The Ethical Engineer

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Author: Harry Harrison (Henry Maxwell Dempsey)
Published: 1963
Language: English
Wordcount: 43,824 / 128 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 81.4
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 5,455
Added to site: 2010.01.15 26323

That mores is strictly a matter of local custom cannot be denied. But that ethics is pure opinion also...? Maybe there are times for murder, and theft and slavery....

Show Excerpt

is hands at the controls were the browned talons of some bird. A hard finger pressed the switch that actuated the jump control, and he turned away from the board to face Jason.

"I see you are awake. It was a mild drug. I did not enjoy using it, but it was the safest way."

When he talked his jaw opened and shut with the seriousness of a bank vault. The deep-set and cold blue eyes stared fixedly from under dark brows. Jason stared back just as steadily and chuckled.

"I suppose you didn't enjoy using the maser-projector either, nor threatening to cook holes in me. For a cop you seem to be very tender hearted."

"I did it only to save your friends. I did not want them to get hurt."

"Get hurt!" Jason roared with laughter. "Space-cop, don't you have any idea what Pyrrans are like, or what kind of a setup you were walking into? Don't you realize that I saved your life--though I really don't know why. Call me a natural humanitarian. You may have a swollen head and a ready trigger-fin


Average Rating of 2.8 from 4 reviews: ***
JoJo Biggins

I was absolutely enthralled with this story up until the very end. At that point, it comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying conclusion.

There is some repetitiveness and stupidity along the way, but overall worth the read, I supposed. Just be prepared for the crash at the end.


Apparently The Ethical Engineer was the original serialized title - later published in book form as Deathworld 2.

This book begins shortly after the completion of Deathworld. Jason is captured at gunpoint and arrested for violation of gambling laws by the very annoying, morally righteous space cop Micah Samon. They depart the planet Pyrrus and eventually crash on a planet with a slave based economy and early industrial revolution technology.

This was a very disappointing follow-up to the first Deathworld. The entire plot seems to revolve around an ongoing argument about moral absolutism vs. moral relativism between Micha and Jason. As good as the original Deathworld was - this one was surprisingly bad. I would not recommend wasting any time on it.


This story presents an idea that is fundamental to the way this society works but hardly anyone comes out and says it.

Information Hiding

It is now 43 years after the Moon landing. How are we supposed to believe economists don\'t know about \"planned obsolescence\" in cars? When have you heard economists discuss it? There are hundreds of millions of more computers today than there were in the 1980s. They are all von Neumann machines. When do you ever hear that.

The way different organizations hide information in this story is a microcosm of the REAL WORLD. Good SCIENCE Fiction is More Than Literature.


This is a sequel to "Deathworld" and was published as "Deathworld 2" at some point; not sure if it was slightly expanded or not in that incarnation.

I read the original Deathworld trilogy a number of years back and had a good, strong impression from the first novel; the reviews here of it I think are fair. This one was entirely forgettable (and I had in fact forgotten it), however. The unique world-building, character tension and relatively sophisticated look at psychological dynamics featured in the first are all missing here. Instead, we get a retread of the engineer-among-primitives story with farcical interactions between the main characters. The characters also seem to be mostly acting in accordance with sending a hamfisted message about moral relativism and religion, to the point of spouting extended monologues on the topics. Regardless of where you fall out on the philosophical debate, it makes for a disappointing read.

My recommendation would be to stop reading with the original Deathworld - the ending there was satisfying enough - and skip this, which features some of the original characters acting like cardboard cutouts or complete idiots. About the fourth time Jason dinAlt saves his captor/tormentor for no particular reason other than to have a convenient foil, it gets old.

I don't rate it a complete loss because the author knows how to tell a good adventure story, but the interesting parts are still not worth the investment in time.

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