Sunday, August 8, 2010

For The Benefit Of The Ship

I thought I was off juvenile misfit SF but it is still resonating around my brain.  Writing about the books I loved both as a juvenile myself, and as an alleged adult made me go re-read a later addition to the ‘canon’. 
Its Orbital Resonance by John Barnes.  Its from 1991, and I read it a few years after that.  So you can see I still look for that type of SF.  It’s, to me anyway, one of the defining facets of SF. 
It’s the story of Melponene Murray a young girl aboard The Flying Dutchman.  That’s an asteroid turned spaceship.  Her universe is the ship which orbits between Mars and Earth.  An Earth devastated by the Euro war, MutAIDS, and the Great Die-Off. 
It’s about growing up, which is what most of these books are about.  But Mel isn’t just a misfit, (Spoiler alert) she’s made to be a misfit. 
A great many adventures happen as Mel writes about what its like to live in this society that is developing.  Mel writes for the people of Earth who need to know what’s going on on the Flying Dutchman and her sister ships as humanity tries to save itself. 
As crappy as it was for the powers that be to do what they did to Mel and a few others, it also kind of validates a point I have been making.  The value of misfits.  The leaders of “The Plan” are well aware of their value and have engineered misfits into their efforts to save the human race. 
A very interesting, and very different society exists on the ship and that is also one of the key parts of SF for me.  Imagining another way of living.  Because for me, and many other misfits, the current society is far from the one I would prefer. 
Anyway, it’s a great book and I recommend it highly. 

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