The Pirates of Ersatz

Cover image for


Author: Murray Leinster (William Fitzgerald Jenkins)
Published: 1959
Language: English
Wordcount: 59,771 / 182 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 76.3
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 5,035
Added to site: 2007.12.27 19514

Sometimes it seems nobody loves a benefactor ... particularly nobody on a well-heeled, self-satisfied planet. Grandpa always said Pirates were really benefactors, though....

Show Excerpt

ou. After all, I caused your arrest. I urged you not to connect up your receptor without permission!"

"I know," growled Hoddan, "but there are some people so stupid you have to show them everything. I didn't realize that there are people so stupid you can't show them anything."

"You ... showed something you didn't intend," said Derec miserably. "Bron, I ... I have to tell you. When they went to charge the carbon bins at the power station, they ... they found a dead man, Bron!"

Hoddan sat up.

"What's that?"

"Your machine--killed him. He was outside the building at the foot of a tree. Your receptor killed him through a stone wall! It broke his bones and killed him.... Bron--" Derec wrung his hands. "At some stage of power-drain your receptor makes deathrays!"

Hoddan had had a good many shocks today. When Derec arrived, he'd been incredulously comparing the treatment he'd received and the panic about him, with the charges made against him in court. They didn't add up. Th


Average Rating of 4.3 from 9 reviews: *****

A fun and easy to read story of an enterprising young man who tried to break from his planet’s philosophy of pirating and become a great electrician and do wonderful things for the worlds. Unfortunately the philosophy of the planet he moved to made him a criminal for his electrician genius. Circumstances moved him to become a pirate and he ended up doing wonderful things for the worlds.

Leah A. Zeldes

Bright young Bron Hoddan, scion of space pirates, has been brought up in the family trade, but what he really wants to do is "(a) to achieve splendid things as an electronic engineer, (b) to grow satisfactorily rich, (c) to marry a delightful girl, and (d) end his life a great man." So he leaves his buccaneering family and disreputable home planet for a more civilized world where he can study engineering and achieve such goals. Unfortunately, things go wrong, and he winds up a hunted man.

An amusing tale filled with inspired tinkering and sardonic social and economic theories.


Entertaining and humorous SF novella. The grandson of a notorious space pirate declines to take up the family trade, and instead travels to other worlds to pursue his interest in electronic engineering.


Funny in its own right and has elements of humor reminiscent of Stanislaw Lem, Harry Harrison, Ron Goulart and as others have mentioned, Douglas Adams. A good silly yarn.

Linda Otto

Silliness, pure silliness. A little Douglas Adams with a little Monty Python and a lot of derring-do. Don't even try to take any part of it seriously for even a nano second. Fun is the only point. Read and enjoy.

Dave L

A fantastic light-hearted romp. Similar in style to Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat.


Fast-paced, light-hearted adventure story. Entertaining and humorous.

Leah A. Zeldes

Bron Hoddan is the scion of notorious space pirates, but instead of following the family trade, he intends to achieve splendid things as an electronic engineer. But fate conspires against him. A preposterous space adventure.


This later became "The Pirates of Zan".... it's one of my favourite books... he really shows off his tongue in cheek streak, here.

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