Science Fiction Though the Decades

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

1977: High Justice (Pournelle, Jerry)

Strife against big government and big corporate (3/5)

High Justice in my fourth solo Pournelle novel (excluding five Larry & Jerry novels). Most of Pournelle's work, in my opinion, has a military/political scope which really doesn't inspire me to read more of his work, but Pournelle has writes some fiction about government/corporate struggle and advocacy for space development (a must read would be the collection Survival of Freedom co-edited by Jerry Pournelle).

Rear cover synopsis:
"The interplanetary corporations of the future--man's highest creation or blood-sucking monsters? Fed by expanding technology, fueled by the struggle for universal power, they grow and expand, overthrowing the superpowers of Earth and becoming an all-powerful government! Finally, they are the sole inhabitant of their planet--and face a terrifying showdown for all of space itself!"

Besides the bit a grandeur above, Jerry Pournelle's collection entitled High Justice contain seven stories which all involve people's struggle against big corporations and big government. The first few stories carry their own weight, but after the collection-titled High Justice, the flavor of the stories becomes to be monotonous. There's not much progression in the universe Pournelle has plotted out, there doesn't seem to be any strides made where one side will prevail over the other, be it the government, the corporation, or the people. In the end, literally, there IS no ultimate conclusion. The last story concludes itself but leaves the series as a whole flapping in the wind by its own threadbare tatters.

A Matter of Sovereignty (1972) - 4/5 - Assistant to the Chairman of Nuclear General Company, Mr. Adams, is flown to the island of Tonga in order to lend a hand in the retrieval of the plutonium-laden ship hi-jacked by the Fijians. With a profitable interest in collected ice floes, perhaps Mr. Adams can come to an agreement about the wants and needs with the Tongan king. 27 pages

Power to the People (1972) - 3/5 - Mr. Adams is now off to the Namib desert coats where a glacier-fed irrigation and desalination plant have been heavily invested in. However, local power struggles aims to topple the budding industrialism at the cost of profit and the peoples' well-being. 21 pages

Enforcer (1974) - 3/5 - An ice floe has been towed to a mineral/ore rich lode located over a thousand kilometers from the Argentinian coast. Operating for eight years, no international laws have been breached until a coup in Argentina has thoughts of dissolving contracts with the international economies (INTERECS). Naturally, INTERECS has a problem with this and will go to any length, much as Colonel Ortiz did, to find a suitable one-sided compromise. 27 pages

High Justice (1974) - 5/5 - Ex-solicitor General of the United States, Aeneas MacKenzie meets his ex-girlfriend Laurie Jo Hansen, who now has great power at the head of Hansen Enterprises, whose laser space port is sending men and material
into orbit from Baja, Mexico. When a crime is occurs aboard the construction orbiter, no law but a lawman can settle the issue. 40 pages

Extreme Prejudice (1974) - 4/5 - Gideon Starr is on assignment. His destination is the Dansworth underwater laboratory under the Pacific ocean. His mission is to feign interest in underwater mining, electricity production, and dolphin language research all the while keeping close tabs on this personal guide and target, Hank Shields. 32 pages

Consort (1975) - 3/5 - With the help of Senator Hayden, corporate empress Laurie Jo Hansen and Aeneas MacKenzie aim to tangle the president of the United States up in a criminal scandal so that their dreams of escaping earth's tired ways, establishing a moon base, and heading for the deeper regions of our solar system. 22 pages

Tinker (1975) - 2/5 - Captain Kephart, his wife, and their two children make rendezvous with the Jefferson planetoid in order to do some profitable trade. However, the local independent colonists don't much care for the traders' profit margin and force the couple into a oddly well-prepared scheme... when an approaching vessel sends a distress call. 41 pages


  1. I could never get into military science fiction.... I have trouble enough with the endless political intrigues of C. J. Cherryh (at least she has some social commentary stuff).

    1. It begins to feel all same-same after a while. I've had High Justice on my shelf for over three years, not wanting to touch it because of Pournelle's military slant. I was grateful that it wasn't anything remotely military! (perhaps that expectation bumped up my rating of the book) No more Pournelle in my library though!