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Retief's Ransom (Dobson science fiction) Paperback – 12 Dec 1975

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Dobson Books Ltd (12 Dec. 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0234770805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0234770801
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,771,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Another novel about Reteif.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Filled a gap in my collection of Retief books. Only a few gaps left.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Retief novel on a planet more bizarre than Quopp 11 Jan. 2015
By Night-Gaunt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this way back in 1971 when it was first published. An extended novel of one of the Retief short Stories. Mr. Laumer had quite the creative spark. This world is truly alien. All the simple life forms are basic organs running, jumping, flying and slithering around the jungle. As they meld into more and more complex amalgams, they gain more intelligence. The present sapient life of Lumbaga are equivalent to humans, only each one is different from the next. Truly individuals to an extreme measure and they all have a lust for mayhem and murder. This is where our diplomat extraordinary Jame Retief finds himself. Their enemy, the Groaci are there too, eager to bring Lumbaga into their sphere of influence. It is up to Retief of the CDT to find out what is going on and steer, behind the scenes, Lumbaga's entry into the unity of civilized planets can happen. Only the natives just want to have fun---by joining gangs and causing mischief and robbery. Then Retief gets in the middle of it. Then things really get hairy.

I personally like the earlier ones, the humor is more restrained and it sits better with Retief using his common sense smarts and his remarkable abilities and education to sort out things the hide bound CDT just does not understand. (It is a wonder that the CDT accomplishes half of what it does without Retief.)
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, fun, fun 'til her Daddy Takes Her Blaster Away... 16 Sept. 2014
By John D. Mcglynn - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I love Retief, without reservation - the stories are often silly and slapstick, but with a subtle undercurrent of sophisticated sardonic humor that is often readily dismissed by the casual reader... these stories are far more sophisticated than they appear at first blush - you just have to dig a little. And... at worst, they're harmlessly entertaining.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars " A Tale of Rival Cliques, Factions, Races, Mobs, Unions, Crews, and Clans" 1 Nov. 2013
By Paul Camp - Published on
Format: Paperback
Keith Laumer's best series of books is arguably his Imperium novels. His most popular sequence is unquestionably his Retief stories. _Retief's Ransom_ (1971) is his seventh Retief book and his third Retief novel. The earlier novels were _Retief's War_ (1966) and _Retief and the Warlords_ (1968). The first was set on a planet of biological machines, and the second was set throughout the dreaded Goober Cluster. But in both, the formula was the same: That no-nonsense minor diplomat, Jaime Retief, used his two-fisted diplomacy to spike the plans of the villains and untangle the bungling of his corrupt superiors in the diplomatic corps.

The setting this time is Lumbaga-- a planet where the natives appear to reproduce by a kind of spontaneous generation. They are mad assemblages of organs that are highly individual. Attempts to classify them are driving the Corps Diplomatiques Terrestrienne computers into the verge of a nervous breakdown. They have a philosophy of pure anarchy coupled with a lust for violence and mayhem. The CDT has chosen to deal with them by (a) refusing to admit that they are hostile, and (b) attempting to impose a pacifistic democratic government on them. Naturally, this engenders more riots.

Enter Retief (whose last name is roughly "Fighter" spelled backwards), who begins to hobnob with the various natives and members and members of the underworld on their own terms. At first, the action (which, as usual, involves those rascally reptillian Groaci) centers mostly in the terran embassy. It is all fun to read about, but it is not the most colorful of settings.

But then the Groaci kidnap Ben Magnan, the embassy disavows him, and Retief sets out to rescue him. The setting becomes-- if not more exotic-- at least more bizarre:

A small wild creature resembling a disembodied blue eyeball with tiny bird feet hopped along a twig overhead, goggling at the Terran with an appearance of intentness heightened by the absence of an eyelid. A second free-lance ocular appeared, peeping from among glassy, needle-shaped leaves. Nearer at hand, another variety of local fauna-- this one a convoluted three-inch ellipsoid bearing a remarkable resemlance to an oversized ear-- perched in a froomble bush, pivoting slowly from left to right and back again as if tuning in on a faint sound in the distance. (40)

Shades of Hieronymous Bosch! The action moves from alien bars to pirate sloops to less than deserted islands to a cave guarded by a fearsome monster to a Groaci interrogation room (where a Lumbagan prisoner makes a monkey out of his groacian questioner simply by telling the truth) to the presence of a super-Lumbagan. Retief lights a Chanel dope stick, asks pointed questions, picks locks, and dispenses karate chops as the occasion demands. As usual, this is a passable balance of action space opera and political satire.

Laumer handles Retief competently enough in novel form. But as I have said in other reviews, the ideal length for a good Retief story is the short novelette. Cardboard characters don't matter so much in the shorter form, action doesn't become quite so repetitious, and much of the dialogue is a bit snappier (or at least a bit more memorable). Do yourself a favor and get some of the early Retief collections: _Envoy to New Worlds_ (1963), _Galactic Diplomat_ (1965), _Retief: Ambassador to Space_ (1968), and _Retief of the CDT_ (1971). The last immediately followed this novel.
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