Thursday, July 10, 2008

Retief! - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/p-347-retief.aspx

A collection of stories and one novel about an Interstellar Diplomat. Retief, the title hero is a man of action, on the ground diplomat, and generally a junior one. He prefers to get problems solved quickly and for the right reasons, as opposed to shuffling them under a paper pile and have them go away.

However, these tales are light-hearted satire, in general, dealing with plots, corporate intrigue and alien opponent deviousness, along with bureaucratic incompetence and opposition.

A pretty decently entertaining bunch coming out at a bit under 3.50 as they do.

The editor of this collection loosely groups them into sections, beginning with a story from nearer the end of Retief's career, then goes back to earlier, as well as featuring a group of stories where his major (even if behind the scenes) opponents come from a race of aliens known as the Groaci.

Retief : DIPLOMAT-AT-ARMS - Keith Laumer
Retief : PROTOCOL - Keith Laumer
Retief : THE BRASS GOD - Keith Laumer
Retief : SEALED ORDERS - Keith Laumer
Retief : PALACE REVOLUTION - Keith Laumer
Retief : CULTURAL EXCHANGE - Keith Laumer
Retief : SALINE SOLUTION - Keith Laumer
Retief : NATIVE INTELLIGENCE - Keith Laumer
Retief : POLICY - Keith Laumer
Retief : ULTIMATUM - Keith Laumer
Retief : THE PRINCE AND THE PIRATE - Keith Laumer
Retief : THE CASTLE OF LIGHT - Keith Laumer
Retief : RETIEF'S WAR - Keith Laumer
Retief : WICKER WONDERLAND - Keith Laumer
Retief : COURIER - Keith Laumer
Retief : PROTEST NOTE - Keith Laumer
Retief : AIDE MEMOIRE - Keith Laumer

Time for a change in the Games of Empires.

4.5 out of 5


No pet food for us, Ambassador.

4 out of 5


Pope joke.

3 out of 5


"I suggest we use Tennessee rules," said Retief. "They're very liberal: biting, gouging, stomping, kneeling, and, of course, choking, as well as the usual punching, shoving, and kicking." "Hmmm. These gambits seem geared to forms employing rigid endo-skeletons; I fear I shall be at a disadvantage." "Of course," Retief said, "if you'd prefer a more plebian type of contest . . ." "By no means. But perhaps we could rule out tentacle-twisting, just to even the balance."

3.5 out of 5


Gambling on it.

3 out of 5


Armed Baggage MEDDLE.

3.5 out of 5


Triple salted rock deal.

4 out of 5


Free Electorate Fun Everywhere.

3 out of 5


A lost cruiser to find.

4 out of 5


"After estivating, the Verpp moult, and then they're Qornt, of course. The Gwil become Boog, the Boog become Rheuk, the Rheuk metamorphosize into Verpp—"

3 out of 5


Not to mention Greenbacks and Groaci.

3.5 out of 5


Dealing with militant Groaci tourism.

3 out of 5


Retief is an interstellar diplomat who prefers a bit of hands (or guns, knives, or whatever is necessary) on peacekeeping, compared to the more paper-pushing-loving members of his bureaucracy.

To get an idea of some of the Yes Minister, or Grass Roots, or The Games still of satire :-

"Oh, prime minister, eh? Who gave him that title?" "Why, he advised the ambassador that it was conferred early this morning by unanimous vote of the Council of Drones." Retief followed Magnan into the lift; the doors closed with a soft whoosh! of compressed air. The car lurched, started heavily upward. "Let's see," Retief mused. "That's the dummy legislature he set up to satisfy the ambassador's passion for democracy, isn't it? It was fortunate he had seventy-three senile uncles handy to appoint; saved the bother of breaking in strangers." "Yours is a distorted view of the evolution of representational government here on Quopp," Magnan said reprovingly. "Closer attention to your Daily Bulletin from the Bird's Nest would go far toward homogenizing your thinking on the subject."

"I thought that was something they "The term refers to voluntary alignment of viewpoint toward a group-oriented polarity; a sort of linkage of moral horsepower for maximal thrust toward the objective." "I'm not sure that pasteurized thinking is rich enough in intellectual vitamins to satisfy my growing curiosity about just what Ikk is up to."

In this particular escapade, a native conflict is being stirred up by his old antagonists, and he gets to go wheeling (the natives have wheels/rotors etc.) around the place to see what he can do about it.

3.5 out of 5


Retief gets in some underwater work, and has a serious bomb issue.

3 out of 5


Retief has piracy and an alien invasion of a peaceful unarmed world to sort out. Needs a Bolo and sneakery.

3.5 out of 5


Aga Kagan landgrab opposition.

3.5 out of 5


Evil Soft Ones? Guess who they might be?

3 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

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