Though he carried with him the loot of the ages, who in The Pass—that legalized city of vice and corruption—would dare risk his neck to help Russell, the Hard Luck Man of the Swamps?
ed the door. Nellie was a Martian, a century-plant, and nobody knew whether it was he or she or whether it made any difference, but they called it "she" and they called it "Nellie."
Grant went in. Nellie's leaves rustled and that queer whispery voice came from her. "Do you want a cot?"
"I'll have a room this time," said Grant. "How much?"
"A buck," said Nellie's leaves. "Pay now."
She collected. He took his diving-suit to the room. He didn't like the smell of cabbage and garlic, and the fumes of chlorine were so strong he nearly choked. A Saturnian must be pickling insects somewhere up on the second floor. He sat down. He was starved but he didn't want to go outside until he had a chance to figure things out. He thought maybe the first thing to do was to see Netse.
From the sounds he thought the two girls across the hall were getting ready to go out. He lay down on the bed to rest.
At ten o'clock they left, jabbering. It was good to hear Earth-people talk, even if it
Sentient beings from all the planets of the solar system conspire to rob an Earthling prospector on Venus of his treasure.
I found the story tedious and trivial.
In the previous review, normb quite accurately describes the story line of "Wealth of Echindul." I'd just like to add that the story has a surreal, "Blade Runner"-like feel to it, with author Noel Miller Loomis painting an edgy portrait of a harsh world populated by harsh beings. Engaging from start to finish.
Grant Russell is a pint sized Earthman who has had lots of bad luck. He has just braved the wilds of Venus in the dangerous great swamp to get 8 matched pairs of Echindul gizzard stones which have a rare property and are worth millions in today's dollars. He creatively was the first to brave the deadly swamp to find the stones, but now must get safely across the pass to Athrodite settlement where he can sell his stones. Unfortunately he must cross the lawless pass between the bubling zinc pits and the fluoride river-and it's controlled by Relgar the Uranian. A nasty spider-like customer who is determined to have the stones for himself. Fun pulp story.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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