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O Pioneer!
By Frederik Pohl

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O Pioneer!
By Frederik Pohl
G. K. Hall & Co., Large Print, (1998)
ISBN: 0-7838-0397-4
Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 9, 2001

O Pioneer! is a fast pace, humorous story, by one of the masters of modern science fiction, Frederik Pohl. In this extraterrestrial tale, Eversham Giyt and his new wife, the ex-hooker Rina, immigrate from Wichita Kansas to Tupelo, the Peace Planet. Giyt's life in Wichita is well organized and peaceful. He is a skilled computer hacker who uses his skill to embezzle enough money to live on. Giyt, however, is an honorable thief. He only steals from companies that he has worked for, and feels, in his own mind, that the money he embezzles is his just reward for the extraordinary services that he provides his clients.

Although Giyt lives a comfortable life, he is bitten by the traveling bug when he meets with recruiters, looking for colonists to move to Tupelo. Using his exceptional computer skills, Giyt easily creates a fictional background for himself that makes him appear as the ideal colonist. The only hitch is that they want their colonist married, a fact he did not know when he submitted his application. So in short order, Giyt finds himself married to his girlfriend, and settling into a new, spacious home on Tupelo. Here, Giyt expects to continue his peaceful, private lifestyle, but that is not to be. Within five weeks of arriving on the planet, Giyt is elected as the mayor of the human community.

Almost immediately, his life ceases to be private as he is forced into the forefront of the human community, and into that of the other five races that inhabit Tupelo. For, as mayor, Giyt also must act as liaison between the humans and the other five races on the planet, and serve on a sort of inner-planetary United Nations. While life on Tupelo seems idyllic, Giyt quickly comes to realize that not everything is as idyllic as it first seemed, and he is quickly plunged into a dangerous investigation to uncover the truth before the peace of the peace planet is disrupted.

This is a wonderful story that has, as a subplot, a charming love story carried out between Giyt and his wife Rina. Giyt himself is a delightful, friendly character. In addition to Giyt and the other humans, O Pioneer! is also peopled with a host of intriguing creatures. Pohl gives each race a unique culture, look, and hilarious eccentricities. And some of the nonhuman characters, such as Mrs. Brownbenttalon, have as vital role in the story as do the humans. In this story, Pohl has created a plausible world, and offered a look at one possible future for humans. Were it not for a couple of scenes containing mature content, such as the explanation of how the Centaurian's engage in marital relations, this book would be suitable for all readers.

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