Saturday, March 28, 2009

The life of the party tonight is Deathworld, by Harry Harrison!

Free, legal Harry Harrison! Recently published to Project Gutenberg after rounds at Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders--it's Deathworld! You might possibly know his "Stainess Steel Rat" stories. . .this is with another hero but rather similar in general feeling. Fun stuff! Grooviolo!
I've been volunteering at Distributed Proofreaders off and on for years, trying to save the world's printed media from oblivion. It's great and it makes me feel like I'm doing something positive for the world's intellectual good. I didn't proof this book, but--hey, there it is!
I'm also working at LibriVox, a project which has as its goal to audiorecord as many public domain texts as it can into audiobook format--with all reading and other functions done by committed volunteers (and their therapists (just kidding)).

Here's a clip from Deathworld:

For the first time Jason was silent. Trying to imagine what life could be like on a planet constantly at war with itself.

"I've saved the best for last," Kerk said with grim humor.
"Now that you have an idea of what the environment is like—think of the kind of life forms that would populate it. I doubt if there is one off-world species that would live a minute. Plants and animals on Pyrrus are tough. They fight the world and they fight each other. Hundreds of thousands of years of genetic weeding-out have produced things that would give even an electronic brain nightmares. Armor-plated, poisonous, claw-tipped and fanged-mouthed. That describes everything that walks, flaps or just sits and grows. Ever see a plant with teeth—that bite? I don't think you want to. You'd have to be on Pyrrus and that means you would be dead within seconds of leaving the ship. Even I'll have to take a refresher course before I'll be able to go outside the landing buildings. The unending war for survival keeps the life forms competing and changing. Death is simple, but the ways of dealing it too numerous to list."
The Project Gutenberg eBook of Deathworld, by Harry Harrison
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