The Rakehells Of Heaven-John Boyd (1969)

john boyd-the rakehells of heaven

Very funny story about two astronaut scouts who land on a planet with no government, usually no clothes and sin is an unknown concept.

Kevin “Red” O’Hara and John “Jack” Adams have been friends since Academy days and that includes the usual scrapes with regulations that almost get them expelled. Now they’re scouts and blast off for the planet Harlech. Red doesn’t return to Earth and his wife and Adams relates their adventures to a psychiatrist.

Upon landing on Harlech they set up a tent complete with a gift shop loaded with trinkets for the natives. They blast some Rock music to get their attention. Some show up but ignore them and play their version of soccer. Red and Jack teach a couple kids basketball. Red gets noticed when he wears kilts and green polka dot underwear. Since the natives could care less about public nudity Red feels like he’s in heaven. Jack was brought up with a religious background in Alabama but appreciates what he sees.

Instead of a government the planet has universities  with classes on just about everything. Jack sees it as an opportunity to teach religion and Red wants to teach poetry,drama and Earth biology. It doesn’t take Red long to make a big hit with the ladies. His big idea is to set up a colony of their own ignoring the Interplanetary Colonial Authority.

The natives refer to them as Red The Teacher and Jack The Teacher. Whenever Red is successful with a native girl he awards her the Dame of the Order of Saint George. Red decides to combine several Shakespeare plays for a televised drama. It’s a big success. One fall out is the dismissal of a student from the university for portraying a murderer.  His next production will be a musical Nativity play. Jack likes the way Red puts it together.

Jack has been celibate. He decides to take his class on a field trip to appreciate nature. Red cautions him to take some male students along so he’s not tempted by the girls. In the woods Jack meets temptation as the knockout blonde Cara makes advances. A bad storm comes up and everyone runs away leaving Jack alone with Cara. Jack fights off the mating urge until a few nights later Cara shows up where he lives. She seduces him and now he asks Red to play minister marry them.

Red gets a ceremony together and now Jack wants to form a colony but Red doesn’t like the idea. Now Jack’s a married man and changes continue on the planet. Thanks to Jack and Red they get a police force and the two have run ins with Bubo The Dean of the University. Red gets together an Easter play and then the planet gets its first murder in over a thousand years. Jack tries to balance the new laws to get a result he can live with.

The book has a lot of irony and satire and is well worth seeking out.




About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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