Dawnman Planet

by Mack Reynolds
Reviewed date: 2009 Jul 30
Rating: 3
156 pages
cover art

Special Agent Ron Bronston of the United Planets is privy to an enormous secret: there exists a race of alien creatures whose technology far surpasses that of man. Bronston is part of the ultra-secret Section G, a secret agency dedicated to meeting the threat that this alien civilization poses. Section G manipulates the United Planets and all of its member worlds, to prod mankind faster, ever faster along the path of progress. When mankind meets the alien enemy, man must be ready.

Others are not so sure. Baron Maximilian Wyler, dictator of the planet Phrygia, has infiltrated Section G and knows about the aliens. He believes the best way to meet the threat is by uniting mankind under one strongman dictator. Namely, himself. Section G disagrees. Bronston is dispatched to Phrygia to deal with the Baron.

Bronston discovers that the Baron knows more about the aliens than Section G does. The aliens are no threat--they are all dead. Some other, more powerful race has turned their planets' atmospheres into poisonous fumes. This more powerful race, nicknamed the Dawnmen, may or may not be a threat.

Bronston kidnaps the Baron's niece, steals a star map from the Baron, and heads for the nearest Dawnman planet. Once there, he discovers an incredibly advanced race of unintelligent humanoids. Each individual Dawnman looks perfectly human, but is unintelligent. The entire race operates on the basis of instinctual knowledge, sort of like an elaborate termite colony. Their civilization is advanced, but stagnant.

The Dawnmen indicate that they will leave humanity alone if humanity doesn't bother them. Then they turn Phrygia's atmosphere into poison gas as a response to the Baron's attempt to steal one of their matter-converter machines.

The book ends with Bronston and his Section G friends discussing the future. They no longer need to manipulate the UP to prepare for a future confrontation with an alien civilization, but they realize they must act as a security fence to prevent any men from antagonizing the Dawnmen. It's back to work for Bronston.

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