Deathworld: The planet was called Pyrrus…a strange place where all the beasts, plants and natural elements were designed for one specific purpose: to destroy man.
The settlers there were supermen…twice as strong as ordinary men and with milli-second reflexes. They had to be. For their business was murder…
It was up to Jason dinAlt, interplanetary gambler, to discover why Pyrrus had become so hostile during man’s brief habitation…Goodreads
I feel like it’s safe to say at this point that I have a certain affection for classic science fiction. There’s just something about it that is very refreshing. Contemporary science fiction is so focused on technological advances, the state of the world, and epic space operas that they’re just not as fun as they could be. Whereas with the older stuff, it might not always be believable, but it’s adventurous. It takes you back to a time where the people’s imaginations roamed freely, and there were still new worlds to discover. Even if that whole world is out to kill you like it is in Deathworld.
Definitely unbelievable, but a gripping read nonetheless, Deathworld really is a prime example of classic sci-fi adventure.
There are issues with Deathworld, and they’re undeniable. Jason DinAlt is ridiculously lucky, incredibly intelligent, and brave beyond belief. And of course he can see what no one else can see. In short, he’s the All-American White Man which pervades science fiction from that era. The one female that plays a role in Deathworld is absolutely gorgeous and dim, but trainable. Just like a good Labrador Retriever.
But there are also some timeless salient points, too. Like compromise, co-existing with nature, and trying for understanding over blind hate and fear. Especially the reinforcement that brute force is not the way to get everything done. This is especially true on a planet where you can’t reproduce at the rate your species is getting killed off. I’m sure Harrison was at least partially influenced by what was going on around him at that time, but as I’m not into history I couldn’t tell you for sure.
All I can say is that I enjoyed Deathworld for it’s cheesy, adventurous, to-infinity-and-beyond story. From the first page to the last, even if you’re rolling your eyes, you’re still smiling in delight at the story that Harry Harrison has delivered.