The Survivors by Tom Godwin
A little over 4,000 people, men, women and children, are left on an unknown planet after their ship has been boarded by earth’s enemy, the Gern –and left to die. The first night, about a quarter of them do die-killed by a terribly swift lethal disease and by the wild animals that inhabit the planet. But by the second night, they have defenses in place.
Life is not easy on Ragnarok (a perfect name-it is a bit of a rag of a rock). There is a brutally hot summer and a brutally cold winter but over the years, the “colonists” learn to cope better and better. And they vow to someday get back at the Gern and defeat them.
This tale, while technically science fiction, is actually the story of pioneers who rise to meet the challenges before them and to conquer them. The story covers generations-something I really liked-and while its true that we don’t really get to know many of the characters very deeply, we get the overall flow of families establishing themselves in a former wilderness.
Published in 1958 (the photo above is of the dustcover to the hardback edition), this book got a title change to “Space Prison” when the paperback was published in 1960. I thought you’d enjoy seeing the 1960 and 1962 paperback covers.
LOL! Isn't the first paperback cover hilarious! A perfect example of Pulp Fiction style. Two years later, the cover returned more to the hardcover graphic style.