We Claim These Stars! by Poul Anderson (1959)

Duel Of The Space Wizards

I realize that Futurama's Zapp Brannigan is supposed to be an inept, impotent parody of characters like the hero in this book, but I just couldn't stop picturing Dominic Flandry, Captain of Terran Intelligence, as Zapp. The book opens with Flandry trying to hump the Right Noble Lady Guardian of the Mare Crisium. He's not trying because he finds her particularly attractive, no, he just wants her because he has a bet with another guy who says she won't have sex with anybody below the rank of earl. Dominic Flandry can have sex with whoever he damn well pleases! He looks so good that he even wonders on the second page if he is simply too handsome.

Dominic Flandry is the ultimate awesome dude. He can jump, unarmed, into a group of gun-toting aliens, beat them up with kung-fu kicks, and then go bang your sister. He owns a guy with a tail who flies his ship, cooks his food, and makes/picks out Flandry's fabulous wardrobe. Dominic Flandry can get himself out of any jam and unravel any mystery. He is truly a hero among men and space-men.

Flandry wants to chase around an old enemy, an evil bird man who can read minds, but his superior wants him to go see what's going on with Vixen, a human-colonized planet that had recently been attacked and taken over by a bunch of enigmatic wolf men. That jerk is always sending Flandry into dangerous situations, trying to get him killed, all because Flandry stole the guy's girlfriend one time as a joke. I mean, come on, what guy hasn't sexed up his friend's lady for the sheer hilarity of it?

The mysterious thing about the wolf men is that nobody knows where they came from. They don't seem to have come from a known planet, and all signs point to them receiving outside help with their invasion. But what dastardly entity could have sent them, and for what nefarious purpose? If there's one guy who can figure it out, clobber a few wolf guys, and save the day it's Zapp Bran... I mean Dominic Flandry.

This book is half of an Ace Double, the other half being The Planet Killers by Robert Silverberg. I didn't like We Claim These Stars! as much as I enjoyed The Planet Killers, but it was still entertaining. I think The Planet Killers alone is well worth the price of admission, but We Claim These Stars! makes this double feature is a rock solid value for the three dollars I paid.

Buy this book.

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