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Siege Perilous by Lester Del Rey

Siege Perilous

by Lester Del Rey

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Fred Hunter is the only permanent resident of the American space station/missile platform. A major industrial accident renders him physically incapable of returning to Earth gravity. He has to watch other people come and go on tours of duty only a few months long. The reason for the short duty is that a couple of years previously, Paulson, a former Commander of the station, totally lost his mind, and was that close to launching missiles at Earth.

One day, Hunter sees unknown people, in spacesuits, in the office of Jeffroe, the temporary Commander. All the other station personnel have been rendered unconscious by gas. If this is an invasion, it's a very quiet one, with no explosions or gunfire. Hunter manages to hide, along with Callaghan, a crewman who managed to miss the gassing, and Sandy, a scientist who was working in vacuum at the time.

The invaders are not very smart, and they talk like they have seen far too many westerns and gangster movies. Everyone is either "varmint" or "pally." Tapping into the internal intercom system, one of the invaders removes his helmet. It's Paulson, or someone who looks exactly like him. "Paulson" sends a message to Earth; surrender unconditionally, or we start firing. The three manage to stay away from the invaders, and do their best to keep them on edge, by, for instance, turning the heat way up, or turning on the internal sprinklers.

This is a pretty good novel about three people going up against unknown invaders, and it's worth reading. Just because humans considers movies about war with Mars to be total fiction, that does not mean that an alien civilization will treat them the same way. ( )
  plappen | Mar 19, 2009 |
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