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To The Galactic Rim: The John Grimes Saga Paperback – 1 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439134219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439134214
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,821,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

A. Bertram Chandler was born in England in 1912 and grew up to sail the world in everthing from tramp steamers to troop transports. He was a frequent contributor to the legendary magazine Astounding Science Fiction" (later retitled Analog") during it s Golden Age, and contributed the classic novella Giant Killer to the magazine during the 1940s. He emigrated to Australia in 1956, and commanded vessels under the Australian and New Zealand Flags. In the 1950s through the 1980s he contributed stories to the leading science fiction magazines, and published a steady stream of novels, most, but not all of them, chronicling the exploits of his popular hero, John Grimes, who has often been called the Horatio Hornblower of science fiction. He wrote more than 40 novels and 200 shorter works and was the Guest of Honor at the 1982 World Science Fiction Convention. He died in 1984.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robin Monks on 28 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book collects the first few entries of the 'Early' era in Chandler's saga of John Grimes of the Federation Survey Service. It's very odd. Although written originally in the late 1960s, the science is more reminiscent of that found in the novels of, say, E.E. 'Doc' Smith, some 25 or more years earlier. The characters are very 60s, though. Much free love in space, man. Grimes himself is a close affiliate of C.S. Forester's Hornblower; he gets up his seniors' noses, but comes out, largely, with his clean. So he progresses from a raw recruit thru' the service, which has a structure closely resembling the Royal Navy. If you are a fan of space opera, then it's something you should find a good read; quirky, but interesting. Probably not for those who started reading science fiction with Iain M. Banks.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Manly Reading TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Dec. 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This started well, with the first story really setting the scene of a future spread of humanity among the stars well, with the outer rimworlds not far off secession, with politics and piracy mixing nicely. After that, it kind of all fell apart into a weird mixture of sex and mysticism, with a little adventure on the side. Some bits were OK, some weren't. After reading the first story, I was planning to get the whole Baen collection of "John Grimes" stories, but by the time I had finished the book I had decided against getting any more.

Other reviewers at Amazon US (and the product description) point out that this is a collection of 3 novels and an anthology of short stories. I do understand that this is a collection of the early-era Grimes written over a number of years, out of chronological order. But it didn't feel like the billing of "Hornblower in space" and just did not grab me.

Tastes differ, and you might like it if you enjoy a bit of ... well, sex and mysticism in a sci-fi (but not space opera) setting. While the stuff set as spaceship adventure was good - and had that "used future" feel where there is a degree of verisimilitude - when Chandler stopped writing about being on a tramp steamer cum spaceship, a lot of the sparkle got lost and it became pretty humdrum stuff.

If the rest of the Grimes stuff was back to space travel, well, I'd be interested, but I understand that's not the case. So be aware that if you use the Baen free sample to read a chunk of the first story, that what follows is different in kind.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
entertaining reprints 27 Feb. 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Road to the Rim. Recently graduated Federation Junior Lieutenant John Grimes begins his career amidst the Rim Worlds. He plans to follow orders so he can advance. However, John learns the best laid plans of mice and Grimes often go astray when a beautiful damsel in distress is involved while he is directed to ignore the Waldegrenese Navy piracy.

To Prime the Pump. On El Dorado, men have become infertile though the reason is unknown. The women demand action, preferably of a sexual encounter. The Space Cruiser Ares arrives to provide humanitarian aid to this race that has gone from near immortality to near extinction. With Lieutenant Grimes and his horny naval mates on a mercy mission all is not lost.

The Hard Way Up. These seven short stories ("With Good Intentions", "The Subtracter", "The Tin Messiah", "The Sleeping Beauty", "The Wandering Buoy", "The Mountain Movers" and "What You Know") continue the maturing of John Grimes. The hero matures as he ignores orders from a distant bureaucrat who has no idea how to survive and complete the appropriate mission on the Galactic Rim.

The Broken Cycle. Grimes and police officer Una Freeman are lost in space. He is unconcerned as she is pretty; but she is frantic as she has a job to perform. Both are surprised to meet an essence claiming to be God and insisting the couple populate the Garden of Eden. Though he wants some R&R with Freeman, he is unprepared to battle serpents in a convoluted and complicated universe.

These are entertaining reprints of three novels and seven short stories from the 1960s and 1970s. Though aptly labeled as a Captain Horatio Hornblower sailing the Galactic Rim, Grimes is also a swashbuckling James Bond in space.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Early Adventures 18 Mar. 2012
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To the Galactic Rim (2011) is the first SF omnibus in the John Grimes Saga. It contains four works: The Road to the Rim, To Prime the Pump, The Hard Way Up and The Broken Cycle.

