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DEATHWORMS OF KRATOS [Mass Market Paperback]

Richard Avery


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Fawcett; First Edition edition (Aug. 12 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449133060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449133064
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g

Product Description

Book by Avery, Richard

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable sci-fi adventure with some dated elements June 18 2011
By Mark Klobas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Humanity in the year 2071 is straining at the limits of terrestrial and solar sustainability. With billions of people placing a demand on Earth's finite resources, an outlet is needed. Robot probes have identified planets in other systems capable of supporting human life. But before they can be colonized they must be proven - a high-risk prospect. Enter the Expendables: a group of highly talented criminals and misfits who combine technical expertise in their chosen fields with checkered pasts. Led by James Conrad, a former commander in the United Nations Space Service, they are sent out to explore Kratos, the first viable planet discovered by the probes. Yet not only must the team determine the planets viability as a colony for humans, they must also answer an additional question - just who or what left the large ruts scarring the planet's surface?

Edmund Cooper (who published this novel under the pen name "Richard Avery") was a British author whose wide-ranging oeuvre included a number of science fiction novels. This book was the first of a four-book series that he wrote in the mid-1970s in which his team would face various challenges on an Earth-like world. In many ways this is the best of the quartet, as Cooper couples his pulp action here with pages spent laying out his premise and developing his characters into distinct figures rather than leaving them as interchangeable cardboard cutouts. His themes of sustainability and resource deprivation, a growing concern in the years in which he wrote this, gives his book an air of prescience for readers today, helping to separate it from similar sci-fi novels of its ilk.

Yet these strengths sit uncomfortably with dialogue and situations that can seem somewhat racist and sexist to readers today. Cooper's fans have credited him for populating his crew with a diverse group of people, yet the novel seems dated with the degree to which they oftentimes dwell on their racial backgrounds. No character embodies this better than Kurt Kwango. The team ecologist, he is credited with being the smartest member of the group and is often at the heart of the action (he's not even the first character to die). Yet he seems obsessed with race to a degree more befitting someone of the 20th century than Cooper's supposedly more enlightened future. It's a problem that detracts from what it otherwise an enjoyable sci-fi adventure, making it more a product of its time than one that, like many of the best works of the genre, rises above it to become a truly timeless work.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sci Fi Pulp !! March 28 2006
By Claus Kellermann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Deathworms of Kratos: The Expendables No.1 (1975) by Edmund Cooper writing as Richard Avery - 191 pages - rating: 8.0/10

Don't let the silly title fool you. The Deathworms of Kratos was great. A team of 7 men and women with varied notorious backgrounds and skills travel 17 light years to the first potentially habitable planet discovered by earthbound astronomers.

It is classic pulp science fiction at its best. Characters that you will enjoy and a writing style that will draw you in despite its straightforward delivery. Books like this are the reason I started reading science fiction in the first place.

If you enjoy classic, old style Science Fiction by authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edmund Hamilton, Poul Anderson, Barrington J. Bayley, EE Smith, Jack Williamson and Murray Leinster then you will love The Deathworms of Kratos.

Keep in mind, the other review listed here (by Shantell) was by someone who didnt do her research before selecting this novel. Thus she gave it one star. She was perhaps hoping for a weird, complicated, in depth examination of the human soul within the context of some gender bending futuristic societal structure ... blah blah blah. Yes, some people like that stuff, dont ask me why. I dont.

Claus Kellermann

2006 March 28

Sci_Fi_Researcher@yahoo.com
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quick fun March 29 2014
By A. Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you want a quick paced SF action story you cannot go wrong with this book. I love the humor and interplay between the different people that make up this crew. Whether it is racial comments or sexist in nature, these are my kind of people, they don't get whiny about it at all. If the other three books in this series are like this they will be great!
2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If ever a book needed the MST3K treatment.... Nov. 22 2004
By Shantell Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Last night, I finally finished reading The Death Worms of Kratos. Good God, that's one awful book, although it's often quite amusing because of its very badness. If ever a book needed the MST3K treatment, it's this one. The premise goes something like this: a team of genius ne'er do wells (the Expendables) are sent to the planet Kratos in order to ascertain whether or not it is suitable for an Earth colony. The captain, obviously written with Captain James T. Kirk in mind, bustles around trying to keep his team organized and having approved regulation sex with one another. The death worms themselves are reminiscent of the sand worms of Dune, and are described as looking like penises. One chapter goes into great detail concerning the erotic adventures of these worms, and the author obviously has great fun describing members (heh!) of the team riding around on these ambulatory phalluses of doom.

To give you an idea of the book's tone, I'll quote you an excerpt. This is in reference to Elizabeth James, an Expendable who gets killed by one of those oogly worms. The first town is being built for colonists who are enroute, and the team are discussing what the town should be named:

"It will be called Jamestown, in memory of Liz. Someday, I hope, someone will put up a statue of Elizabeth James in the main square. In fact we will require it. And the inscription will read: Elizabeth James, Expendable, who died proving Kratos."

"If he doesn't get the [...] right," said Andreas with feeling, "I'll come back to this place and stamp all over him. Liz was a great woman. She had magnificent [...]."

Why wasn't this made into a movie? I'd love to see Crow, Joel, and Tom Servo lambasting it!

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