An overpopulation themed novel (at least for part) by Gordon R. Dickson….
A supposedly underrated/dark novel by Brian M. Stableford (according to some, one of his best)…
An early novel in Keith Laumer’s famous Retief sequence…
And a fun juvenile by Lester del Rey….
1. The Outposter, Gordon R. Dickson (1971)
(Bruce Pennington’s cover for the 1976 edition)
From the back cover: “Destination: Oblivion. The Lottery played no favorites — if a person’s number came up, he joined the rest of the losers marked for exile from the overcrowded earth. Shipped to a raw new outpost in space, they were called colonists, but their destination was oblivion. THE OUTPOSTERS, a small band of specially trained experts, were given the task of guiding the exiles in their harsh environment and protecting them from the merciless aliens, the Meda V’Dans.”
2. Retief’s War, Keith Laumer (1966)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1967 edition)
From the back cover: “The twenty-seventh century planet of Quopp is a world where Earthmen walk cautiously or not at all. The inhabitants are weirdly diabolical creatures, possessing spoked-wheel limbs and sprouting steal-sharp talons. Plans are afoot to place these singular beings under a single government friendly to Earth. But James Retief, officer of the distinguished Corps Diplomatique Terrestienne, a supra-national organization devoted to keeping the peace, has discovered that evil forces are undermining the whole scheme. Deviously sincere, uncompromisingly venal, fearlessly cowardly, Retief goes to work against mounting planetary intrigue, and more than once bring those around him to the brink of nervous collapse.”
3. Man in a Cage, Brian M. Stableford (1975)
(Guy Billot’s cover for the 1975 edition)
From the dust jacket inside flap: “Harker Lee is a survivor. His mind has withstood the threat of insanity and the pressure of imprisonment. His lifelong struggle to keep mind and body together in the face of the hostile environment of the maximum-security block has been a struggle against the society of his fellowmen. But that society can still find a need for him — a need for the ability to survive which it has tested to the full. He had been taken from his cell once, to be used in experiments in reading minds. Now he is brought forth again, to endure the ultimate test: to fly a Titan spaceship through hyperspace to the stars. Star flight destroys the minds of sane men. But Harker Lee is not sane — and his mind has a strength which sane men lack. In Harker Lee, the man whom society has caged for his crimes, now lies the hope that man might break out of the greatest of all cages –the void of empty darkness which enfolds the Earth. In this chilling, enthralling novel of psychology and science fiction, one final escape must be made, for a man and for mankind.”
4. The Mysterious Planet, Lester del Rey (1953)
(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1978 edition)
From the back cover: “PLANET X. Discovered out beyond Pluto, the mysterious planet was at first an astronomical curiosity. Then calculations indicated that its strange orbit would bring it closer to the sun… at twice the speed any planet could move. Wing Nine of the Solar Federation Navy, on its way to investigate the intruding word, encountered a pirate craft armed with unfamiliar weapons, capable of incredibly speed, and fleeing toward Planet X. Then more of those strange ships appeared, and the Navy geared up for the first space war. But Cadet Bob Griffith stubbornly clung to his belief that Earthman and alien could meet peacefully. So, defying orders, he drafted an unstable and spoiled playboy and his space yacht for a last-chance try at stopping Armageddon. For if the might of the Federation met the advanced weaponry of the aliens from Planet Z, the inevitable class would surely destroy all life in the solar system.”