Monday, February 18, 2013

Prison Planet

By William C. Dietz

Jonathan Renn had a ruthless business competitor who framed him by planting illegal drugs in one of Renn's imported shipments, with the result of Renn being convicted and sentenced to life on Swamp. Swamp is one of the prison planets set up by the Empire. Convicts are dropped off with minimal supplies and left to survive as best they can. Swamp is infamous for its deadly wildlife and the convicts survive by hunting its monsters and exporting the skins and musk, both of which are highly valued for their unique properties.
Dropped off with Renn is Marla Mendez, who stole money from her employer because her employer was cheating Marla. Marla was a human woman, but is now just a brain in the body of a robot dog.
Marla and Renn get along well and like each other but they end up going their separate ways after they are jumped by a gang upon their arrival. Renn was seriously injured and in order to pay for his medical treatment, Marla had to accept a contract with Skunk for a year. Renn, after he healed, signed on with Boater to learn all the skills needed to survive on Swamp. He wasn't aware that Marla had signed her freedom away to pay his medical bills.
Off in the swamps with Boater, Renn learned all the skills required and became a very good hunter. One day, after going off on his own, he came back to find his boss had been murdered by the same gang that jumped him and Marla. So he set out to track them down and make them pay for what they had done.

This was an OK story. I didn't really like it or dislike it. I do wish it had been more of a survival story, with more about the actual planet and its wildlife. Renn gets his revenge, reconnects with Marla, and they manage to get off planet so Renn can track down the guy who framed him in the first place. That last part was the least interesting and least believable part of the story. Overall, not a good read but not a complete waste of time either.

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