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David Starr: Space Ranger (1952)

by Isaac Asimov

Other authors: Paul Couturiau (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lucky Starr (1)

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7281123,023 (3.22)1 / 7
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» See also 7 mentions

English (8)  Italian (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Having not long since read Frank Herbert's high-concept sci-fi epic, Dune, I've just read Asimov's juvenile sci-fi adventure, Space Ranger, the first in his series about David Starr, a man so perfect he could be one of E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensmen.

Asimov has done little that transcends his '50s USA-centric point of view, and with few changes, this could be a Western story about cattle barons and cowboys, trying to screw one another over, while having to adhere to a manly frontier code. And it is all men, apart from a vaugely female disembodied voice. How do they pass those long, cold Martian nights down on the farm?

The story reeks of imperialism, colonialism and capitalism, not my favourite flavours, but it is set on Mars, so that's a bonus.

I bought Space Ranger mainly for its Bruce Pennington cover, probably the only similarity between this book and my edition of Dune, and even the artwork is better on that (though I do still like Bruce's rendition of David Starr, which is accurate to a passage in the story).

It's a 1950's pulp story for USA boys, with a 'wholesome', down-home, white superman-saviour as its protagonist. If Asimov hadn't written so much else of quality, he certainly wouldn't be widely remembered for this. The best I can say about the story is that I didn't have to force myself too hard to finish it. I'm keeping it in my collection for Pennington rather than for Asimov. ( )
1 vote Michael.Rimmer | May 23, 2020 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: David Starr, Space Ranger
Series: Lucky Starr #1
Author: Isaac Asimov
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 144
Format: Digital Scan

Synopsis:


David Starr, youngest member of the Galactic Science Council, has been sent to Mars to find out why people on Earth are being poisoned with Martian food. Going undercover as a farmboy, Starr meets various characters and comes across the idea that Mars might have native Martians living in caves underground.

Starr investigates, meets the Martians, who have moved beyond the physical and into the purely mental plane of existence and gets a special mask from them that disguises him, gives him a personal force field and allows him to create the personna, The Space Ranger.

Starr solves the mystery and the legend of the Space Ranger is born. The book ends with him picking up a sidekick and waiting for another adventure.

My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness. This was so much fun. Short and zippy and chockful of that 1950's American Attitude. In Space!

These Lucky Starr books were originally written in the 50's or 60's and then re-released in the 70's. Asimov wrote a new intro for the re-release where he apologizes for scientific inaccuracies since a lot more knowledge had been discovered between releases. One, it was funny to read about the advances made in 20 years from almost 50 years later and two, it did credit to Asimov that he was willing to admit his stories weren't accurate. If more authors would be that humble, that would be good for all of us.

This was a mix of science fiction, mystery and western all rolled into one. It reminded me of the radio dramas that I've heard before. If this had been written today, I'd say this would fall into caricature or even satirization, but Asimov was fully serious. It works. It is written to entertain and it does that admirably.

I think the rest of the series I'll be better able to judge if this is decent quality or not. This one has that “new but nostalgia” factor for sure.

★★★☆½ ( )
2 vote BookstoogeLT | May 1, 2018 |
David Starr, a promising young member of Earth's Council of Science, is recruited to investigate a series of fatal poisonings that are all traced back to food imported from the Martian colonies.

Once on Mars, Starr adopts the alias of Dick Williams and, along with a short, unruly farmhand named Bigman, ends up working on the Makian farm, the largest on the planet. After several altercations with two of Makian's irascible foremen, Starr ends up working for the farm's resident agronomist, Benson. The benevolent researcher has been frustrated in his attempts to locate the source of the poison, but theorizes that perhaps there could be Martians living in caverns beneath the planet's surface.

Starr enlists Bigman's help to explore the caverns and indeed encounters a highly evolved race of beings of pure energy who bestow upon Starr a device that generates a personal force field that also shrouds his external appearance. One of the energy beings designates Starr as a "Space Ranger," an identity that Starr adopts as he tracks down the true perpetrators of the food poisoning.

David Starr, Space Ranger is the first of six books known as the Lucky Starr series written by Isaac Asimov under the pen name of Paul French. The first volume is a fun, lighthearted adventure with no slow moments. I look forward to reading the next! ( )
  pgiunta | Jul 1, 2017 |
Asimov wrote this at the urging of Poul Anderson , ostensibly as a potential basis for a television show (Asimov hid behind the pseudonym of Paul French because he didn't want to be associated with a crappy show), and it reads like it. Apart from the Lone Ranger parallels, each chapter ends on a movie serial or early television show cliff hanger. It was never picked up, but he did write five more in the series that I may or may not decide to read... ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Starr Series: David Starr-Space Ranger, Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroid, Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus, Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury; Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter, Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn
  drbrendan | Jul 7, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asimov, IsaacAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Couturiau, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lippi, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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David Starr was staring right at the man, so he saw it happen. He saw him die.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Earth is on the brink of catastrophe. The vital foodstuffs supplied by its Martian colony are being poisoned. Working in secret, the ruling Council of Science sends David Starr, its youngest member, to the Martian farmlands to discover the truth behind the murders...
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