Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Slave Ship from Sergan by Gregory Kern

Title:  Slave Ship from Sergan
Author:  Gregory Kern (E. C. Tubb)
First Publication:  1973
Cover Artist:  Jack Gaughan
Series:  Cap Kennedy #2

Synopsis (from the back cover):
HUMAN VS INHUMAN To the reptilian mind - especially the intelligent type of planets like Sergan and Obrac - the lives of others were as nothing to the need for status. To the feline mind - especially to the clever advisor of the master of Sergan - the agonies of others were not only of no consequence, they could even be a source of joy. So when these two types of inhuman intelligences got together to defy the Terran orders against interplanetary kidnapping, space hijacking, and human slavery, it was definitely a case for a top-notch secret agent. Because Earth could not afford a showdown with more than one alien species at a time. The secret agent was Cap Kennedy, Free Acting Terran Envoy, and his pursuit of the SLAVE SHIP FROM SERGAN turned out to be one of his most dangerous single-handed adventures.

I thought this was a better book than the first one "Galaxy of the Lost".  This time around, E. C. Tubb (writing as Gregory Kern) crafted a good old fashioned space noir solo adventure for Cap.

Cap goes undercover to solve a mystery.  He fights his way through many tough spots to get to the bottom of the problem.  At times it seems like Humphrey Bogart was one of the models for his character.  

Tubb does a good job of capturing the atmosphere of the noir space opera.  The two genres make a good combination.  Part of the noir genre is the mystery the main character is trying to solve.  It also reflects someone who is in over their head.  While the reader is confident that Cap will triumph (otherwise it will be a very short series), the author does give the impression that Cap is in danger.

It is a good example of old school, slightly modernized pulp.

Recommended for someone who is looking for a fun adventure serial.


1 comment:

Carl V. said...

It sounds like fun. Your description of the dangers that the character experiences despite knowing he will live reminds me of The Time Traders which I just finished. I like it when an author can engage you in a story even when you know without a doubt that the hero will make it through.

And I too think noir mashes up well with science fiction in general.