Space Prison

Space Prison

By

4.3846153846154
(26 Reviews)
Space Prison by Tom Godwin

Published:

1958

Pages:

177

Downloads:

9,361

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Space Prison

By

4.3846153846154
(26 Reviews)
For seven weeks the Constellation had been plunging through hyperspace with her eight thousand colonists; fleeing like a hunted thing with her communicators silenced and her drives moaning and thundering. Up in the control room, Irene had been told, the needles of the dials danced against the red danger lines day and night. (Original title: The Survivors.)

Book Excerpt

t have they done to us?"

She looked at the snow streaming from the ragged hills, felt the hard pull of the gravity, and knew where they were. They were on Ragnarok, the hell-world of 1.5 gravity and fierce beasts and raging fevers where men could not survive. The name came from an old Teutonic myth and meant: The last day for gods and men. The Dunbar Expedition had discovered Ragnarok and her father had told her of it, of how it had killed six of the eight men who had left the ship and would have killed all of them if they had remained any longer.

She knew where they were and she knew the Gerns had lied to them and would never send a ship to take them to Earth. Their abandonment there had been intended as a death sentence for all of them.

And Dale was gone and she and Billy would die helpless and alone....

"It will be dark--so soon." Billy's voice shook with the cold. "If Daddy can't find us in the dark, what will we do?"

"I don't know," she said. "There's no one to

Readers reviews

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Average from 26 Reviews
4.3846153846154
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This is technically a Sci-fI novel, but to me it lacks most of the elements that make sci-fi. This is a sci-fi novel in the same way that Superman is about the newspaper business. The sci-fi is just there to make possible the main theme: survival in a harsh environment.

If you like survival novels, you might like this. Otherwise, I think you will find it a disappointment.

Also the writing is poor. The plot is typical bad pulp fiction. It is weak, contrived and far-fetched (not in a good sci-fi way, either). Details of the plot are just unreasonable. I have read worse, but not often.

The characters are one dimensional and contrived. People don't act that way. A lot of the science is wrong also.

Overall, if you like badly-written survival fiction, this is what you are looking for.

I came to know this book under it's alternate title as "The Survivors" when my Dad introduced it to me almost 20 years ago. He and I both agree after several readings that this is the best Science Fiction novel we have ever read out of countless other sci-fi stories. The story of human struggle, survival, and determination is a familar theme we have come to know in some similar works. However the most compelling aspect of this story is the goal of survival and redemption strengthings with each passing generation and allows the last generation to develope the tools and cunning to draw their persucutors back to them for ultimate justice. This book was a great influence on me for creative reasons and I see from reading the reviews that it appealed to most of you as well. My Dad and I have agreed for years that we would like to see this novel be developed into major motion picture because we believe it would make a great film provided if it stayed true to Godwin's original work and was produced by Steven Spielberg or Gearge Lucas. Does someone have their phone numbers? Of course writing a screenplay would be a challenging undertaking due to certain story elements, such as the 200 year span in time but it could be done right with the right people. Please share your views and opinions on such an idea.

Jason
Monroe, MI
As a teen, this was the first novel I ever read. It makes me happy beyond words to have found it again. It remains one of the best novels I've encountered in the past 40 years.
What a wonderful story! Relayed in a very unemotional, unsentimental style. A good lesson to be learned, as well. Thinning the herd leads to a stronger herd, in the long run.

The Gerns aren't like Nazis! They're like bad Klingons.
A very good story. I specially enjoyed the Robinson-Crusoe-theme. The flow of time indeed seems somewhat irritating to me, though.
5
I enjoyed this book. The science behind the sci-fi is basic and somewhat Asimov-like in that the author prefers to rely upon broad concepts and does not get too crunchy-- though he does enjoy descriptive geology. The characters develop well enough considering the time spanned in the novel and the scope the story. Yes, it read a bit dated at times, but not nearly as much as I had anticipated when I saw that it was published in 1955. The ending was also a bit hasty and tidy, but still satisfying considering fast-pace of the novel. Other reviewers have described the story as "epic" and I tend to agree. A fun, quick and surprising little book from the past.
3
While all previous reviewers heaped praise on this survival 'epic' (it has not quite the length of Helliconia), I'd like to point out two scientific flaws that make it more a works of emotion than hard SF.

First, the scarcity of the elements iron and aluminum is inconsistent with reality in two ways: planets have either all heavier elements, i.e. those that make rocks like calcium or silicon or iron or aluminum, on the surface or they don't, depending on temperature (rocky vs. gaseous) and if this is a first or second generation star. Second gen stars like sol collect material from space that was already inside stars but spewed out when it exploded as supernova which happens quite often around star birth regions. And that dust has lots of iron, because that's the element that accumulates in supernovae because it can't undergo fusion without losing energy. Also, iron must be in your diet, else you wouldn't have hemoglobine, so it must come from either animal blood or plants that have to take it from somewhere too. So you just herd animals or plants for your 500kg of iron that you need. Much easier than searching for it. But, no rocky planets without iron.

Second, having a double star in the center of which neither is much smaller than the other guarantees a chaotic orbit for your planet, due to the famous three body problem of physics. You also don't want that if you want evolution.

I know it's splitting hairs with a novel that is quite worth a read but I wanted to show why it cannot be hard SF.
Title should have been different. Ending was a little too contrived and convenient. An excellent survival epic which is a must-read. Once I'd started I didn't even go to the toilet until I'd finished it.
A sheer delight of a book, so well written that you can almost feel the heat of a Gern blaster passing over your head!

The rejects must spend every day of their lives, and every ounce of courage to assure that their children have a tomorrow at all.

One of my very favorite books!