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Review: The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell

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Review: The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell

Postby Bmat » Wed Sep 13, 2006 7:50 pm

The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell

With the invention of the Blieder drive, it was possible to travel great distances in space. And humankind did just that. Huge groups were removed from the Earth and sent to populate other planets. Four hundred years later, after Earth’s having no contact with certain planets for this length of time, an Earth ship traveled to some of the planets with the idea of setting up offices on the planets and raising armies for defense of the planets and thus Earth from hypothetical alien invasion.

Each of the three planets visited in the novel had been populated with a group of humans who had certain characteristics or beliefs. The first was criminals, the second was naturists, the third was a religious group, and the fourth was pacifists. Each planet presented different problems and challenges in communicating with and trying to persuade the inhabitants toward the plans of the Earth government.

The story is written with a humorous tone. The characters are believable, and the various concepts of the organization and procedures on board ship, and the way the planets have developed come across as reasonable. The last planet, in particular, tells us of a society where the individual has freedom from governments.

The Great Explosion was published in 1962, and the technology is, of course dated, which does not spoil the story in the least. I am glad that I read the book. I first heard about it on one of the websites I visit, maybe this one, and it was well worth buying. I think that the book should be part of the recommended reading in high schools. It would challenge the students to imagine how groups of people might develop without outside influences, and whether they were better off than those who remained on Earth.
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