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Spartan planet (1968)

por A. Bertram Chandler

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Grimes in Federation Service (book 2), Abenteuer Randwelt (5), John Grimes Chronology (5), John Grimes Rimworld (7)

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Mostrando 5 de 5
a review of
A. Bertram Chandler's Spartan Planet
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - August 25, 2016

I'm pretty sure that if I'd read the description of this bk 40 yrs ago I wd've shied away from it as entirely too lo-brow. NOW I think it was great, really inspired, hilarious. The basic premise is that there's a planet that'd been colonized by Earthlings long ago that'd developed into an all-male planet partially based on the male dominated militaristic city-state Sparta from ancient Greece.

Blundering into this is a Federation Survey Spaceship captained by Chandler's recurring character John Grimes & carrying a woman doctor named Margaret Lazenby whose job it is to study this lost colony's culture. Lazenby is the 1st & only woman most of the planet's inhabitants have ever seen. Human reproduction is a science controlled by specialists: doctors, & 'effeminate' male nurses. Creatures lower on the food chain give birth by having their male offspring rip off from the side of the father's body after having grown there as a conjoined twin of sorts & this is what the Spartans have been taught was their reproductive ancestry before the doctors improved things:

"["]it's just that some of us don't like to be reminded of our humble origins. How would you like to go through the budding process, and then have to tear your son away from yourself?"" - p 6

"The larger of the scavengers, the parent, had succeeded in bringing one of its short legs up under its belly. Suddenly it kicked, and as it did so it screamed, and the smaller animal shrieked in unison. They were broken apart now, staggering over the cobbles in what was almost a parody of a human dance. They were apart, and on each of the rough, mottled flanks was a ragged circle of glistening, raw flesh, a wound that betrayed by its stench what was the usual diet of the lowly garbage eaters. The stink lingered even after the beasts, rapidly recovering from their ordeal, had scurried off, completing the fission process, in opposite directions.

"That was the normal way of birth on Sparta." - pp 6-7

Chandler gives a reasonably imaginative treatment to his idea of a lost colony isolated from their true past to the degree that things have become redefined. As such, colonists speaking English consider it to be Greek b/c their seemingly all-male society is partially based around ancient Greek culture:

"Walking with calm deliberation the two men approached the barrier. The one with the trousered leg called, "Anybody here speak English?" He turned to his companion and said, "That was a silly question to which I should get a silly answer. After all. we've been nattering to them on RT all the way in."

""We speak Greek," answered Diomedes.

"The spaceman looked puzzled. "I'm afraid that I don't. But your English is very good. If you don't mind, it will have to do."

""But we have been speaking Greek all the time."" - p 24

The Spartans are accustomed to Spartan conditions - ie: stern & hard ones not inclined to comfort. They board Grimes's spaceship:

"Brasidus remained standing until he received a grudging nod from his superior. Then he was amazed by the softness, by the comfort of the chair into which he lowered himself. On Sparta such luxury was reserved for the aged—and only for the highly placed aged at that, for council members and the like." - p 32

Never having seen women before, the Spartans advance various theories about the 'deformities' on Lazenby's chest:

"["]it's manned by robots with twin turrets on their chests from which they shoot lethal rays."

""They must be functional . . ." mused Brasidus, "I suppose."

""What must be?" demanded the librarian.

""Those twin turrets. Good day to you."" - p 47

Now, it's probably all too easy to (potentially incorrectly) read personal details into an author's story. As such, I imagine Chandler writing this at a time when he was upset w/ a lover or a wife or getting divorced or somehow having trouble w/ the women or woman that he was intimate w/ in his life:

""A mere dozen of these malformed weaklings, without arms. . . . No, there can be no danger. Obviously, since they are member's of Seeker's crew, they can coexist harmoniously with men. So, we repeat, there is no danger."

""Sire!" It was the doctor who had raised the objection. "You do not know these beings. You do not know how treacherous they can be."

""And do you, Doctor Pausanias? And if you do know, how do you know?"

"The Councilman paled. He said lamely, "We are experienced, sire, in judging who is to live and who is not to live among the newborn. There are signs, reliable signs. She"—he pointed an accusing finger at Margaret Lazenby—"exhibits them."" - p 67

It's decided that these strange men w/ the protuberances on their chests are aliens from a planet called Arcadia - &, Lo & Behold!, they do exert a suspiciously entrancing fascination on the Spartan Brasidus & others - even to the extent of leading Brasidus astray from his boyfriend:

""Brasidus, I have to be on duty soon. Will you come with me to my room?"

"The Sergeant looked at his friend. Achron was a pretty boy, prettier than most, but he was not, he could never be, an Arcadian. . . .

"What am I thinking? he asked himself, shocked. Why am I thinking it?

"He said, "Not tonight, Achron."" - p 85

I don't want to spoil the plot for you but the ending cd be sd to have a wry ambiguity. Watch where those twin turrets are pointed! They might be coming after YOU!! ( )
  tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
Lieutenant Commander John Grimes is Captain of a Survey ship Seeker III along with Maggie Lazenby doing census. They land on Sparta a lost colony of all males created by a birthing machine controlled by doctors who also create women for themselves. By the end of the novel, Grimes has given them the facts of life, the creche is destroyed and the world will have to be readjusted to normal which might be difficult considering women are so alien to the men. ( )
  Karen74Leigh | Jul 31, 2019 |
Oh, for the glory days of Golden Age scifi, when men were men and readers were adolescent hormone-addled teenage boys.

John Grimes brings the coed crew of a Federation Survey Ship to investigate a long lost colony, only to discover that its inhabitants are all males who live in society modeled after the ancient Greek city state of Sparta. Grimes’ visit results in our protagonist Brasidus (a Spartan security officer) making an astonishing discovery . . . Females! It’s been a long time since I read a book that focused quite so much on breasts, including such choice lines as “the outthrusting fleshy mounds on her chest that betrayed her alien nature;” “he realized that those peculiar fleshy mounds, which even the severe uniform could not hide, were deliciously soft. So much for the built in weapons theory;” and “the deformity of the upper part of the body was bad enough; that of the lower part was shocking.”

Brasidus is assigned to escort these strange aliens around Sparta, and along the way starts to realize that things in his homeland are not at all as they seem, most notably in the case of the doctor-priest caste, the members of which couldn’t possibly have any time available to treat patients as they appear to spend every waking moment engaged in a non-stop orgy of debauchery with their hidden harem of women.

Grimes gets relatively little narrative coverage (his apparent indifference to the fate of a gang-raped crew member who had put herself in a position to be attacked by failing to follow orders is appalling). The Federation is represented primarily by one Margaret Lazenby, a spunky scientist who sets out to investigate the Spartans but finds it impossible to remain an aloof observer when she comes across a female infant who has been abandoned on a hillside for the wolves.

This is certainly entertaining enough if you can take it for what it is. ( )
  clong | Jan 3, 2008 |
No Ick Factor.

Imagine a world with only men, with a social structure developed on homosexual relationships. Chandler's Spartan Planet is such a world - until his recurring charachters John Grimes and Peggy Lazenby arrive on a planetary survey.

The planet - founded by a misogynistic captain and based on Greek pseudo-history - struggles to adapt to the inclusion of women in its social structure. Chandler handles the transition well.

Gay characters are treated with empathy and allowed individual dignity, which is quite commendable considering when this book was written and its target audience. ( )
  Othniel | Feb 10, 2007 |
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A. Bertram Chandlerautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Chandler, A. BertramPrefácioautor principalalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Berkey, JohnArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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