The Cometeers

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The Cometeers
Cometeers.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
Author Jack Williamson
Illustrator Edd Cartier (frontispiece and endpapers)
Cover artist Edd Cartier
Country United States
Language English
Series Legion of Space Series
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Fantasy Press
Publication date
1950
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 259 pp
ISBN NA
Preceded by The Legion of Space
Followed by The Queen of the Legion

The Cometeers is a collection of two science-fiction novels by the American writer Jack Williamson. It was first published by Fantasy Press in 1950 in an edition of 3,162 copies. The novels were originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1936 and 1939, and later released as individual paperbacks by Pyramid Books.

Contents[edit]

  • "The Cometeers"
  • "One Against the Legion"

Plot[edit]

Young Bob Star—the son of hero John Star—lives in Purple Hall on Phobos, feeling like a prisoner. Grim news arrives about a "comet" approaching the solar system comet that moves about as if it is managed by intelligent beings. The invading aliens are referred to as The Cometeers.

After the so-called Cometeers penetrate into the secret archives of The Green Hall and carry out information that a man named Merrin alive, the Council of The Green Hall decides to destroy the comet with the secret weapon AKKA. Jay Kalam the commander of the Legion seeks peaceful contact with the aliens at first. The Green Hall directs John Star to kill Merrin if necessary.

Merrin is Stephen Orco - his old acquaintance the Legion Academy. Merrin is in fact a psychopathic, outlawed android who once subjected Star to horrific torture with the help of the Iron Confessor device developed by the "Reds" of the Old Earth. Kalam tells Bob that entrepreneur Edward Orco found in space a life-support space capsule with a child inside who Orco adopted under the name Stephen. Stephen Orco graduated the Academy, was assigned to Callisto, created a vortex gun based on the plasma weapons of the Medusae, and raised a revolt against Green Hall.

Aladoree Anthar's attempt to destroy the rebels with AKKA failed, as Stephen Orco has the same weapon, designed by himself. However, the Legion was able to develop its vortex cannon and forced Orco to surrender. Orco bargained for her life, only Bob Star can kill Orco. Kalam leaves Star on Neptune, which contain secret prison with Orco and goes off on a mission of goodwill to Cometeers. Bob Starr sees a girl, begged him to kill Orco. Suddenly appear Cometeers, kidnapped prisoner and murdered all jailers. Surviving legionnaires Gilles Habibullah and Hal Samdu with Bob Star found the wrecked ship Jay Kalam, which was destroyed by Cometeers. Then they find the ship "Kingfisher Bird" and fly away. But Cometeer destroys the engines. Heroes find a mysterious asteroid - the base of a brilliant scientist (but they also found traces of Cometeers). There, Bob Star finds a girl who uses a certain kind of teleportation. Asteroid is sucked into a comet. Legionnaires find a cache with fuel and fly to the main comet planetoid, where are captured by Cometeers. Kalam understand the language of a girl. She is one of the descendants of the Spanish crew of the research starship captured by Cometeers. She knows that in the center of the main planetoid is a weapon that can destroy the body intangible Cometeers. Bob Star can incite the prisoners to revolt, the heroes get to the center planetoid, where they find an empty box. Kalam tells Steven Orco (he became Cometeer) and the ruler of a comet that Orco - android, an artificial person, created in the asteroid exile scientist Eldo Arruni. Realizing what the devil he has created, Arruni placed Orco in a capsule and sent it into space. At this time, Habibullah finds a mysterious weapon and sends it to Bob Star, he remembers that Orco was unable to break his will with the help of the Iron Confessor and destroys cometeers. He speaks to his mother that the girl is his bride.

Reception[edit]

Boucher and McComas praised the novels as "swashbuckling romantic adventure . . . which make more recent imitators look pallid indeed.".[1] P. Schuyler Miller noted that while the novels' "smoothly written space-action plots" were effective, the Giles Habibula character steals the show.[2] Everett F. Bleiler declared "The Cometeers" to be "much more elaborate, much more thought-provoking than The Legion of Space, especially with Star's psychological difficulties."[3]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, August 1951, p.84
  2. ^ "Book Reviews", Astounding Science Fiction, July 1951, p.156
  3. ^ Everett F. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years, Kent State University Press, 1998, p.508

References[edit]

  • Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 237. 
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1978). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 462. ISBN 0-911682-22-8.