Published in 1974

Minerva...The Tenth Planet.

So distant, the Sun is just another star, cold and dim...

Earth had finally succumbed to nuclear horror. Refugees of the holocaust fled beyond the bounds even of Pluto's orbit---to Sol's Tenth Planet. Grief-stricken at Earth's fate, they have also fled the adventurous spirit which at once was Earth's pride and her downfall.

But their static existence under a benevolent dictatorship was about to end for the Minervans. Miraculously, from 50 centuries in the past, comes a man whose bold and daring spirit threatens to lay their very civilization on the rack of rebellion.

Color me sci-fi impressed. This is not a usual genre to me - I'm a complete noob with sci-fi and all its appeal, but this is something I've been wanting to change for years. I'm on the hunt to find the areas of Sci-fi I'll like, the sections of this genre that will appeal to me. This is apparently one of them.

The Tenth Planet is an older book, it's relatively short, and it's almost perfect. I was already intrigued by the last sad goodbye to Earth on the ship, the booby-traps on the ship that shows man is always at war - even when apart, but had no idea my interest would be piqued even further when the plot was full out false utopia.

This is humanity's third chance - the second chance that the main character was heading toward apparently failed, as we learn along with him when he is revived, given a new body, a new existence, five thousand years later. He is resuscitated on Minerva, the third planet, a distant thing where the values were formed by a puritanical sort of dictator. They must keep their population to 10,000, there is no more marriage, all childbirth must be approved in advance, and their lifespans are rapidly decreasing.

In some ways this Utopia works, as the main character even acknowledges. Gone is war, gone is violence and strife and crime and the tragedies which befall because of it. No more marriage also means no more divorce, no more custody suits, no more broken families. But without marriage or intent to grow more serious, to find 'the one', all who are joined are for convenience, temporary, and for no magic lasting unions. Money doesn't exist as it is the 'root of all evil'. All are valued. Religious is absent. But the root of man that has always existed to explore, be adventurous, full of spirit and joy and creativity - that root has been deadened. Now the Minervians never leave their hole, they never desire to travel beyond their means, and even their music is limited and mere glimpses of humanities past.

It helped the book that the author writes well. I dug Cooper's style of the pen and how he twisted sentences together. There's a little humor through the main character's realistic personality, and the pacing is kept solid, smoothly flowing with the story where something is always seeming to happen. I never grew bored.

The main character, Idris, was likeable before and after his transformation. I rooted for him and his rebellious, human side the whole way. Mary was an intriguing remnant of a woman who's lost her home planet and her youth. All characters worked well for their roles.

If you ever find this laying around somewhere in the corner of a used bookstore, or are lucky enough to already own it, definitely give it a read. It's a simple but complicated false Utopia that's fascinating and perhaps plausible in the distant future.