I recently received a copy of the audiobook from Wildside Press (released through Audible). E.C. Tubb's Dumarest series was a long running classic pulp Sci-Fi space opera. Back in the early 1980s I remember browsing through the paperback sections of second-hand bookshops and seeing quite a few of these books, usually with wonderful artwork on the covers (mainly the British publisher Arrow), but I had never gotten around to picking one up. They seemed to be a strange mix of science fiction and fantasy which to my young mind didn't really make much sense, of course that was before I discovered the Sword and Planet genre. Dumarest has a lot in common with S&P, but it also seems to fall into the Space Opera category too.
The first book in the series is The Winds of Gath. It tells the story of Dumarest and his
adventures on a desolate planet by the name of Gath. Tubb certainly writes in a nihilistic and often quite joyless fashion, his future is one of dystopian civilizations (somewhere between Imperial Rome
and medieval Europe), but with high technology available to those that can afford it.
The average person scrapes an existence trying to feed himself and his family, while
the rich and powerful have all they want and have the power of life and death over their
Dumarest is a traveller, originally from the semi-mythical planet Earth. As he travels
about looking for the way back to Earth he seems to fall into one new misfortune after
I must admit, the book is not the easiest to like, other than Dumarest himself, most of
the characters are generally depressing or sly and often self centred. Finally the book
finishes without resolving much of the tale. Nowadays we are more than familiar with TV
seasons ending on a cliffhanger, but I expected more of a resolution from this pulp Sci -
Fi tale. Clearly with this first book Tubb was already aiming at a series.
Did I enjoy the audiobook? Yes, it is not overly long (just over 4 hours). The plot move
at speed and the world that Tubb creates is well rounded (if not that jolly a place).
However, I don't know if I would want to read any more of the series, unless the tone
It is great to see Wildside Press bringing these near forgotten pieces of Sci-Fi back, and
I hope that they continue to seek out more of this type of thing for future releases. I will
certainly be keeping my eye out to see what comes along next.