Book Report: Outland by Alan Dean Foster (1981)

Book coverAfter I read a science fiction paperback recently, I chose from shelves laden with thick important tomes another of the many thin genre paperback novels: this book. I had already read this book, some 20 years ago when I was in high school and when I’d borrowed the paperback from the Community Library in High Ridge (memory and logic serves that I borrowed it from the Community Library and not the high school library because I read a paperback, not a paperback in library binding).

The plot: A Federal Marshal goes to a mining colony on Io where miners are cinematographically killing themselves. Sean Connery, back when he had color to his hair, uncovers a drug ring run by the colony’s administrator, and has to deal with hired killers. An Amazon reviewer calls this High Noon in space, and I immediately tut-tutted it, but there is a countdown-to-the-killers element, but it’s not a direct transfer and there’s more to it than that, but the film certainly nods to the classic.

So it’s a good lightweight science fiction book. Wait, some aficionados would call this a Western in space (see above). But you know what? That’s what science fiction really was before Niven and the engineers took over the genre. Accessible, breezy, and commonly themed stories set in space that people could relate to without pulling out the slide rule.

Books mentioned in this review:

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