These stories are set in the mid future, when humanity has spread as far as the near rim of the galaxy. Terra is the capital of the Federation, but other human and alien polities exist in the galaxy. John Grimes is an officer in the Federation Survey Service.

The Road to the Rim (1967) is the first SF episode in this series. Grimes has recently graduated from the Academy and is traveling to his first assignment. He is booked on the Delta Orionis and meets Jane on boarding the ship. She informs Grimes that Captain Craven has invited him to the control room during takeoff.

Unfortunately, Grimes voices a single tactless remark and irritates the captain. He is still invited to the day cabin after the ship goes into Mannschenn Drive. Craven mentions that the Commandant of the Academy has said that he is a very promising young officer.

While leaving the day cabin, Grimes collides with Jane. They talk about the ship and the captain. That evening, Grimes is seated at the Purser's table.

Grimes sees quite a bit of the Chief Purser in the next few days. Then Craven warns him that Jane is a recruiter for the Sundowner Line, the merchant fleet of the Rim Worlds. Grimes states that he would never be persuaded to leave the Survey Service.

To Prime the Pump (1971) is the second SF novelette in this series. Grimes is standing watch in the control room. The Aries is passing near El Dorado and he is thinking about the planet. El Dorado is wholly owned by a consortium of superwealthy persons. They normally have contact with the outside only during the twice yearly shipment of precious metals.

His captain does not like his watchstanders to sit in the couches while on duty, so he is shuffling up and down the stations, checking screens and instruments. He is observing the chart tank when his captain enters.

Grimes is surprised when Daintree speaks to him. He is told to warn the engine room that they will be using the Inertial Drive. Then he is asked to plot a course to El Dorado.

When they reach the planet, Grimes is ordered to take a medical officer down to the planet on a dynasoar rocket plane. The craft usually lands on water, so he is told to approach the spaceport over a lake. As the place is about to touch down on the lake, a speedboat cuts in front of the vessel.

Grime calculates that his landing will not hit the boat, but will smash the skier behind it. So he pulls up and stalls the plane, then crashes into the water. The dynosaur fills with water and sinks.

The Hard Way Up (1972) is the third SF work in this series. It is a collection of seven adventures:

- "With Good Intentions" takes John Grimes to Delta Sextans IV with a science party studying the planet.

- "The Subtracter" gives Grime the command of the courier ship Adder. His first mission is to carry a passenger to Doncaster.

- "The Tin Messiah" involves Grimes and the Adder with another passenger, a robot named Mr. Adam.

- "The Sleeping Beauty" has the Adder carrying a frozen Shaara Queen to a planet lacking a fertile queen.

- "The Wandering Buoy" puts the Adder near an ancient robotic craft with a mission.

- "The Mountain Movers" brings the Adder to the planet Olgana carrying dispatches and then allows shore leave to the crew.

- "What You Know" places a high ranking civilian passenger on the Adder when ship systems start failing.

The Broken Cycle (1979) is the fourth SF novelette in this series. Una is frustrated by interservice rivalry. The Federal Investigation Agency has calculated the course of a pirated vessel and Una has come to ask for a ship to rendezvous with the derelict.

Everybody on Lindisfarne finds reasons to refuse her requests. Then she meets Grimes in a lounge and they discuss her mission. She talks John into asking Commodore Damien -- his former boss -- for help.

The Commodore has a larger courier ship traveling to Olgana that can divert its course to the wreck. Grimes is designated as the commander in charge of the prize crew. Unfortunately, Grimes doesn't get along very well with the captain of the courier.

When they reach the derelict, Grimes and Una board a boat to check out the derelict. Since there is an armed nuclear weapon onboard the ship, Grimes is very careful in his maneuvering around the derelict. But Una never told him to avoid stray intership signals.

These tales describe Grime's first experiences in deep space. The next installment in this sequence is First Command.

The author of these stories was an officer on a merchant ship out of Australia. His experiences added realism to the SF tales.

Highly recommended for Chandler fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of interstellar naval adventures, space hazards, and romantic affairs. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not exactly Hornblower in space 3 Dec. 2012
By Manly Reading - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This started well, with the first story really setting the scene of a future spread of humanity among the stars well, with the outer rimworlds not far off secession, with politics and piracy mixing nicely. After that, it kind of all fell apart into a weird mixture of sex and mysticism, with a little adventure on the side. Some bits were OK, some weren't. After reading the first story, I was planning to get the whole Baen collection of "John Grimes" stories, but by the time I had finished the book I had decided against getting any more.

