Sunday, November 09, 2008

Four from Planet 5 -- Murray Leinster

A classic set up that will be familiar to lots of readers of people who've seen SF movies: an Antarctic base, the landing of a ship, the presence of aliens. Except they aren't aliens. They're human children. Where did they come from? That's just one of the mysteries in this novel. [Spoiler: It turns out that the title's misleading.]

Murray Leinster was real pro. He works in scientific problems and solutions, political commentary and commentary on the media (both almost as accurate now as they were when this book was published 40 years ago), a love story, a poignant story of loss and separation, and some other stuff as well. The story moves along in Leinster's serviceable prose (maybe a little adverb heavy for today's readers, with things like "he said vexedly"), and it's great fun to see how all the problems get solved, or it is if you like old-fashioned SF, which I do. I hadn't read this in many, many years, and it was fun to visit it again.

6 comments:

August West said...

I know I have a few Murray Leinster SF novels in my Gold Medal collections, but to be honest I never read one. Looks like I'll have to give them a shot. I did read a couple of his westerns under Will F.Jenkins, excellent novels.

Thanks for the reminder Mr. Bill.

Ed Gorman said...

I think there aref four of these Gold medal sf Leinsters. I enjoyed them all. Sometimes it's just fun to watch an old pro work no matter what the genre.

Richard Heft said...

My records show three Gold Medals by Leinster: FOUR FROM PLANET FIVE (GM #937), THE MONSTER FROM EARTH'S END (GM #832), and THE WAR WITH THE GIZMOS (GM #751). Gold Medal published two Westerns by "Will F. Jenkins": DALLAS (GM #126), and SON OF THE FLYING Y (GM #161, reprinted as #346). There might be a later Leinster that's not in my records (I collect up to 1965).

Bill Crider said...

Even if there's not a later Leinster, you should go for some of the post-'65 stuff.

moorich said...

I'll have to revisit this novel, which I have in the Gold Medal edition but read first when it appeared in a 1959 issue of Amazing Stories. I did recently reread WAR WITH THE GIZMOS and it was very satisfying. Very suspenseful and some good Virginia backgrounds. What a pro!

A recent issue of Virginia Living magazine had a feature on Will Jenkins and I learned one of his daughters is now living in the colonial home on the York River in Gloucester County, Virginia where Jenkins lived most of his adult life.

Richard Moore

Bill Crider said...

Great to hear that Jenkins is being remembered in Virginia. And that the family is still living in the same place. That seems rare these days.