When this book was published it cost 40¢. Let’s see what it’s worth at the end shall we?
The cover is all flame and orange and yellow and zooming contrails + the main character’s name is Rolf Malone + chapter breaks are written in roman numerals. Presumption = brilliant.
Truth be told, I read this book for two reasons:
1) I had to make the decision to get rid of it (it’s only 143 pages),
2) The front cover tagline says,
On a world where nothing was illegal, the only crime was to be killed.
Can I pass that up? I think not!
The story starts out pretty well– our temper-ridden ex-con named Rolf is off to visit his do-no-wrong brother on one of the worst planets humans have decided to colonize. You see, this planet was born out of anarchistic ideals where one is out only for themselves. Syndicates created to provide services in exchange for goods have since collapsed due to (what ELSE?!) corporate takeover, so most of the planet lives in squalor killing and stealing to survive.
Of course, we find all of this out after our Plucky Ex-con™ suddenly kills his chauffeur. With his belt. Huh.
Turns out that the do-no-wrong brother was recently killed, and Plucky Ex-con™ now is on a mission of vengeance to Damn Well Find Out Who Did It.
What’s weird about this book is the character’s journey. On the one hand he’s Bad Ass enough that he can KILL A GUY WITH HIS BELT, but on the other he gets CAPTURED AS A SLAVE for FOUR YEARS and slowly loses his mind to numbness and drudgery. All throughout it’s as though things are happening to him, meanwhile he struggles with the idea that he no longer cares to survive. It’s not as though he voluntarily visited a planet with a 76% “What Ho! He’s gone missing– might he be dead good sir?” Return Rate™.
In the end Things™ continue to happen to him and our Plucky Ex-con™ continues to be iffy about it all. What is the reader supposed to do with that?
And here’s the really weird bit: at one point a character consoles himself with thoughts of his coming pension. But, but… I THOUGHT THIS WAS AN ANARCHISTIC SOCIETY? Since when is a corporation on a planet with no laws going to dole out pensions? Color me confused. I mean, if you’re going to go for a pension I think the most you can call yourself is Libertarian.
I will not give away the strange, detached ending that our Plucky Ex-con™ withstands except to say this: He makes a choice that has ramifications for the entire world because he feels that their system of government (or lack thereof in this case) is wrought with flaws and… bad morals? Something like that anyway.
But enough of that, it’s all a bit dreary isn’t it? Time for some scones, which we all deserve as this review is almost as long as the book itself.
CONCLUSION: SELL. TRY TO GET AT LEAST 30¢ FOR IT.
Best quote from the book:
Lingo looked like a shaved gorilla, wearing sunglasses and fondling an automatic rifle.