East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The summer of Dumarest


Back when I was starting as a science fiction reader – as to say, in the late ’70s – I chanced upon an article in a magazine that basically quartered and killed E.C. Tubb and his Dumarest series. Cheap, repetitive, boring, bad bad bad. Oh, well, I took note and moved on – it’s not like there wasnt other stuff to read, right?

Fast forward to 2017 and the announcement that a TV series was in the works based on the Dumarest novels. Back then, a friend dropped on me the whole 33-books series, telling me it was a good opportunity for me to brush up on the plot before the series hit our screens.
The series never happened, I never read the books.

Then, this morning, two things happened.

First, I found that fated article again (I was putting some order in an old box) and I realized who’s the author – to wit one I wouldn’t trust to tell me the time of day.
Second, a contact on Facebook launched his own Dumarest Challenge – he’s planning to read all 33 books in the next six months.
And I thought… why not?

For the uninitiated, the Dumarest Saga (aka Dumarest of Terra) series is a 33-book space opera adventure series that British writer E.C. Tubb wrote between 1967 and his death in 2010. The series features the titular Earl Dumarest, a space adventurer looking for the fabled planet from which the humans came – yeah, you guessed it, it’s Earth – in a pretty colorful and pulpy galaxy filled with dangers, strange conspiracies and beautiful women.
Light entertainment, a perfect summer read, and a good way to alternate the more complex/demanding books I am reading.

So here I am, with a cunning plan – read a Dumarest novel every weekend over the next three months, which should bring me about halfway through the series. Should I decide to go on, I will blog about the books, because hey, that’s a neat idea too.
We start with The Winds of Gath, that’s 240 pages long and runs like a Japanese bullet train. Halfway into it, it’s pretty fun in an old-fashioned, unsophisticated way.

And as I looked for details for this post, I realized I after all did read some E.C. Tubb books – in a big fat omnibus of his Captain Kennedy space thrillers, a series he wrote under the alias of Gregory Kern, and that for some mysterious reason were published in Italy as Captain Ken – why not keep the Kennedy name on the cover? It’s a mystery.
Only four of the 13 Captain Kennedy novels were published in my country – and I found them fun Captain Future rip-offs, maybe a little naive in points.

So, here we meet again.
On to Gath.
I’ll keep you posted.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “The summer of Dumarest

  1. Never read the Dumarest series????

    Holy Shit!

    In 1970 when I was still in high school I picked up an ACE Double for an S&S novel called the The Bane Of Kanthos. Good story, I liked it. Found myself stuck on the subway train going home from school, finished reading it and decide to take a look at the novel on the flip side. Kalin turned out to be the 4th in the Dumarest series. I still remember the first line of dialogue on page one, “It was Bloodtime on Logis and the Captain was firm”. I then started haunting all the used book stores I knew in Manhattan and Brooklyn looking for the earlier novels as well as several that had been printed since.

    I then proceeded pick up each new book as it came out over the next 15 years. On trains, planes, buses, on my way to and from school, later to and from work, not to mention in the men’s room at work and pretty much anywhere I could sit, lean or squat. Just as long as I had enough light.

    I even took to carrying a knife in my boot (hey, NYC was dicey in the 70’s after they went into financial default and laid off 5,000 cops).

    You’ll see what I mean by that, it’s not very much of a spoiler.

    So basically, yeah, I’m a fan.

    I’m pretty sure you’ll be one too.


    • Well, I’m twenty pages from the end of Gath, and it’s been a fun ride so far.
      I can only blame my younger self for believing that article. I’ll make up fast for my errors.
      And about NY being dicey in the ’70s, I know: I visited in ’76, and it was straight out of a Kojak episode. A lady in the subway asked my father if he was crazy wearing his watch so anyone could see and rob him.


  2. Yep, sounds like the Rotten Apple at it’s economic low point. The cops pretty much had orders not to arrest anyone unless it was for murder, armed robbery or rape.

    Ah yes, my youth!! Good times : /

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I got into the Dumarest books about fifteen years ago because they were the major inspirational source for the scifi RPG “Traveller” (Game Designers’ Workshop, Far Future Enterprises, 1977-present). I really enjoy Tubb’s economic style of writing, and, if you can stomach the repetition, they make for entertaining reads. I was excited to hear about the TV show back in 2017. The buzz was envigorating, but I guess nothing came of it. I wonder if it was a lack of financing or the classic “creative differences”? It’s an intriguing character, a fascinating setting…shame it will be more time before we can see it in live action.

    Liked by 1 person

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