Review: Space Prison

The science fiction novel by author Tom Godwin was first published in 1958 under the title The Survivors. It was later published in 1960 under the title Space Prison. The novel is an expansion of Godwin’s story “Too Soon to Die” which first appeared in the magazine Venture.

A ship heading from Earth to Athena, a planet 500 light years away, is suddenly attacked by the Gerns, an alien empire in its expansion phase. People aboard are divided by the invaders into Acceptables and Rejects. The Acceptables would become slave labor for the Gerns on Athena, and the Rejects are forced ashore on the nearest ‘Earth-like’ planet, called Ragnarok. The Gerns say they will return for the Rejects, but the Rejects quickly realize that that isn’t going to happen.  But rather than dying horrible deaths, the rejects find ways to survive on the very inhospitable planet… and turn the tables on their captors. 

Considering that this is from the pulp fiction era, this is an exceptionally well written book.  Most of the characters are short lived, but while living on the pages, they are well crafted.  The story is tight and filled with action.  It is a brutal story; not in the sense of blood & guts imagery, but in terms of what the Rejects go through on the planet.  But this is necessary as part of the story.

This story is unique in the twist that Godwin puts on their fate.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Sci-Fi, particularly a fan of classic Sci-Fi.

I read the book in Kindle format and formatting was quite good.  Comments on the book page at Amazon indicate that another format; possibly the paperback, had issues with format during conversion to print.

4 thoughts on “Review: Space Prison

  1. Sounds just like the typical sci-fi movie or chiller channel channel move. Personally I prefer zombies over aliens but hey aliens are pretty cool too.

    1. This would be a tough one to make into a low budget movie – 6 legged rhinoceros-like critters that stand 8 feet high aren’t commonplace. Just one of the bizarre and deadly creatures that inhabited this prison planet. No zombies, but many terrifying animals.

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