Sunday, September 27, 2009

John Grimes Far Traveller Couriers - A. Bertram Chandler

A webscriptions omnibus of this particular part of Grimes' career, out of his official role, doing his own thing, and getting into plenty of trouble.

The Far Traveller
Star Courier
To Keep the Ship
Matilda's Stepchildren
Star Loot
The Anarch Lords
The Last Amazon
The Wild Ones

Grimes has apparently managed to get himself in a fair bit of trouble in the Survey Service, and here he ends up signing on with the Baroness, who happens to have a sentient computer, robots (Golden Amazons, no less) and a thing for dashing rogues that aren't Grimes. Not to mention being smarter - she wants Grimes to work for her while she tools around doing an academic survey of some planetary life, among other things in this collection/fixup or whatever you would like to call it.

Far Traveller : The Far Traveller - A. Bertram Chandler
Far Traveller : The Long Fall - A. Bertram Chandler
Far Traveller : The Sleeping Beast - A. Bertram Chandler
Far Traveller : Journey's End - A. Bertram Chandler

Grimes, out of the Survey Service, after helping raise a ship, finds his options limited by people that want to shoot at and/or arrest him, so hires on with the Baroness.

3 out of 5

Fungus is the bogeyman as the Baroness orders Grimes to help her do some first hand research for her thesis.

3.5 out of 5

Grimes Big Sister Baroness ejection rejection.

3.5 out of 5

Some robots please, Big Sisters.

3.5 out of 5

4 out of 5

Rogue Queen religion.

Grimes, after a Big Black Mark in the record sense and book sense quits the Survey Service, to strike out on his own - and this is the second novel in this part of his career.

Amazingly enough, he manages to have another Mannscheim Drive go screwy - and they need help.

The only available is alien - Shaara.

Aliens, religion, and violence is what he ends up in the middle of - not a nice mixture.

3 out of 5

Grimes is broke, and his ship expenses keep mounting, so he has to do something else to try and get enough money to get that cleared up.

Unfortunately, in the process he gets spacejacked by a couple of royal revolutionaries involved in a plot to try and win back control of their planet.

It isn't even that straightforward, given the bodyswapping and cloning that becomes involved later.

For someone supposedly lucky, he runs into a lot of bad stuff.

3.5 out of 5

Grimes depravity.

Although not by choice. He gets an opportunity to get out of hock when a scandalmongering tabloid wants to buy his story - and have his services available as transport for one of their head muckrackers.

The planet they had for is geared towards tourist entertainment of the adult kind - gambling, brothels, etc. On the surface. Underneath is a lot worse, slavery, an underground colosseum arena, torture and snuff porn - combined.

Some fun planet names throughout Grimes travels' Porlock, New Venus, New Alice - the latter of which has a couple of inhabitants he teams up with in this adventure - Darleen and Shirl. Very entertaining. More echoes of the Underpeople from a previous story - and Drongo Kane.

3.5 out of 5

Old Lucky Grimes still apparently has a somewhat dubious interpretation of his title, personally.

Here he has to fall in with old nemesis Drongo Kane - who is chortling over the fact. If Grimes succeeds, he makes with the moola - if not, maybe he gets dead - which apparently would make him equally happy.

This part aside, not really the best entry in this particular story, Baroness, Countess, Duchess, or whatever for our erstwhile courier.

2.5 out of 5

Having fallen far enough to have to stoop to politics, there are some advantages to being in charge.

Having had the certificate that made him allow to legally be in charge of a spaceship revoked by the original agency he obtained it from some time back, Grimes now finds himself with a good deal.

Being the Liberian governor means he can appoint the authority in charge of granting such paperwork on his own planet. Then of course take the exams himself. Some good old political quid pro quo - as failing your boss is likely a bad career move. Also a nice two fingered salute to those who put him in this situation - the same mob who did the revocation in the first place.

But, time for a new governor - one who doesn't want Grimes 'hanging around like a bad spell' - and John is more than happy to take his own ship and crew into space once more.

Things get a little Spartan again, as he ends up reuniting with multiple distaff elements from the past - Maggie, Fenella Pruin, Shirl, and Darleen. Things get rather athletic and violent again as a result, but much more fun from a reader's point of view are this particular group and Grimes' own crew.

3 out of 5

This time, Shirl and Darleen decide to come with Grimes, as they fancy the trip. A wild heritage that particular pair have. Grimes also has a robot passenger again, not so Australian as the pair of New Alicians - her name is Seiko.

After a pleasant visit with the rellos things get rather hairier, thanks to old pirate nemesis Drongo Kane:

'Oh, yes. And this fur export trade is the monopoly of Able Enterprises . . . .'

'Which outfit,' said Damien, 'is run by old cobber Commodore Baron Kane, of El Dorado.'

'No cobber of mine,' growled Grimes.

'But you know Kane. And you know that any enterprise in which he's involved is liable to be, at the very least, unsavory. Well, APS have heard stories about this fur trade. APS have asked me to carry out an investigation. After all, I'm only a rear admiral. But I have clashed, in the past, with the El Dorado Corporation and gotten away with it . . . .'

'With me as your cat's-paw,' said Grimes.

'Precisely. And, admit it, it does give you some satisfaction to score off Kane. Doesn't it?'

'I suppose so.'

'It does, and we both know it.' He turned to Madame Duvalier. 'Grimes and Kane are old enemies,' he explained. 'Apart from anything else there was rivalry for the favors of the Baroness Michelle d'Estang, who is now Kane's wife— hence his El Doradan citizenship.'

Not to mention a bunch of witch burning fanatics.

3 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

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