Sos the Rope (Trade Paperback)

3.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

Our Price: $14.99


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by Piers Anthony, with an introduction by Robert Vardeman

From New York Times best selling author Piers Anthony, creator of the Xanth series, comes a lost classic of apocalypse and redemption. Uncounted generations from now, civilization lies shattered in the aftermath of the Blast. To survive in the bleak landscape of this savage, post-apocalyptic future, the fiercest warriors of humanity’s disorganized tribes clash in individual combat, risking death and dishonor in the ritual battle circle.

But for the exiled warrior Sos, this desolate future is not enough. Tutored by a small group of humans hoarding the advanced technology of a bygone age, Sos sets out to climb the ladder of his barbaric world, sacrificing all he holds dear to raise up his people from darkness. But just as his plans near fruition, Sos uncovers the terrible secret of his world—a secret that launches him on a path not to liberate the planet for his people, but to destroy it...

128-page softcover trade paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-194-7

About the Author

A New York Times best seller many times over, Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob (1934– ) is one of the most prominent and prolific science fiction and fantasy authors of all time. In addition to over a hundred unrelated novels, his wildly popular Xanth series is currently 34 books long and growing, its unique brand of lighthearted fantasy remaining a high-profile staple of the genre since its inception in 1977. As a result of his enormous body of work, Piers can claim to have published a book for every letter of the alphabet, from Anthonology to Zombie Lover. Many of his popular novel series have been optioned for film, and the Xanth series has spawned both computer and board games.

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3.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Eminently skippable


Rather ridiculous! The premise here is that in a post-apocalyptic (nuclear blast) society, three groups of people exist: the "crazies" who live in settlements and distribute food, health care, and weapons; the hidden "Heliconians" who live in highly-advanced, secret refuges and produce everything that the crazies distribute; and the "nomads", wandering warriors who challenge each other to fights in a "battle circle" in order to win the right to have a particular name or status. Sos, the main character, is a nomad with the intelligence of a crazy, and he gets involved in setting up another nomad, Sol, as the leader of a tribe of warriors that is growing so strong it threatens to upset the balance between the three groups of people. So Sos is extorted by the Heliconians to depose Sol, and blah blah blah. It feels a bit inane even to type it out. The politics are unconvincing, the gender issues are highly problematic, and one comes away feeling like it's all just . . . dumb! The action scenes are well-drawn, and to be fair the main character goes through several moral dilemmas about what to do; but his inner psychology is ultimately unconvincing. Apparently, this was the first of a "Battle Circle" trilogy. The introduction to the Planet Stories edition makes it sound like this was Shakespeare--trust me, it's not.



SOS the Rope does make an interesting pair with Steppe. However, rather than a barbarian travelling into the future, this time we have a barbarian living in the future.

A post-apocalyptic future that has nomadic warrior tribes or loners, as well as more advanced technological groups that keep them fed and housed, in an interesting symbiosis.

Two men meet and challenge in the Battle Circle - one a fine warrior, but the other a master, as the former learns. The stakes escalate because they are both intrigued by the same woman, and the predictable happens. Both having the same three letter name Sol, the vanquished has to change his to Sos, and doesn't get to become married, either.

The winner has a plan, build an empire, and realising that Sos is an educated planner, wants him as his adviser, despite having wagered the right never to use any of the six major weapons again. So you can tell from the title what happens there. Not to mention the almost hilariously slashy cover.

This scenario progresses as their differences and the chance meeting at the same time with the one woman they both live affecting all things further in the novel, and discoveries of the other parts of society.

Again, better than I thought it would be. It is also illustrated.

3.5 out of 5

Sending out an S - O - S. . .


Somebody rescue this book from not getting enough attention! Once again, Planet Stories has answered the call. I enjoyed the last Anthony offering from PS, Steppe, but this one is clearly superior. I burned through this book -- a very fun fast read, but also quite thought provoking. A twisty plot and engaging characters with more depth to them than one might have expected in a work this short with as much action as it contains makes for a very engaging read. Also, whether my suspicions about purposeful planning are confirmed or not, this book makes great inspirational reading to put alongside the current kingdom-building Adventure Path. Let Piers Anthony and Planet Stories rope you in to picking up this little gem: you won't regret it.

Sovereign Court

I certainly hope we'll see Var the Stick and Neq the Sword in short order after this!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the image and description to match the finished product.

Hey, what's the deal with the blurb (my vocab fails me) above the Planet Stories banner? Does that change from volume to volume?

Alright you paizo people... this is crazy. Every Planet Stories book you've released is a favorite from my childhood! Most of these books are older and hard to find, and SOS the Rope is amazing (for those of you that haven't read it, BUY IT NOW!).
My father (in his early fities) has all of these books in his library, but it's awesome that you folks are making some of these books available again!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Hey, what's the deal with the blurb (my vocab fails me) above the Planet Stories banner? Does that change from volume to volume?

If you mean "The Universe of Future Centuries," yep, that rotated between a few different choices, depending on the book. ("Strange Adventures on Other Worlds" and "Hidden Worlds and Ancient Mysteries" were others.) We're experimenting with dropping that position for the logo for the next couple of books, though, so those taglines are also going away.

Thanks, Vic. I will sleep better knowing such little things. Being a Doctor of my status, I must ponder many things and find the answers to life's persistent questions.

Very happy to have found this and I'm really pleased with this edition. If I could, I'd give it 5 stars.

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