Planet of the Damned

Harry Harrison
Planet of the Damned Cover

Planet of the Damned,by Harry Harrison


This 1961 Hugo nominated book is the tale of Brion Brandd, winner of his planet's ''Twenties'',a global competition testing 20 human activities,physical,mental and intellectual - even writing poetry!.A former winner enlists his aid to go to Dis,an extremely harsh,blazing hot world,where the locals have adapted to its hellish conditions.But now certain Disan leaders are threatening a neighbouring peaceful advanced planet,Nyjord, with cobalt bombs.Desperate,despite knowing the major psychological consequences of violating their whole ethos,doing major damage to their whole culture, the Nyjordans feel they must make a premptive strike,and have set a deadline to destroy Dis before the Disan lords release their bombs. Brion will have only three days to solve the mystery of why the Disans are so implacable,and will carry out their bombing despite their destruction as a consequence

The book moves at a fast clip,as Brion,with the help of an obligatory love interest,Lea,an anthropologist who proves her worth when she helps solve the mystery,has to use all the skills he has to solve the mystery of the seemingly insane plans of the Disans.There is a lot about adaptation,symbiosis etc in the book.This seems to have been in the air at this time,since Frank Herbert's Dune was to win the Hugo the following year.This book is nowhere as ambitious or detailed as Dune,but it is a quick,exciting,enjoyable read,with Harrison's usual fast pace and pleasant,relatable characters.Good fun.