Other reviewers (and the product description) point out that this is a collection of 3 novels and an anthology of short stories. I do understand that this is a collection of the early-era Grimes written over a number of years, out of chronological order. But it didn't feel like the billing of "Hornblower in space" and just did not grab me.

Tastes differ, and you might like it if you enjoy a bit of ... well, sex and mysticism in a sci-fi (but not space opera) setting. While the stuff set as spaceship adventure was good - and had that "used future" feel where there is a degree of verisimilitude - when Chandler stopped writing about being on a tramp steamer cum spaceship, a lot of the sparkle got lost and it became pretty humdrum stuff.

If the rest of the Grimes stuff was back to space travel, well, I'd be interested, but I understand that's not the case. So be aware that if you use the Baen free sample to read a chunk of the first story, that what follows is different in kind. The first story made me wonder why it was never made into a movie; the next few made me realise why not.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Science fiction written by a man who actually had a life 25 Jan. 2014
By M. A. Plus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A. Bertram Chandler had a regular job as a merchant seaman, apparently starting in his native UK. He continued in that career when he migrated to Australia in the 1950's and served on ships in the Australian merchant marine, and he put his experiences to good use in his stories. Chandler writes credibly about how his hero John Grimes has to live in hierarchies of command on starships for months at a time between planetfalls, and about Grimes's challenges in trying to get along with crew members above and below him in rank whom he doesn't necessarily like or respect. No doubt Chandler faced similar challenges on the merchant ships he sailed on.

Chandler also avoids the "competent man" stereotype in portraying Grimes. Grimes can't solve every problem, though in a pinch he can learn and improvise quickly, like when he has to figure out how to repair the Mannschenn Drive in one novel, despite not having engineering training. He benefited from the experience, however, and he added to his repertoire of skills which he might need in his future adventures. Grimes would probably advise his superiors not to read too much into his emergency solutions to problems, because luck plays a role in many of them.

In general I like Chandler's benevolent sense of life. How did he set up his writing situation in Australia? Like Arthur C. Clarke, Chandler lived and worked far away from the rest of Western civilization, so what did Chandler do for intellectual stimulation, for example? Where did he get his ideas for plausible advances in science and technologies? Did he have scientist friends in Australia's CSIRO or the country's universities he talked to for inspiration?

And he has done an effective enough job with this first compendium of his John Grimes stories to make me interested in reading the others.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Almost great space opera 8 April 2013
By Anthony Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A. Bertram Chandler's science fiction it is a collision of elements. It is classic space opera of the Heinlein school, and it's easy to visualise the hero as a young Captain James Kirk. There is action, usually well written, some humour, and some light philosophical pondering here and there.

The stories are not juveniles and include occasional (non-graphic) sexual interludes and some mild adult humor. Unfortunately some of this this would now be considered politically incorrect or at least rather dated. The naval setting of the stories is convincing - the relationships and banter between junior officers on the ships works well, and the hero is well drawn and develops through the story arc.

Chandler's writing is more akin to Ian Fleming's James Bond novels or paperback "action" stories of the 1950s and 1960s than to most science fiction. A frequent comparison is with the Hornblower novels, but in my opinion Joseph Conrad is a more obvious influence (not that Chandler was as proficient a writer). The Grimes stories are a bit like Conrad's "Lord Jim" in space - you can imagine his hero travelling to exotic islands in the Pacific instead of planets, and encountering vivacious native girls, savage tribes, exotic spies, nefarious traders, femmes fatale and so on. Captain Chandler spent a lot of his life in the merchant navy plying the trade routes along the Australian coast and across the Pacific, and this is clearly the inspiration for many of his stories.

So basically they are action stories of an officer and gentleman in space. The general background for the action is usually well painted but the stories tend to be populated by fairly simple characters. The worst aspect of his stories for me is that his denouement is sometimes clumsy and convenient. Chandler was adept at setting the scene and describing the action, but you get the feeling that sometimes he doesn't quite know where to go with the story. Some of his plots are weak and stories just sort of fizzle out or end fairly abruptly.

The stories in this volume are chronogically the first Grimes stories and are the obvious place to start if you are interested in Chandler's work. The first story is good, the second a bit hit-and-miss, and the rest comprise short stories which are variable.

A more critical reviewer would probably rate this book as only 2 stars, and I'd agree if I was rating it against more mature science fiction novels. However in its context of old-school adventure SF it is at least 3 star material.
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