"Space Prison" Started the Whole Exiled-On-An-Alien-World Thing

What is with abandoning humans on alien planets lately? Marvel Comics started the meme last year with their Planet Hulk series, which saw the Jade Giant exiled to another planet in response to one real-estate-ruinin' rampage too many, and DC Comics have just hit back with their new Salvation Run series, in which lots of super-villains are... well, exiled to another planet in response to more than one real-estate-ruinin' rampage too many. But trust comic writer and self-styled "old bastard" Warren Ellis to point out the origin of the new hit genre.

SPACE PRISON [is] as bleak and horrible a book as you'll find in science fiction. Four thousand humans are dropped on a high-gravity planet, rejected by a slaving alien invasion force. One thousand one hundred of them die during the first night. And it really doesn't get any more cheerful from there. [Author] Tom Godwin, on almost every page, says to the reader, "oh, you liked this character? He falls off a mountain now. That one? Dies of exposure. This one? Eaten by goats. That one? Stabbed into meaty chunks by psychotic unicorns." And on and on. I must have read that book twenty times. It just rips along (in many senses of the word "rips"), as shamelessly gleeful as a short genre book should be.
Admit it, you're tempted already. Luckily for you, Space Prison is now available to read online, for free, courtesy of Project Gutenberg. Image courtesy of DC Comics

Space Prison by Tom Godwin [Project Gutenberg, via Warren Ellis]