8

Searching for a novel that I remember reading in college, but probably published a few years earlier (So the late 80's/early 90's timeframe). Details that I remember:

  • Protagonist was enslaved to pay off debts or sent to prison planet
  • Eventually employed by family monopoly
  • Family plotted against each other for control/influence
  • Job was to hunt a dangerous animal on a specific planet
  • Essentials had to be bought from family (increasing debt)

IIRC the cover was either red or yellow, and had a picture of the protagonist in hunting gear.

  • @Otis - As my question was asked earlier and has an accepted answer, wouldn't the newer one be closed as a duplicate of this? - I guess it depends - Relevant meta: scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4744/… – JohnP Jun 19 at 16:32
  • By my general line of thinking, yes. However, the consensus answer is that the "better" Q&A is the preferred duplicate target, and I judged the proposed target as being better by virtue of having more details for both question and answer. I wouldn't argue if it was closed the other way (as sometimes happens), and no disparagement is intended in choosing yours as the one to close. – Otis Jun 19 at 16:44
  • I voted to leave this one open, and close the other. Per the linked meta, this one should be open and the other one closed. This one is both older, and has a more complete answer. – Dave Johnson Jun 19 at 16:44
  • 1
    @Otis - I took no disparagement. I find the close rules to be unnecessarily abstruse at times. – JohnP Jun 19 at 16:56
6

I found your book.

It's a 1985 book called Skinner, saw it in a used book store this weekend.

All the basic facts in your description match. Here's a link to Amazon for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Skinner-Mcenroe-Richard/dp/055324597X

Pic: enter image description here

And I found a synopsis here: http://listverse.com/2008/04/18/top-10-obscure-but-superb-science-fiction-novels/

Anyway, our down-and-out anti-hero protagonist finds himself shipped off to a desert world and deeply in debt. The planet is owned and managed by a “family company” for the production of their one great monopoly… dragonhides. The critters, not real dragons but might as well be, are big nasty reptiles living in the desert sands, and their skins are nearly indestructible. A skinner goes out (with his gear and supplies brought from the company store and increasing his debt, of course) and does his best to kill these beasties without getting killed himself so he can haul the skins back. The company even has a nursery where they hatch and raise baby dragons, and that work is deadly, too. Throw in rival factions within the family controlling the company, and you have a fairly-straightforward adventure that could well have been set in a 1890s coal town. But it isn’t, and the dragon-work is interesting to read. It’ll never be a classic, but Skinner is satisfying genre-stuff.

There ya go!

  • Oh, hey, well done! Thank you very much! – JohnP Mar 5 '18 at 15:26
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    You kill sixteen dragons / and whaddya get? / Another day older / and deeper in debt. – MissMonicaE Mar 5 '18 at 21:58
3

This has some points in common with the 1989 novel by William C. Dietz Prison Planet

Points that match:

Searching for a novel that I remember reading in college, but probably published a few years earlier (So the late 80's/early 90's timeframe).

Check. 1989

Details that I remember: •Protagonist was enslaved to pay off debts or sent to prison planet

Check. Protagonist sent to prison planet.

•Eventually employed by family monopoly •Family plotted against each other for control/influence

Possible Check. I remember him working for a criminal group on the planet (think prison gang). But I don't remember for sure if it was a family.

•Job was to hunt a dangerous animal on a specific planet •Essentials had to be bought from family (increasing debt)

Check and Check. He teams up with another prisoner that was transformed into a cybernetic attack dog and went out hunting dangerous animals to raise money and get off the planet.

IIRC the cover was either red or yellow, and had a picture of the protagonist in hunting gear.

Possible Check. Please see picture cover below:

Novel Cover

"Convicted of a crime he did not commit, Jonathan Renn is sentenced to life in the Swamp, a prison planet death row in a distant galaxy. Renn only has two choices, escape the Swamp or die in the process. Defending himself from attacks by deadly, native monster and his fellow convicts, Renn is obsessed with escaping the planet and getting his revenge on the people who set him up. Marla Marie Mendez is even more down on her luck.

Trapped inside a cybernetic dog and dropped defenseless into the Swamp, Marla can only rely on Renn and her claws to save her from the unfriendly elements. They must find a way out of the Swamp and quick before their life sentence is cut short."

  • Hrm...something is tickling that it wasn't a swamp environ, desert/arid maybe? – JohnP Feb 24 '18 at 20:20
  • In this case Prison Planet is a swamp setting. In fact the planet name is Swamp. – beichst Feb 25 '18 at 2:41

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