The Murray Leinster Collection

Murray Leinster Collection: The Pirates of Ersatz/The Aliens/Operation TerrorMurray Leinster Collection: The Pirates of Ersatz/The Aliens/Operation Terror by Murray Leinster

13 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Speculative!, Brilliance Audio
Published: 2013
Themes: / Science Fiction / space pirates / aliens /
Contains: “The Pirates of Ersatz” / “The Aliens” / “Operation Terror”

This is a really wonderful selection that represents the many facets of Murray Leinster’s work. There’s a little comedy, a little straight adventure, and tale of terror.

The Pirates of Ersatz: Bron Hodon’s homeworld has one occupation – space piracy. His dream, naturally, is to be an electrical engineer. Whether he tries to ply his trade on a sophisticated world or a barbarian one, no one seems interested in engineers. He winds up bouncing from one problem (and adventure) to another, leaning on advice that his grandfather, a sage space pirate, gave him long ago. This is a great example of Leinster’s trademark tongue-in-cheek humor.

The Aliens: This is a much shorter story than the other two. It tells of humanity’s first contact with an alien race. Evidence of The Plumies has been found on distant planets but humans have never seen one. When the two races finally meet, amidst disaster in space, will it be war or peace?

Operation Terror: A mysterious spacecraft lands in Boulder Lake Colorado. The one report that gets out is of alien creatures. They have a “terror ray” that incapacitates anyone upon whom it is used. Can Lockley and the girl he loves escape and warn the government of what he’s learned?

A common feature for all of these stories is an ingenious hero who notices details, thinks outside the box, and tries to solve problems rather than giving up when the going gets tough. Whether humorous or serious, I really enjoyed each of these tales. They give the reader credit for intelligence and the ability to keep up with the hero, while telling a rattling good yarn. Operation Terror in particular had me on the edge of my seat wondering, along with Lockley, what precisely are these aliens and how can they ever escape?

Unfortunately, the narration in this collection is very uneven. Ran Alan Ricard is brilliant narrating The Aliens. I could listen to him read the phone book and be entertained. Unfortunately Jim Roberts, who narrates the other two, longer tales, comes nowhwere near Ricard’s abilities. I am not sure how his reading managed to be both boring and annoying but that is how it struck me. In fact, the combined power of the stories and annoyance of his narration was such that I finally went to LibriVox and downloaded The Pirates of Ersatz and Operation Terror so I could find out what happened.

I simply can’t recommend this collection due to Roberts’ poor narration. However, I highly recommend you get Murray Leinster’s stories from LibriVox and enjoy them that way.

This review is from SFFaudio whence came the review audiobook.

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