Friday, March 1, 2013

Review:The Planet Savers, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Planet Savers, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The copy I have of this is from the Gutenberg project. It is taken from the pages of amazing stories. And I want to share the little quote at the beginning.

[Quote] Marion Zimmer Bradley has written some of the finest science fiction in print. She has been away from our pages too long. So this story is in the nature of a triumphant return. It could well be her best to date.

Marion Zimmer Bradley. The Planet Savers (Kindle Locations 16-17). [/Quote]

I had not read this prior and it's fairly old. It's from Bradley's Darkover world and I think it's a masterpiece. Even after all this time it still holds together well as a relevant and well told tale.

This short novel easily demonstrates the author's massive ability at world creation and her skill in writing that makes this not only a marvelous work of Science Fiction but a literary masterpiece.

This is the story of Jay/Jason. A highly intelligent and driven doctor who is respected on one hand and despised on the other. He's aloof most of the time and has nothing but prejudice against most of the inhabitants of the Darkover world especially the trailmen whom he considers to be low life beasts.

Ironically Jason is also the man who as a child was rescued and raised by the trailmen in their remote mountain village. They raise him until they decide he's old enough that he needs to be returned to his kind.

It might be that this young man felt abandoned by them as he may have felt abandoned when his father died. Whatever the reason, he's pulled off a sort of Jekyl-Hyde or Sybil turn in his life where he has segmented the old Jason from the new Jay.
Now, at the time of the reawakening of a cyclical pandemic fever he is forced to bring out the Jason- trailman- side of his personality.

The Trailmen are immune to the illness because they suffer a milder form of it when they are young. The notion is that they might be able to make a serum from the trailmen blood. The problem is the trailmen never come down from their mountain. Jay even has to agree that this trip out to the trailmen is necessary because his greater understanding of medicine can see the value. They need Jason to help insure its success.

Submitting to a procedure that will bring forth this other personality he becomes Jason- a somewhat genial and reckless young man. The transformation he undertakes affects even his physical characteristics to a point that colleagues who have known him for years don't recognize him.

All this takes place in a matter of few pages all packed in expertly with the added bonus of creating the affect that the reader comes to identify and love Jason, while loathing and despising Jay.

There's a lot more to come in this story as they make the dangerous trek into the wild and up through treacherous mountains that tax even the local Darkovans.

Will they survive, will they find a vaccine, how did Jason get so messed up. All these and more will eventually come out in this gem of a short.

The skill with which Marion Zimmer Bradley weaves and fills this novel and the fact that it stands the test of time make it easy to see how she became such a respected author and remains that to this very day.

This book is a good read for anyone who wants to become acquainted with the author and her Darkover series. And for those already acquainted who may have missed this one, they should pick it up and give it a go. There is no way for you to be disappointed.

J.L. Dobias

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