Harry Harrison's Deathworld is a 1960 sci-fi classic, nominated for a Hugo. The story is a straight up action packed thriller of a planet that appears intent on killing its human inhabitants. An adventurer with a flair for gambling due to psionic powers assists its leader with acquiring more weapons for their never ending battle with both fauna and flora that continuously mutates to ever deadlier forms that are constantly attacking the small colony. The adventurer checks out the place and finds a dwindling community that is so focused on exterminating nature that they can't even remember how they arrived on the planet generations ago. Eventually, he goes native and finds others living under better conditions and slowly surmises the basis for the state of affairs which the groups have little interest in pursuing.
While space travel is routine, biological mutation and evolution is front and center. Psionic abilities also play a prominent role. Given the global state of affairs at the time of its publication, the planet is clearly a metaphor for the single-minded stubbornness of large groups (be they colonists or whole governments) to pursue self-destructive paths with expectations of total annihilation of an equally matched enemy, never questioning the overall strategy and constantly upping tactical approaches. Not surprisingly, the story transcends its time and resonates even today.
A thrill-packed adventure from the pen of SFWA GRAND MASTER Harry Harrison.
Deathworld' is perhaps Harry Harrison's best known novel and is certainly the book that put him on the map. Jason dinAlt is a daring gambler. He uses his spotty psionic powers to give himself a slight edge in games of chance. After winning a large fortune at the tables, he flees for his life to Deathworld, the most dangerous planet ever colonized by human beings. He will soon discover that nothing is what it seems.