The Last Planet
(aka) Star Rangers
~ 1st Novel in the Central Control Series by Andre Norton
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The Last Planet
Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~
In 8054 A.D. the Stellar Patrol was the last remnant of the power of a once flourishing intergalactic empire. It is a time of decadence and dissolution in the Empire. Sector wars are carrying off more and more worlds from Central Control. Individual bureaucrats are usurping their positions to carve out private kingdoms. Only the incorruptible Patrol and its Code remain to stand in their way. Yet, the Patrol has seen better days. Their ships are old and there are no replacements- only cannibalization keeps them running. The supply ships come less and less often. Communications between sectors- and with Central Control itself is breaking down. There are fewer and fewer new recruits. The only thing still as strong as ever is the dedication, honor, and tradition of the Patrol.
The Vegan scout Starfire was one of the few ships left to the Patrol Fleet which was dispersed on a useless mission to remap forgotten systems on the edge of the galaxy. The crew of the Starfire realized that there was little chance that they would ever return – yet they performed their duty to the best of their ability. Until Starfire crashed and could go no further. They were stranded on a fertile planet, with breathable air – but it was completely off their charts. There the mixed crew of aliens and humans had to face the dangers of a strange planet, and the greatest threat of all – the breakdown of discipline and the beginnings of anarchy.
Quickly scouting around their crash site, they find evidence of a long vanished high tech civilization in the Sealed Cities, along with nomadic hunter-gatherer level groups of humans. Looking for better shelter to tend their injured personnel, the rangers enter one of the cities, only to find it occupied by another group of refugees and ruled by the Acturian Cummi, a master telepath, one who is not above overpowering and directly controlling other people’s minds, who is bent on becoming the sole ruler of the planet. Zinga, a member of the ancient historian race of Zacathans, and the human Kartr, both high order telepaths themselves, though not of the strength of Cummi, end up in a memorable mental battle with Cummi.
Write-up from the 1960’s ACE paperback edition ~
The Last Planet
“The sky ‘s no limit to Andre Norton’s imagination – New York Times
“No cut-and-dried star-hopping here, but oddly all the more impact of the awe and wonder of space… All in all an excellent book for the new science-fiction reader and even for the veteran a refreshingly readable one.” – New York Times Hearald
Write-up from the back of 1970’s ACE paperback edition ~
The Last Planet
In 8054 A.D. the Stellar Patrol was the last remnant of the power of a once-flourishing intergalactic empire. The Vegan scout Starfire was one of the few ships left to the Patrol Fleet which was dispersed on a useless mission to remap forgotten systems on the edge of the galaxy.
The crew of Starfire realized that there was little chance that they would ever return – yet they performed their duty to the best of their ability… until Starfire crashed and could go no further.
They were stranded on a fertile planet, with breathable air – but it was completely of their charts. There the mixed crew of aliens and humans had to face the dangers of a strange planet, and the greatest threat of all – the breakdown of discipline and the beginnings of anarchy.
Write-ups from fans ~
In the last days of a galactic-wide civilization, a spaceship of the Space Patrol makes its last landing (a crash) on a planet completely off the star charts. The captain, Vibor, is seriously injured with a head wound. Ranger Sergeant Kartr, with his small command of two Bemmies (Zinga, a Zacathan, and Fylh, a Tristian) and a dark-adapted human, Rolth, takes charge and evacuates the crew, then after exploring their new planet home, the Rangers discover an ancient city, still in working order, currently inhabited by the passengers and crew of a luxury liner that had been forced away from its destination by pirates. One of the passengers, Cummi, an Arcturian, had been a Vice-Sector Lord at home, and thought he should rule here too. The Rangers disagree, as do quite a few of the passengers, who take the Patrol's arrival as a signal to topple the Vice-Sector Lord. However, Cummi manages to telepathically take control of Kartr's mind and forces him to steal the Ranger's sled and take him out of the city. After the revolution succeeds, the city dwellers want nothing to do with any symbols of their old life and the Patrolmen are (politely?) requested to leave. As Zinga and Fylh rescue Kartr, they also come across a family of Zacathans, Hist-Techneer Zicti and his family. Together Zicti and Zinga heal Kartr's mind from Cummi's damage. Kartr then trails Cummi to a village of natives who have degenerated into barbarism and defeats him, at least partly due to Cummi contracting a deadly plague, with which he infects the natives. The Rangers agree to avoid contact, but to follow the natives to the place they call the Meeting Place of the Gods which turns out to be an old spaceport--also still in working order, and use it to beam in a Patrol ship carrying survivors of a destroyed Patrol Base. Together the entire group decides to turn their backs on the city and survive as the natives do, until they manage to once again reach for the stars. ~ SL
