Bill was a peaceful farm boy until he was lured by the martial music of a passing recruitment sergeant, drugged, and made to enlist in the Empire Space Corps. His basic training is sheer hell, but somehow he manages to stay alive and achieve the rank of Fusetender 6th Class in the process.
En route to an engagement with the lizard-like Chingers, Bill's spaceship is involved in a supreme conflict and – by accident – Bill is the man who saves the ship and wins the day. A grateful Galaxy awards him its highest accolade: the Purple Dart, to be presented by the Emperor himself on the fabulous aluminium-covered planet Helio. And then his adventures really start to take off in the most bizarre and surprising ways...
Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey, 1925–2012) was an American science fiction (SF) author, best known for his character the Stainless Steel Rat and for his novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966). The latter was the rough basis for the motion picture Soylent Green (1973). Harrison was (with Brian Aldiss) the co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.
Aldiss called him "a constant peer and great family friend". His friend Michael Carroll said, "Imagine Pirates of the Caribbean or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and picture them as science-fiction novels. They're rip-roaring adventures, but they're stories with a lot of heart."
Novelist Christopher Priest wrote in an obituary, "Harrison was an extremely ... (more)