Dumarest of Terra
> Date: 18 Nov 1996 18:18:05 PST
I think you're talking about the Dumarest of Terra series, by E.C.Tubb.
A quick synopsis: As a young man of Earth, Dumarest stowed away on a tramp freighter. The Captain took him under his wing instead of spacing him. Many years later, when the Captain retired or died, Dumarest decided to go home only to discover that he had traveled so far that no one knew of Earth as anything but a myth.
In pursuit of "mythical" earth, he travels from one exotic and dangerous planet to another. In one adventure, he discovers the true secret of a pseudo-psionic brotherhood and a technology they despairately want. They pursue him relentlessly.
He has no real resources but his own skills as a spacer, a fighter, and keen insights into the motivation of the people he meets. He occasionally finds someone that acts as a patron for a short time, but usually works his way from planet to planet. Frequently his skill with a Blade (note the caps) comes in handy. When he's injured, he will take a "slow-time" drug to speed up his metabolism (making time seem to go slowly) so his body will heal quickly. There are lots of folks with military and pseudo-military ranks and lots of folks with noble and pseudo-noble titles.
Starships are expensive, but individuals can afford them as long as they are willing to go into hock. Merchants and pirates are everywhere. He books passage on starships as money permits, traveling "High" (nice berth, plenty of amenities) when someone else pays for it, "Middle" (private or dual occupancy, food, and all the TV he can watch) when he can afford it, and "Low" (i.e., frozen) when he's broke. When passengers don't want to spend all the transit time bored out of their skulls, they take a "quick-time" drug that slows down their metabolism so the time seems to pass more quickly.
Usually, a book will start with him arriving (broke) on a new, exotic location, and getting to know the locals either as employers or opponents until he gets involved with the plot. The plot is resolved and the books ends with him getting sent to the next planet.
The books are actually better than this snippet makes them sound...
I don't think that Traveller "borrowed" from a single source. I think that the High/Middle/Low (for example) thing could have come from a number of places. That all these elements occur in one place certainly points to this series as a strong influence. There's more, but it's been a long time. The entire series was dozens of books; each one read like a ready-made Traveller adventure.
Copyright © 1996 Bob Simpson. All Rights Reserved.
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