Friday, December 26, 2014

FFB: Catastrophe Planet -- Keith Laumer

This is a straight-up SF adventure novel.  Our Hero is Mal Irish, a guy about whom we know little or nothing and about whom we learn little or nothing more.  He's zipping across the post-apocalyptic landscape on some kind of hovercraft when he encounters a dying man in what's left of a small town in Georgia.  The man relates a wild tale of a lost race in the Antarctic and gives Mal a strange coin.  People try to kill Mal, and after that it's just one damned thing after another, with escapes and pursuits around the globe and deaths and a beautiful woman who's thousands of years old.  All this happens while the planet's crust is shifting and causing seas to rise and/or retreat, volcanoes to erupt and earthquakes to occur all the time.

None of it makes a lot of sense, though Laumer tries to tie it all up in the end.  It's part Puppet Masters and part Cthulhu and part James Bond.  And part other things, too, all in one big stew.  It's fun if you're looking for some mindless entertainment and don't mind plenty of coincidences and lots of implausible action, which I'm sometimes in the mood for.  Laumer writes with flair, and the story hardly ever slows down for more than a paragraph.  You might forget it all in a few hours, but it's entertaining for the moment.  You'll like it if that's the kind of thing you like.

6 comments:

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Bill, I recently enjoyed reading Laumer's GREYLORN, a novella with a somewhat similar apocalyptic theme. I intend to read his other sf stories.

Bill Crider said...

I enjoy his work. Some more than others.

James Reasoner said...

I remember reading this when I was sick in bed, during either junior high or high school. It was a good diversion, as I recall. I haven't read much else by Laumer, though.

Bill Crider said...

A TRACE OF MEMORY and DINOSAUR BEACH are my to favorite SF novels by him. You might like his p.i. novel, DEAFALL (aka FAT CHANCE).

Bud said...

I consider most of the KL that I've read as great SF candy without the harmful effects of food candy, and that's a good thing 8-)

Bill Crider said...

That's a good comparison, Bud.