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Gun for Hire   By: (1917-1983)

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Gun for Hire by Mack Reynolds is a thrilling and thought-provoking novel set in a dystopian future where corporate greed and political corruption have run rampant. The story follows the life of Joe Mauser, a highly-skilled and well-known assassin for hire.

Reynolds skillfully crafts a world where corporations have gained absolute control over governments and ordinary citizens. This bleak depiction of a society completely controlled by profit-driven entities raises important questions about the impact of unregulated capitalism and the consolidation of power.

One of the highlights of this novel is the complex characterization of Joe Mauser. Despite being a skilled killer, Mauser possesses a moral compass that ensures he only accepts contracts to eliminate those who truly deserve it. This internal struggle adds an additional layer of depth to his character, making him relatable and likable, despite his lethal profession.

The author's portrayal of the world-building is exceptional. Reynolds paints a vivid picture of a future where crime is rampant and citizens live in constant fear. The pervasive influence of corporations, their manipulation of public opinion, and the government's willingness to turn a blind eye to illegal activities create an atmosphere of utter despair and hopelessness. The reader cannot help but be struck by the eerie parallels between this dystopian world and the challenges our own society faces today.

Furthermore, Reynolds subtly tackles themes of social inequality and economic disparity, provoking readers to reflect on the dangers of uncontrolled capitalism. The book acknowledges the harsh reality that power naturally gravitates towards those who possess economic resources, causing a power imbalance that jeopardizes democracy and personal freedoms.

Although Gun for Hire is a gripping and engaging read, there are some minor flaws. The pacing can feel uneven at times, with slower sections interrupting the otherwise rapid progression of the narrative. Additionally, while most characters are well-developed, some tertiary ones could have benefited from more depth.

Overall, Gun for Hire is a thought-provoking and captivating novel that combines thrilling action with social commentary. Mack Reynolds' ability to create a chillingly believable dystopia and his compelling main character make this book a must-read for science fiction enthusiasts and anyone interested in exploring the potential consequences of unchecked corporate power.

First Page:

A gun is an interesting weapon; it can be hired, of course, and naturally doesn't care who hires it. Something much the same can be said of the gunman, too....




Illustrated by van Dongen

Joe Prantera called softly, "Al." The pleasurable, comfortable, warm feeling began spreading over him, the way it always did.

The older man stopped and squinted, but not suspiciously, even now.

The evening was dark, it was unlikely that the other even saw the circle of steel that was the mouth of the shotgun barrel, now resting on the car's window ledge.

"Who's it?" he growled.

Joe Prantera said softly, "Big Louis sent me, Al."

And he pressed the trigger.

And at that moment, the universe caved inward upon Joseph Marie Prantera.

There was nausea and nausea upon nausea.

There was a falling through all space and through all time. There was doubling and twisting and twitching of every muscle and nerve.

There was pain, horror and tumultuous fear.

And he came out of it as quickly and completely as he'd gone in.

He was in, he thought, a hospital and his first reaction was to think, This here California. Everything different. Then his second thought was Something went wrong. Big Louis, he ain't going to like this.


He brought his thinking to the present... Continue reading book >>

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