Greetings Potential Purchaser of this book.
First off let me admit a bit of bias. I LOVE Traveller (the science-fiction role playing game). Always have, always will.
So whoopee-do, why does this matter to you. *shrugs* Might not, but you are looking up reviews of old school science fiction, I mean this is Golden Age stuff here folks. If you are looking for super-magic powers, more crazy ass aliens than you can throw at stick at, and cute glowing swords, you should probably skip this book. (That is unless you also like to hit the rough side of science fiction, then keep reading.) Sorry, but facts are facts.
Which is kind of the point of this novel. Life is. One of the things it is, cheap.
Welcome to the future, and the conquered stars of man. For those of us who would sell most of what we have to see the wonders of the Universe this book rocks. If you don't care what it costs to see life beyond, then read it, might pick up a few tips.
Now we get back to Traveller. See for years now I have been hearing rumors that this series is one of the major inspirations for the RPG (one of those pre-digital ones, that we all wanted to play back when computers were new and "High Tech" not something you can fit in your pocket and can put a craft on the Moon. It is true, look it up, in more than wiki, like a book.)
Well with in about two paragraphs it is readily apparent that this is indeed a primary source for Traveller (and some other science fiction media). In those first couple of paragraphs you really get a handle on waking up from cold sleep. Yes, I know Alien did do a rather fine job of it. For a movie. See there is for some of us (and I should hope you are one) that essence of being there. Nothing compares to being in the mind of the protagonist and really experiencing things with them. Sometimes it is joy, others sorrow, here it is waking up and wondering why you are being thawed out while the starship is still in FTL drive.
Of course, since you are so broke, yet determined to see the stars you have to travel in such a fashion. Being frozen with the livestock, down in the cold, sterile blue holds. Hoping not to robbed, or killed...or worse. Too bad you aren't rich. Then you could travel in style. So, there you are, dumped on some hell world with tourist attraction. So what do you do? Why, you try to scrape together the money to get off this dump and back to the stars. Maybe after all this time, finally trying to get Home. Wishing anyone knew where it was that is.
And so we join Earl Dumarest in travelling the stars on the cheap, but never, ever easy path to the place we can never go, home.
Of course, life being never that simple adds it own complications. Life is like that.
So, not sure if this will sway you one way or another, but it is some good old fashion science-fiction and adventuring, with a few side trips into the human psyche. If you like Piper or Niven and Pournelle's Empires of Man, then you might very well might enjoy this book. I do, and I did. Not a lot of deep, hard science, but it does have some rather interesting foresights.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to scrape together the price of a high passage, that cold sleep stuff sucks. Fast drug the whole trip, with a ATP drip...
Craig A. Glesner,