Planet of the Damned is a science fiction novel by Harry Harrison first published in 1962. Hugo nominated in 1962, originally published in Analog Science Fact-Science Fiction as "Sense of Obligation."
Brion Brandd lives on the planet Anvhar which due to an elliptical orbit experiences a year with a long cold winter and a short hot summer to which the population have become adapted. To avoid social problems during the winter period Anvhar has initiated a planet wide series of mental and physical global competition to test achievements in 20 categories of human activities, called the Twenties.
Once in a generation, a man is born with a heightened sense of empathy. Brion Brandd used this gift to win the Twenties, an annual physical and mental -- among the best and smartest people on Anvhar.
But before he can enjoy his victory he's forced to leave his homeworld to help salvage Dis, the most hellish planet in the galaxy, where he must use his heightened sense of empathy to help avert a global nuclear holocaust by negotiating with the blockading fleet, traversing the Disan underworld, and cracking the mystery of the savagely ruthless magter.
Harry Max Harrison (1925-2012) was an American science fiction author. Harrison is known for his writing, particularly his humorous and satirical science fiction, such as the Stainless Steel Rat series and the novel Bill, the Galactic Hero (which satirises Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers). Harrison is also known for his novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966). The novel was the rough basis for the motion picture Soylent Green (1973).