern science fiction – would never have been written
First words
Jason dinAlt looked unhappily at the two stretchers as they were carried by.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Currently known SSNs for this work are:
0722143516; 0722144172; 0722144849; 2277211508; 3453305418;
8085384051; 8787757001; 9637457968; 0441142699.

Alternate titles:
The Ethical Engineer;
Appsala. Le monde de la mort, tome 2;
Die Sklavenwelt;
Druhá planeta smrti : Druhá samost. část světoznámé trilogie o planetách smrti;
Slavernes verden;
Halálvilág 2.
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Jason dinAlt has been kidnapped and is being returned to the planet Cassylia to stand trial for his crimes. But en route the space ship he is on crash lands on a planet inhabited by men who have lost much of their technology. It is up to Jason to find a way to stay alive and get off planet. Can he succeed in leaving this new Deathworld?… (more)

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