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Spacial Delivery
By Gordon R. Dickson

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Spacial Delivery
By Gordon R. Dickson
Thorndike Press - Large Print, (2003)
ISBN: 0-7862-5221-9
Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 14, 2003

John Tardy is an upstanding, patriotic citizen. So, when he was drafted into government service, he willingly left his job as a biochemist and caught the first ship to Dilbia. His mission, to rescue Miss Ty Lamorc from the Dilbian, Streamside Terror. Tardy is to find that his skills as a biochemist are all but useless when facing a foe that looks an awful lot like a thin Kodiak bear. What will count is his physical and mental prowess.

Tardy is not your run-of-the-mill biochemist. He is a former All-Systems Olympics champion whose speciality was the decathlon. Nor is the Miss Lamorc your run of the mill maiden in distress. Rather she is a competent sociologist who had been studying the Dilbians. Her troubles began when Joshua Guy, the human ambassador to Dilbia caused an affront to Streamside Terror's honor, in retaliation for which he kidnaped Miss Lamorc.

Tardy arrived on Dilbia without being briefed on what his mission was to be. His only preparation was some spotty hypno-training that helped prepare him for what he was to encounter planetside - and taught him how to speak the language. Before embarking upon his quest the only thing that the Ambassador had time to brief him about was that he was to hunt down Streamside and get the girl back. He also arranged for transportation for Tardy, transportation that no amount of hypno-training could prepare the stalwart earthman for. The ambassador was mailing him to Streamside!

As a parcel in the mail, Tardy was sacrosanct. No one messes with the mail on Dilbia. This is especially true when the mail is carried by, Hill Bluffer, a postman who takes his job very seriously. Together, the Dilbian and the Human face several harrowing adventures as they race after Streamside.

Spacial Delivery is a fast-paced, jovial novel. Although a science fiction story, technology takes a backseat to the social interactions between the various races and peoples involved in the story. This is, at its essence, a story about a man overcoming insurmountable odds using only his wits.

In Spacial Delivery, Gordon R. Dickson has created a realistic world, and society, on Dilbia. The Dilbian's are intriguing characters, so much so that Dickson eventually wrote several Dilbia novels. Thrown into the Dilbian - Human mix is the Hemnoids. The Hemnoids and the Humans are in an unofficial race to align as many worlds as they can to their respective sides. Less technologically advanced than either the humans or the Hemnoids, Dilbia is one world that has yet to align itself with either faction. As Tardy is to find, nothing is ever as simple as it first appears when politics, and politicians, are involved.


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