My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Every so often I get an urge to read lots of science fiction books in a row. There is something so thrilling about seeing how other writers deal with stuff such as world-building. But most of all, I just love to see what action takes place on these worlds. Given my love of Mark Nelson’s reading and H. Beam Piper’s writing, Four-Day Planet seemed the obvious choice for my next book to read.
Fenris is a backwater planet with an only export of Tallow-Wax, a substance that comes from a rather dangerous creature known as the Jarvis’ Sea Monster. When the entrenched and villainous leader of the Hunters’ Guild Co-Op tries to further cut the deserving monster hunters of a fair income, members start to fight against those involved in his conspiracy. But who can the hunters trust?
The numerous twists and turns of this action-packed adventure are told through the eyes of Walter Boyd, cub reporter of the Port Sandor Times.
As expected, H. Beam Piper weaves a rather exciting story set in the particularly dangerous setting of the planet of Fenris. The action sequences take place against both man and monster, allowing the reader some insight into the conditions of the planet. In the one scenario where the crew are stuck out in the middle of nowhere, we also see some of the dangers inherent on this desolate and difficult planet. Piper does well to also explain the way that the low population has also effected the gene pool of the planet in a rather intelligent way.
This is all seen through the first person POV of Walter Boyd, the son of Ralph Boyd who is the editor of the sole news service on the planet called the Port Sandor Times. Walt is a great character that is both brilliant yet has the ability to make mistakes. He is also humble enough to admit those mistakes.
The dialogue was well-written, show the unique personality of each character. The most notable of these is that of “Bish” Ware, a rather significant side character. And these conversations each add to the story through their commentary on the state of affairs.
The plot is well-paced, offering more than enough incentive to read on through the questions that it answers as much as the ones posed. He also does well to avoid info-dumps on the planet and the cast before the narrator would logically bring the numerous facts to mind. And it works wonderfully.
The dialogue was rather clever, plot well-paced, action sequences chaotic enough to have legitimacy, and the conclusion a worthy pay-off for all of the different things happening throughout the story. Much in all as I love reading pulp sci-fi, there is something to be said for reading a fully-fledged science fiction novel. Four-Day Planet doesn’t feel rushed yet has enough excitement packed in to make even a disillusioned reader take note. Other readers may have other opinions, but I thought this book was perfect!