Check out this very nice little review of William Rotsler's The Far Frontier ... out now in a brand new edition from Digital Parchment Services/Strange Particle Press:
We’ve all heard that saying “science fiction is nothing but westerns in outer space.” In THE FAR FRONTIER, William Rotsler takes that idea and runs with it.
The planet Zikkala is “way out at the end of the Orion spur of the Perseus arm”—the frontier, in other words. Trade ships only stop several times a year and subjective time being what it is (one year of travel on a starship at light speed was equivalent to twenty-four-point-eight real time), one never knows what interesting new devices, weapons or products might arrive.
Several trading posts have been spotted around in the outer regions away from the few cities, those primitive by standards farther in. Horses are the main transportation, more efficient than machines that might break down and need fuel. By this time, the breeds have all been mixed up: Arabian, Clydesdale, quarter horses, others, whatever combination produces the hardiest breed.
Rader is a trapper, working with a couple named Korda and Liana—a tougher pair couldn’t be found to partner with. ... When he returns to town, Rader visits his favorite pleasure dome run by Alena, a beautiful blond woman. Of course, the locals call it what it is—a whorehouse. Alena tells him she needs a champion. Not just for her pleasure dome, but for the whole planet really.
An outfit called Startraders is buying everything up, putting pressure on those not inclined to sell, some even suffering fatal “accidents.” They want to turn Zikkala into a pleasure world. A nearby planet has been discovered with huge plants that secrete a pearl-like ball, from fist sized up to head sized, that is the current “most valuable” item. It takes a lot of men a lot of time to squeeze these gems out of the dangerous plant. They need a place for relaxation and recreation for the men, who otherwise might move on to the next big thing. Zikkala is the closest planet and Alena has learned plans are already being drawn to flood a big valley, the Grand Canyon of Ziggala, to form a recreational lake.
Rader is not happy. He's been on twenty-three different worlds in his life and seen this kind of thing before. Whenever the pearls run out, or something more valuable is found, they’ll move on, leaving Zikkala a ruin. Rader likes the life here and joins happily in to save the planet.
He’s outmanned, outgunned, and soon on the wrong side of the law. But when has that ever stopped him...