Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Hero

SM Stirling, The Sky People (New York, 2007).

I have found a few more to me unfamiliar words and phrases but, for the time being, am assuming that other readers of the novel will google any terms that are unfamiliar to them - which may differ from mine.

Lieutenant Marc Vitrac, USASF, based in Jamestown on Venus, is a Ranger, whose duties include specimen collection, liaison with natives and lighter-than-air pilot. Even the short list for Venus comprises men and women who are "...nearly Olympic caliber physically as well as qualified in two or three degree-equivalents..." (p. 11). Thus, Marc more than matches the requirements for a "hero" in terms of traditional popular fiction.

We learn two additional and surprising facts about him. First:

"...he was undoubtedly the thinly disguised hero of countless trashy novels and bad TV shows..." (p. 52) back on Earth.

Although why "thinly disguised"? We read on p. 314 that Kit Carson had read dime novels about himself.

Secondly, since two nuclear spaceships regularly pass between the US and Jamestown, you might think that Marc will have leave back home, will come to the end of his stint on Venus and will eventually retire on Earth? No:

"...barring some unlikely chance, he'd leave his bones here. You didn't ship people between worlds casually, not at fifty million a ticket each way." (pp. 52-53)

So people sign up for Venus knowing that it is a one-way trip, that they will never see Earth again? Marc is not just a Lieutenant stationed on Venus but a colonist. Well, I hear that some people are volunteering to make a one-way trip to the Mars in our Solar System - though not, of course, to our Venus!

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    If I was twenty years younger I hope I would have the gumption to sign up for that one way trip to Mars!

    Robert Zubrin and Richard Wagner, in their book THE CASE FOR MARS, make what I believe to be a very good argument for the feasibility of traveling to Mars and using currently available technology and the resources of that world. for permanently living on the Red Planet.

    Sean

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