Sunday, May 09, 2010

City of the Chasch

By Jack Vance

Planet of Adventure #1
The spaceship from Earth came to the planet Tschai in response to a distress signal. As the spaceship approached the planet, a missile was launched from the planet and the ship was destroyed with all its crew except for Adam Reith and one other man who escaped in their scout ship. Unfortunately, the scout ship was also damaged and they crashed landed on Tschai and they were both gravely injured.
Their landing did not go unnoticed. The first to investigate were a group of human men who shortly killed Adam's companion but who fled before they found Adam, who was hanging in a tree nearby, the result of ejecting from the crashing vessel. Next came a group of aliens and men who investigated the crash and who loaded the scout ship on their craft and carried it away. But the first group returned and found Adam and brought him to their village where he was nursed back to health.
While living among these rather primitive people, Adam learned their language and about the two main groups of intelligent creatures living on the planet, the Dirdir and the Chasch and that the Chasch have different races, like the Blue Chasch and the Green Chasch and that they don't get along. It was the Blue Chasch who carried away Adam's ship and his only chance to get off this alien planet. He also learned that humans live on the planet as slaves and servants to the aliens.
So Adam has determined to set off to find his ship, repair it and get back home. But to do so he will have to trek across an alien landscape, hiding from the various aliens that dominate this world and, with the help of some friends he makes along the way, he will go a long way toward meeting that goal. In the process he will teach these downtrodden human beings that they don't have to live in slavery to their alien masters. And rescue the pretty girl, of course.

This was an OK story. It was fun reading about Adam's attempts to shake up the local people and get them to thinking about the status quo. About the only interaction he had with the various aliens was just to kill them, so that part was disappointing. I wish the story had focused more on the aliens and the alien life of the planet but mainly it was about Adam's quest and the effect he had on the humans he encountered.

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