Toyman (Dumarest #03) – EC Tubb (1969)
‘Space-wanderer Earl Dumarest is on the planet Toy to consult the giant computer which may contain information on the whereabouts of Earth, his lost home-world.
But soon he realises that Toy is a place that gives away nothing for free. Before Dumarest can gain the information he needs, he must take part in the Toy Games – must fight like a tin soldier in a vast nursery.
And there is nothing playful about the Games on Toy. The pain is real enough; the wounds, the blood – and death.’
Blurb from the 1976 Arrow paperback edition
In 1969 the concept of a supercomputer meant a machine the size of a city, or at least a very large building.
Dumarest visits the planet Toy, famous for its reference computer, from which he hopes to extract the coordinates of lost Planet Earth.
Toy is a planet run by stockholders who farm the silk of mutated spiders. The ruler of Toy is Groshen, the amoral Toymaster and major stockholder.
Dumarest becomes involved, unwillingly, in the political battle between the Toymaster and his minor stockholders, battles which are being partly orchestrated by the sinister Cyclan. Cyber Creel is on Toy to offer his services to the Toymaster, although, (as is usual) the Cyclan have ulterior motives for their actions.
As in ‘Derai’, Dumarest is forced to partake in a bout of ‘games’, this time in a cage pitted against some of the planet’s deadly mutant spiders.
Plotwise, it is rather too similar to the previous novel, and Dumarest ultimately finds only a small clue to add to his knowledge of Earth, in that Earth was also called ‘Terra’ or ‘Tellus’.