Friday, 11 March 2016

To Space, To Fight

Science fiction heroes usually go to space willingly although James Blish's Crispin DeFord is press ganged by an Okie city. Jerry Pournelle's John Falkemberg seems to be in the same boat as DeFord, shuffling forward in a line of involuntary transportees but this turns out to have been a mistake. The Bureau of Relocation is authorized only to transport Falkenberg to Lunar Base because he has been appointed to CoDominium Navy Service. Should "...gangland youth..." on p. 15 of The Mercenary (London, 1977) have read "gangling youth"?

Thus, he goes willingly not only to space but also to fight, like Robert Heinlein's Matt Dodson joining the Space Patrol or Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry joining the Terran Space Navy. The CD Navy is more akin to the Patrol than to the Terran Navy because it is charged not with defending an interstellar empire but with preventing nuclear war on Earth.

As in several future histories, humanity must survive the near future threat of nuclear annihilation if it is to have any longer term future in the galaxy. Unfortunately, in this fictitious history, the legacy of that threat follows mankind into space.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I checked my copy of THE MERCENARY and it too used "gangland youth" on page 15. But the context of the entire sentence makes it plain "gangling youth" was meant. It's another of those annoying misprints which drives authors nuts!