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Next of Kin by Eric Frank Russell
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Next of Kin (original 1959; edition 1986)

by Eric Frank Russell (Author)

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242371,701 (3.94)8
Member:kencyrath
Title:Next of Kin
Authors:Eric Frank Russell (Author)
Info:Del Rey (1986)
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Next of Kin by Eric Frank Russell (1959)

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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
My own comment when I first read this in 1964 was "ridiculously funny." I now have all three versions, and my comment still stands.
The original is "Plus-X", the cover story of Astounding, April 1956 (and the cover is great). At 21,000 words, it was expanded to 41,000 words in 1958 as "The Space Willies," for the Ace Double with "Six Worlds Yonder." The added words basically detail how our fearless hero got into his predicament, and the original story fills out the final chapters. Finally, in 1959, Russell enlarged it again, to 48,000 words as the solo novel "Next of Kin." The extra words only affect the first 5 chapters, and don't materially affect the book. Perhaps the publisher needed something closer to 50,000 words.
A vaguely related story is "The Waitabits," a less-funny bit of insanity about another deep space scout, with the same assignment officer. It's in the same Ace Double in "Six Worlds Yonder," and all five of the other stories are unrelated stories about deep space scouts. ( )
  steve823 | Jun 28, 2011 |
John Leeming is a somewhat colourful space pilot, sent out to discover hostile planets during an interplanetary war.
When his spaceship breaks down, forcing him to land on an enemy planet, his quest to go back home begins.
All he has are his sharp wits... but oh my, he does use them, and quite hilariously so!

I bought this book when still in my teens (many, many years ago) and since then I' ve read it at least once a year-
and it has never failed to amuse me! ( )
  shireling | Feb 24, 2011 |
"A cruiser and four destroyers were escaping the combat area for the time-honoured purpose of getting between the enemy and his nearest base. In a three-dimensional medium where speeds were tremendous and space was vast this tactic never worked. It did not stop both sides from trying to make it work whenever the opportunity came along."

Humanity is one of a number of species fighting a vast interstellar war. John Leeming is a scout pilot, with an intolerance for bureaucracy and a sharp wit. Testing an experimental new super-fast ship, he is gathering information deep within enemy space when he is forced to land on an enemy planet. Taken prisoner, he has few tools to help himself survive -- only his wits and his understanding of how military minds work.

Originally written in 1959, this book comes from a time when spaceships were sleek, and had fins, and landed on planets. But in terms of fun and readability, this has aged well. It's a light-hearted adventure of one man against the system. A good, quick read. ( )
  RoboSchro | Apr 15, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eric Frank Russellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carlsson, PederTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chalker, Jack L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freas, KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKie, AngusCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, BarclayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Achtung!
Upon the cover the nominal publisher claims that this superb story was produced by Eric Frank Russell. It is a barefaced lie because his Eustace knows better.
He knew he'd stuck his neck out and it was too late to withdraw.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The short story Plus-X was expanded into The Space Willies/Next of Kin. The Space Willies was published in German and French translation as Plus-X. Don't confuse the original short story with the translations of the novel.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575072407, Paperback)

Scout-Officer John Leeming knew from the very start that his reconnaissance mission deep into enemy territory would likely be a one-way trip. But, after he crash-lands on a far distant planet and becomes a prisoner of ruthless aliens, he knows he can't just give up. Armed with only a piece of wood, a coil of copperlike wire, his quick wits, and an imaginary ally called Eustace, Leeming embarks on a brilliant campaign to gain his freedom--and undermine the alien war effort, too. This original, full-length version of one of Russell's most popular stories, "Plus X," is amusing, adventurous, fast moving, and razor sharp. Poking fun at bone-headed and inflexible bureaucrats and institutions, it ranks among his very best work.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:57 -0400)

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