David Starr, Space Ranger by Isaac Asimov

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Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

David Starr, Space Ranger is quintessential "space opera," with both the strengths and the limitations of that formula. Good prevails against evil, science over ignorance, the humans of Earth over threats from elsewhere in the galaxy. Continual action and descriptions of imaginative gadgets keep the pace of the narrative brisk. The lucid, straightforward prose includes frequent explanations of space phenomena in general and the planets in particular. Like its sequels, David Starr, Space Ranger presents a mystery for readers to solve along with the hero.

In addition to a satisfying good versus evil theme and an action-oriented plot with a mystery angle, the novel offers appealing characters. David Starr (later known as Lucky) has brains, athletic ability, courage, and a welcome modesty; young readers can readily identify with this attractive hero. Bigman, the diminutive Martian who becomes David's devoted companion, offers comic relief. The villains are satisfactorily unpleasant.

Written during the cold war years, a time of heightened political tensions and military rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Lucky Starr series portrays the values of the individual who voluntarily fights for a democratic system prevailing over those of evil would-be dictators. (The villains are sometimes conspicuously racist in a way that recalls the crudest of Nazi genetic ideas, as in Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter .) Asimov's insistence on technology's importance to a democratic system reflects that these books immediately...

(The entire section is 367 words.)