Friday, January 30, 2015

FFB: The Star Treasure -- Keith Laumer

Ban Tarleton, a lieutenant on a starship, has never questioned authority or much of anything else.  When his best friend is murdered, he starts to question everything.  And comes up with the wrong answer, which leads to his making a trip to Earth in a ship not equipped for the journey.  He survives but he's a wanted man. 

Tarleton avoids capture for a while but is hunted down, caught, and court-martialed.  Sentenced to a prison planet, he doesn't really fight back.  He thinks the sentence might be justified.  He works in the mines, looking for a substance that is crucially important, although he's not told what it is or what it's for.  He's expelled from the mines onto the desert where he's not expected to survive.  

He does survive (of course) and finds himself living among a native race that no one has suspected is there.  In all these experiences, Tarleton is coming closer to his destiny.  He's one of those SF heroes who's really much more than he seems, but even he doesn't realize it until it's time to wrap up the story.

This is one of those one-damn-thing-after-another story that seemed as if Laumer were making it up as he went along.  It's fun but slight.  If you're looking for some fast-moving but not memorable entertainment, this might do the trick.

8 comments:

George said...

Keith Laumer's SF novels move a break-neck speed. As you point out, they're slight but fun.

Bill Crider said...

And they zip right along, which is what I'm looking for now and then.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Bill, I realised Keith Laumer told "fast moving" stories from just the one story I read so far. He seemed to have been quite good at narrating inter-planetary and inter-galactic adventures.

Bill Crider said...

Quite good, and always entertaining. At least in the ones I've read. There are still plenty that I haven't gotten to yet.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Read a lot of Laumer back in the 60's. Especially enjoyed his Retief stories. Not sure how they would hold up now.

Bill Crider said...

At the time I read them, I thought they were very funny. Like you, I don't know how they'd old up.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Laumer probably was making it up as he went along. I picked up several of his Baen collections a couple of years back and will surely get to them RSN.

Jeff

Richard said...

I think I read this in the Sixties sometime, but I may mis-remember, as this plot could have been in any of several Laumer - or other - SF authors back then. That color Rorschach cover looks familiar.

I'm reading Laumer's THE LIGHTER SIDE at the moment, short stories and the novel TIME SLIP. Entertaining.