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Book Title: The Planet Buyer|
The author of the book: Cordwainer Smith
ISBN 13: 9780722179420
Edition: Sphere Books Limited
Date of issue: 1975
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 381 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.5
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The Planet Buyer is a comparably intelligent 60's SF novella. While it is still plot-driven, Smith manages to develop an original world brimming with whacky ideas on a mere 140 pages in the German translation.
The most interesting part is the economic concept. One year before the far more popular Dune he developed a similar world, Norstrilia. It's the only world in the universe where Stroon, the immortality drug, can be harvested. Stroon is the product of a virus infesting mutated 1,000 ton sheep. Astonishingly similar to Arrakis and its Spice. As a result, the farmers on Norstrilia are exceedingly wealthy by standards of the universe. But to keep them grounded, the government imposes import taxes of a few million percent. Simple items of daily use cost millions. Accordingly, the Norstrilians are leading humble lifes dominated by work. Luxury is banished, computers abolished as far as they are not needed for defense purposes.
Another interesting concept is population control being a necessity in a world where the average citizen lives for a 1,000 years. Children are tested after puberty with only the most able surviving the telepathy-based test. A skill which the Norstrilians have developed over the course of many generations and grown by their mechanism of selection. Pure darwinism. Genetical engineering is taken up in other places. Underpeople serve as servants, intelligent beings that are a cross between various animals and humans. They are banned from Norstrilia. Animals can be engineered to be used as weapons or tools.
A fascinating universe that could have benefitted from a longer form. The Planet Buyer is only the first half of a story that was later published together with the succeeding volume The Underpeople as Norstrilia. Smith's ideas rival Herbert's while being more whimsical and less developed which probably explains why the same grand premise led to a huge success in one case and obscurity in the other.
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Read information about the authorPseudonym of:
Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
Linebarger also employed the literary pseudonyms "Carmichael Smith" (for his political thriller Atomsk), "Anthony Bearden" (for his poetry) and "Felix C. Forrest" (for the novels Ria and Carola).
Linebarger was also a noted East Asia scholar and expert in psychological warfare.
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