1953’s The Star Rangers takes us to a First Galactic Empire three thousand years old, just past the point where slow decline becomes rapid collapse. Central Control is no longer so central or so in control but the Patrol remains loyal to its former master. This makes the Patrol an impediment to Imperial functionaries trying to transition from regional bureaucrat to local warlord and so the Vegan registry Patrol ship Starfire finds itself ordered to chart uncharted worlds, a long term exploration mission whose real purpose is to keep the men of the Starfire occupied long enough to be…. ~ JN
Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre
1955 by Groff Conklin in Galaxy Science Fiction, July
1955 by P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding Science Fiction, September
See also ~ Star Rangers
Bibliography of English Editions ~
- (1955) ACE Double Book containing The Last Planet and A Man Obsessed by Alan E. Nourse, Published by ACE, PB, # D-096, $0.35 ~ cover of The Last Planet by Barton ~ cover of A Man Obsessed by Payton
Synopsis for A Man Obsessed ~
Jeffrey Meyer had a killing on his mind. It meant nothing to him that his towering 21st-Century world was going mad. He shouldered aside the rising tide of narcotics-mania, the gambling fever, the insatiable lust for the irrational. Jeff had his own all-consuming ambiting: Paul Conroe must die! After a five-year frenzied chase, Jeff had his victim cornered. He'd driven him into the last hideaway of the world's most desperate men---the sealed vaults of the human-vivisectionists. Jeff knew that to reach his final horrible objective, he must offer himself as a guinea pig for the secret experiments of the world's most feared physicians.
Written nearly 50 years ago by a medical doctor, this is a frightening portrait of a world in which the health care industry has fallen under total control of the government; in other words, a world in which the Clintons won their 1993 assault on human freedom! Must be read!
- (1955) ACE Special Edition ~ PB, # D-096, $0.35 ~ This is a rare edition that appears to be the one half of the ACE Double – Although it carries the ACE Double number it is only The Last Planet – The back is a blue field with the words “AN ACE BOOK”
- (1962) Published by ACE, PB, # D-542, $0.35, 192pg ~ #F-366 1965 $0.40 192pg, #M-151 1966 $0.45 192pg, #47161 1969 $0.60 192pg, covers by Barton ~ #47162 1972 $0.95 192pg, #47163 1974 $1.25 192pg, covers by Dean Ellis
Non-English Editions ~
- (1992) Combined with "Catseye", "Star Hunter" and "Star Guard" ~ Published in Angarsk, by Amber and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14007-0, HC, 528pg ~ Russian title Звездная стража [Star Guard]
- (1992) Combined with "Daybreak 2250 AD", "Star Guard", "Secret of the Lost Race" and "Star Hunter" ~ Published in Ishin, by EYA, HC, 544pg ~ cover by O. Polishchuk ~ Russian title Рассвет в 2250 году [Daybreak 2250 AD]
- (1992) Combined with "The Tower of Zanid" by L. Sprague de Camp and "The Productions of Time" by John Brunner ~ Published in St. Petersburg, by Egos, 5-854-76003-7, HC, 381pg ~ cover by N. Zubkov ~ Russian title Последний бастион [The Last Planet] title on the cover Клуб любителей фантастики [Fiction Literature Club # 20]
- (1993) Combined with "Star Guard", "Star Man's Son", "Treasure on Thunder" by Edmond Hamilton and "Brother Berserker" by Fred Saberhagen ~ Published in Tallinn, by Melora, 5-797-90480-2, HC, 512pg ~ cover by M. Shevdova ~ Russian title Планета приключений. [Planet of Adventure]
- (1994) Combined with "Catseye", "Star Hunter" and "Star Guard" ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press, 5-863-14034-8, HC, 528pg ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Звездная стража [Star Guard]
- (2015) Combined with “Secret of the Lost Race”, “The Sioux Spaceman”, “Yurth Burden” & “Star Guard”, Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699827817, HC, 704pgs ~ “Secret of the Lost Race”, “The Sioux Spaceman” & “Yurth Burden” translation by O. Kolesnikova, “Star Guard” & “The Last Planet” translation by D. Arseniev ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ series: All Norton ~ Russian title Последняя планета [Last Planet]