The Right to Arm Bears
The nine-foot tall, bear-like natives of planet Dilbia prize strength and sharp thinking over technology, which puts the relatively puny humans that have come to their world seeking an alliance at a disadvantage. And if that isn’t bad enough, Earthers aren’t the only aliens interested in a partnership. The dreaded Hemnoids—a bulky race with a nasty cruel streak—also have their eyes on the planet. Fortunately, creative problem-solving comes easily to certain humans–humans like John Tardy, Bill Waltham, and Malcolm O’Keefe, each of whom is thrust unceremoniously into their own Dilbian socio-political messes with only their quick wits and bendy thinking to help them prove to the Dilbians that humans are a race to be taken seriously.
Other than the blunt, good-natured disposition of the Dilbians themselves, The Right to Arm Bears doesn’t provide much to get attached to. The book is a collection of three separate stories, each featuring a different human hero, who manages to finesse his way out of a thorny, politically-charged problem. Unfortunately, the individual stories lack a cohesive thread, each female character is pigeon-holed into either a damsel in distress or a nagging shrew, and the three protagonists are completely indistinguishable from each other.
Gordon R Dickson