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-   -   Keith Laumer, sci-fi author, 1925-1993 (http://mindromp.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3692)

MondoVman 12th June 2018 01:33 PM

Keith Laumer, sci-fi author, 1925-1993
Love reading Keith Laumer. Have 3 titles, written in the times of
"succinct paperback novels" of the 60s and 70s.

Rereading Laumer's Dinosaur Beach (151 pages, 1971) for about the 10th time.
(It's my 2nd or 3rd purchased copy of it, obtained ten years ago on EBay)

A very brief partial bio of Laumer's writing courtesy of the Wayback Machine website:

borealis 12th June 2018 01:55 PM

Sorry to hear of his death.

I likely first encountered Laumer's novels in a 45 cent ace double bought from a rack in a grocery store. Dinosaur Beach is one of my memories of Laumer's fiction. And the Retief series. I likely read a lot more, but out of thousands of SF novels I read back then, the stories and authors tend to blur together a bit.

oblivion 12th June 2018 08:52 PM

The Retief novels were great reads.

We need a few Retiefs at work in the US govt right now.

MSG 12th June 2018 09:47 PM


Originally Posted by borealis (Post 432474)
Sorry to hear of his death.

Doesn't the thread title mean he's been dead for 25 years?

MondoVman 12th June 2018 10:13 PM

And ... oh my! Numerous free online titles by Laumer.

The below 3 (I own) and more via here:

A Plague of Demons; Berkley Press, 1965

Dinosaur Beach

A Trace of Memory; Berkley Press, 1964 (versions: online, Kindle w/ and w/o images)


MondoVman 12th June 2018 11:19 PM

A Trace of Memory
Excerpted from here:

"A Trace of Memory was serialized in 1962 and appeared in book form the next year. Legion is a drifter who has no self confidence and no prospects. He avoids arrest by pretending to have answered an advertisement by a man named Foster, even though he has no interest in a career as a soldier of fortune. Foster has a strange story. He is suffering from amnesia but believes that he is at least a century old, has a notebook made of material unknown to scientists on Earth, and claims to be pursued by an enemy that manifests itself as strange lights in the darkness. The reader will be well ahead of Legion thanks to a prologue which shows an alien space traveler stranded on Earth in the distant past, along with the mysterious Hunters. Legion plans to slip away at the first opportunity but coincidentally - Laumer often resorts to coincidence to speed up his plots - the Hunters show up again before he can do so. Another coincidence has Foster regenerating to a younger version that same night, and the police are after Legion for murdering the older version. Young Foster also has a new case of amnesia. The two of them are reduced to being fugitives from the law, as well as the Hunters. They decipher part of the notebook and decide that the lair of the monsters in at Stonehenge in England. Foster wants to investigate but Legion just wants to clear his name and forget about everything that has happened.

At Stonehenge, they survive an attack and activate a device that calls a lifeship from a large orbiting spaceship. Aboard, they find training tapes that enable them to use the equipment and eventually restore part of Foster's memory, enough that he knows about being stranded on Earth for centuries - it turns out he was King Arthur. Humans, it appears, are descended from castaways from his race - although we never get an explanation of hominids. But Foster doesn't know why he was in the solar system, why he is being hunted, or what disaster led to the deaths of everyone else aboard. He also explains that Terran humans would be able to regenerate as well if they were vaccinated against getting old, a rather glib explanation of his longevity. The Hunters are a lifeform that can only be nourished by electrical energy, which confined them to the area of the hidden underground installation under Stonehenge. I had to wonder how they could have evolved under those circumstances but Laumer never tells us.

Foster takes his ship and returns to his homeworld, but Legion takes the lifeship full of technological wonders and returns to Earth where he quietly amasses a small fortune and builds a retreat in an island off the coast of Peru. There, inexplicably, he puts all his artifacts in one spot with limited security and doesn't even have an escape plan when, inevitably, someone comes in force to find out where he is getting all these technological marvels. Laumer resorts to coincidence constantly to keep the story moving and that's the case here as both Soviet and American forces arrive within hours of one another, resulting in a pitched battle during which he escapes, eventually makes his way to the hidden starship, and then goes off to find his former mentor among the stars.

Arriving on the alien home world, he discovers that their civilization has collapsed into a form of primitive slave holding in which no one remembers their previously exalted past. He wanders around with a cat, who coincidentally and implausibly shows up at the precise moment necessary for him to escape a prison. Since authority is based on personal combat, he is prepared to challenge the local ruler and eventually overthrows the entire planetary government. The entire second half of the novel rings false, however, artificial and overly contrived."

borealis 12th June 2018 11:19 PM


Originally Posted by MSG (Post 432484)

Originally Posted by borealis (Post 432474)
Sorry to hear of his death.

Doesn't the thread title mean he's been dead for 25 years?

why yes, it does.

Admittedly, I had no idea if he was dead or alive, so.

Also did not notice the dates. :sadyes:

MSG 13th June 2018 12:20 AM


borealis 13th June 2018 01:05 AM


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