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Author Topic: EP733: Relative Fortune  (Read 566 times)

divs

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on: May 23, 2020, 06:17:11 AM
Escape Pod 733: Relative Fortune

Author: Brian K. Lowe
Narrator: Dominick Rabrun
Host: Mur Lafferty
Audio Producer: Adam Pracht

Relative Fortune was originally published in Galaxy’s Edge in October 2018.

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Content Warning:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Show Notes
This is the third in a special series of space-themed stories in May 2020.



When I was seventeen, class president, and a year from the Space Force Academy, Dad fell into an antique gun rack at work, dead from a stroke before he hit the floor.

I had been helping him in the pawn shop after school, partly to make some tuition money and partly because it looked good on my Academy application. After he died it was either take over the shop, or let Mom work it and my brother Rey raise himself while I ran off to the Academy. I opened up two hours after the funeral.

Every night, I’d sweep the floors, dust the shelves, double-lock the front door, and walk upstairs after a 12-hour day of trading in things that people had once thought they couldn’t live without, but now couldn’t live without selling.

But while I was scratching out a living buying and selling second-hand guitars, the real money was in things that had gone Out There. Tools, spacesuits, uniform patches… And when it came to interstellar travel, stuff that had been to another star… Years before I was born, the first guys to come back from Proxima Centauri had gotten rich selling their underwear. The best part was that, thanks to time dilation, they were still young. They’d been able to retire in their thirties.




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tpi

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Reply #1 on: June 10, 2020, 08:11:19 PM
The author should have calculated the time dilation: the data given doesn’t make sense. The velocity of the space ship is stated to be 0.8 c. Elapsed time at Earth was 20 years and ship time 2 years. Actually the ship time would have been 12 years. Also, it is very unlikely that you could find something which would rise its price in only 20 years so much that you could retire on its profits, even factoring in the (decreasing) novelty factor. And it is possible to take only one single thing with you? And the returning astronaut is unemployable? What, are they going to scrap the ship used on the trip? His experience on it should be useful.


CryptoMe

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Reply #2 on: April 21, 2021, 04:33:02 AM
The author should have calculated the time dilation: the data given doesn’t make sense. The velocity of the space ship is stated to be 0.8 c. Elapsed time at Earth was 20 years and ship time 2 years. Actually the ship time would have been 12 years. Also, it is very unlikely that you could find something which would rise its price in only 20 years so much that you could retire on its profits, even factoring in the (decreasing) novelty factor. And it is possible to take only one single thing with you? And the returning astronaut is unemployable? What, are they going to scrap the ship used on the trip? His experience on it should be useful.

Interesting points, tpi. The time dilations totally slipped past me. And I agree that the astronauts should be highly employable after their voyage.

But,  I am okay with the astronauts only being able to bring one thing - space is very much at a premium on a space ship. And you are right that it would be hard to have that one thing appreciate very much over 20 years. I mean the first people who did this would have had the advantage of scarcity and novelty (check out the postal covers scandal with the Apollo 15 astronauts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_15_postal_covers_incident), but after that,  not so much. This is exactly what happens in the story. So in this case, I think the author was bang on.