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Hanging by a Thread   By: (1927-1987)

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Hanging by a Thread by Randall Garrett is an enthralling science fiction novel that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout its entirety. Set in a dystopian future, the author masterfully constructs a world that is both intriguing and highly believable.

The story follows a group of individuals who are living in a post-apocalyptic society where technology has taken over every aspect of human life. The protagonist, John Dawson, finds himself embroiled in a dangerous mission to uncover the truth behind a series of mysterious disappearances. As he delves deeper into the conspiracy, he discovers that his own life is in grave danger.

Garrett's writing style is fast-paced and gripping, making it difficult to put the book down. His vivid descriptions of the decaying landscape and the advanced technology that dominates the world paint a vivid picture in the reader's mind. The author also skillfully weaves in complex ethical dilemmas, forcing readers to question the consequences of relying too heavily on technology.

The characters in Hanging by a Thread are well-developed and relatable. Each character brings a unique perspective to the story, adding depth and complexity to the narrative. I found myself emotionally invested in their fates, which made the tense moments even more thrilling.

One aspect of the book that particularly impressed me was the author's ability to seamlessly blend genres. While classified as a science fiction novel, Hanging by a Thread also incorporates elements of mystery and even a touch of romance. This diverse mix of genres kept the story fresh and unpredictable, ensuring that readers of various tastes can find something to enjoy.

If I have one criticism of Hanging by a Thread, it would be that the ending felt slightly abrupt. While it tied up the main storyline nicely, I would have liked to see a bit more closure for some of the secondary characters. Nevertheless, this minor flaw does not detract from the overall enjoyment and satisfaction I derived from reading this captivating novel.

In conclusion, Hanging by a Thread is a must-read for fans of science fiction, mystery, and thrilling dystopian tales. Randall Garrett's skillful storytelling and vibrant world-building make this book a real page-turner. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking an immersive read that will keep them guessing until the very end.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction August 1961. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.



It's seldom that the fate of a shipful of men literally hangs by a thread but it's also seldom that a device, every part of which has been thoroughly tested, won't work....

Illustrated by Douglas

Jayjay Kelvin was sitting in the lounge of the interplanetary cargo vessel Persephone , his feet propped up on the low table in front of the couch, and his attention focused almost totally on the small book he was reading. The lounge itself was cozily small; the Persephone had not been designed as a passenger vessel, and the two passengers she was carrying at the time had been taken on as an accommodation rather than as a money making proposition. On the other hand, the Persephone and other ships like her were the only method of getting to where Jayjay Kelvin wanted to go; there were no regular passenger runs to Pluto. It's hardly the vacation spot of the Solar System.

On the other side of the table, Jeffry Hull was working industriously with pencil and paper... Continue reading book >>

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