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Brunner, John
book-date: 1962
cvr art:
cvr price:
Ace (D-547)
Edward Valigursky

Ace (D-547) 1962 paperback. Cover by Ed Valigursky, 160 pages, cover price of 35 cents. I downgrade this because front and back covers have sets of faint long vertical creases down the middle along with some crossways (see scans.) Condition is only Good: it almost makes a halfway decent impression since the book is tight and square with flat spine, no marks or writing; age tanning is mild to moderate and uniform.

A rare book by John Brunner: The Super Barbarians. (To the best of my knowlege - this is the only edition.) John Brunner (1934-1995) was well-known for writing (a lot of) "literate space opera," many of which appeared in Ace-Doubles. During the Sixties, his writing style matured, and he started getting Hugo nominations, culminating with the Hugo winner in 1969: Stand On Zanzibar. Trust him for the first 5 pages, and then you won't be able to put the book down.

[The back cover blurb]: The Acre was the only part of an entire world where Earthmen were allowed to live as they pleased and as they were accustomed. Elsewhere on Quallavarra, humanity was forced into servitude by the Vorra, the Super Barbarians who had somehow managed to conquer space. But within the Acre, the underling Terrans had cooked up a neat method of keeping their conquerors from stamping them out altogether. They had uncovered a diabolical Earth secret that the Vorra couldn't abide - and yet couldn't do without.

[Excerpts from a review that appeared in Amazing October 1962]: "The hero of the novel is Gareth Shaw, an Earthman serving as a steward at an estate on Quallavarra. The natives of this planet, the Vorra, had conquered all space though, strangely enough, their land is extremely underdeveloped and almost fuedal in its laws and government. At first glimpse, Shaw appears to be nothing more than what he is - a servant to one of the strongest Vorrish families, the House of Pwill. He had got his job after serving as a tutor to the Pwill heir while Pwill, Sr. was lieutenant governor of Earth. For seven months after Shaw's arrival on Quallavarra he never left the estate. Tben one of Pwill's wives sent him on an errand to the city where it was rumored there existed a fabulous Acre, a few square blocks where Earthmen were supposed to live in perfect freedom surrounded by their enemies. What Shaw finds in the Acre, how he gets pulled into their struggle, the meanings of the tantalizing bits of half-memory that start disturbing him - these are the elements of the story. ...there are lots of reminiscences of other stories here - ...But a fast pace and narrative skill save the result from the humdrum..." [S. E. Cotts]