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Author Topic: EP180: Navy Brat  (Read 10898 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: October 18, 2008, 09:08:42 AM »

EP180: Navy Brat

By Kay Kenyon.
Read by Dani Cutler (of Truth Seekers).
First appeared in Space Cadets, ed. Mike Resnick, as “Tall Enough For Navy”.

She pushed off when her turn came, floating into the huge hold where she had to keep her line from tangling with other lines and stay alert for the seniors whose job it was to kill you—with their dye guns. In the Well, as throughout the ship, patches of enlivened hulls showed the view of near space through remote sensing. Here in the Well it was disorienting. Marie went into a tumble, then controlled it with a spray from her back pack. Through her enhanced visor, she could see her own team, spread out, their suits clear to her, but not to the seniors. A few of her team wore blue arm bands, not regulation, but overlooked more and more these days. Blue for the Admiral, blue for veneration—blue for sucking up to the brass.

Rated PG. It’s YA military SF. Does contain some lewd conduct.



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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alllie
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2008, 12:13:59 PM »

Like Steve said, far too believable.

I remember when I didn’t know that the powerful use religion to maintain and grow power and to keep the masses docile. This story is a nice illustration of how it’s done. Blue ribbons. Flag pins. Conformity. Obedience.
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Zathras
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2008, 01:29:23 PM »

I didn't personally care for this one.  It was a good episode, just not my style.

It felt like a cross between Nancy Drew and Warhammer 40,000.  A perky, intrepid and nonconformative teenage girl solves a centuries old mystery and changes society, with worship of a long dead military leader thrown in.  I wonder if Emma Roberts would be available for the movie?

I would share this one with my 7 year old daughter minus the cop a feel scene.  I know this is for young adults, and not children, so that is a moot point.

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thomasowenm
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2008, 05:25:03 PM »

I mostly liked it, for a y/a story.   I am puzzled though why the author would assume that 9000 plus people would suddenly give up their atheistic heritage and convert to admiralism. 
I understand that governments have utilized religions since the dawn of creation to maintain control.  But a civilization that as a precept decided against religions to apparently turn religious I do not get.  Huh   

With that aside the story was read fairly well.  Good job Dani.
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Darwinist
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2008, 05:52:56 PM »

I liked it......a very good y/a sci-fi yarn I would say.

It made me think of others in history that didn't wear the blue arm band and were looked down upon like Galileo and Darwin.  And when my religious family members ask me why I don't go to church like everyone else.   I think Sagan sums it up perfectly in the quote in my signature.   
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Fredosphere
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2008, 06:40:37 PM »

I like space opera.  I liked this character.  I liked the premise, the writing, the mystery.  Sadly, this was one of the least satisfying Escape Pod stories I've heard.  It simply resolved way too soon for my taste.  I would have been much happier if we were allowed to spend a little more time finding out about these people.  The mystery was solved almost before we knew there was one.

Having said that, I'm glad you ran with something unlike the usual EP fare.  Thanks for that.

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Peter Tupper
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2008, 08:20:22 PM »

Where's the rest of the story? Not to sound too Syd Field, but there's no second act. There's also way too much plot summary narration. The story has enough plot and setting for a novel, but way too much is skimmed over.

I know that this is supposed to be a YA story, but there's no reason to talk down to the reader.
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Talia
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2008, 11:37:37 PM »

Why were the officers let completely off the hook for murdering their "beloved" Admiral? I mean I'm assuming that part of the tale wasn't made "public" but why not?

It was a fun story, I did like it, but man, plot holes
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Zathras
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2008, 08:29:16 AM »

Why were the officers let completely off the hook for murdering their "beloved" Admiral? I mean I'm assuming that part of the tale wasn't made "public" but why not?

It was a fun story, I did like it, but man, plot holes

The Admiral died 350 years ago.
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sburnap
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2008, 06:20:35 PM »

I found this just way to simplistic.  The plot seemed really contrived and the characters barely anything but names.  Honestly, this seemed to have the worst bits of both young adult and military SF without the charms either can have when done right.

There was no sense of menace at all, so it was hard to feel any tension about the main characters, and the ending was the old cliched "send the damning information to the population" pulled completely out of the blue at the last minute.

Though I have to be honest and say that I inwardly grown whenever I hear something referred to as "young adult".  It seems that every time I turn around there's some new "young adult" thing being foisted on me.  Unfortunately, "young adult" too often means the sort of contrived plots and moral black and whites that would have had me tossing the book in the trash when I was an actual teenager. 

Not that all Y/A stories are bad.  The two "Squonk the Dragon" stories were wonderful.  But I don't think "young adult" is an excuse for simplistic plots and dues ex machina endings.
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Talia
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2008, 08:12:34 PM »

Why were the officers let completely off the hook for murdering their "beloved" Admiral? I mean I'm assuming that part of the tale wasn't made "public" but why not?

It was a fun story, I did like it, but man, plot holes

The Admiral died 350 years ago.


Oh. I completely missed that somewhere along the way. Heh.
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Zathras
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2008, 10:10:34 PM »

Why were the officers let completely off the hook for murdering their "beloved" Admiral? I mean I'm assuming that part of the tale wasn't made "public" but why not?

It was a fun story, I did like it, but man, plot holes

The Admiral died 350 years ago.


Oh. I completely missed that somewhere along the way. Heh.

It was in the opening scene, when they were in formation.  She mentions it in the narration when they turn to "honor".  It was at a point that it doesn't surprise me it slipped by.

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Windup
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2008, 11:28:43 PM »


Yeah, YA generally doesn't work that well for me, and this one didn't, either.  In this case,  bit too pat, a bit too predictable, and I've seen those characters in a very similar situation just a few too many times before...
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600south
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2008, 11:34:41 PM »

i agree with the others, this was a bit too shallow a story to be called "Young Adult" -- i think most young adults/teenagers i know could handle plot and characters far more complex than these ones. Other than the boob-brushing scene i thought it would've made a nice kids' book... with lots of color pictures.
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2008, 01:18:32 AM »

Maybe I missed something, but it seemed like an improbably easy matter for Marie to find out the truth about the Admiral and his death after the information had been lost (or a secret) for 350 years.  Was Marie really the first person to wander into the Admiral's quarters?  In 350 years?

By the way, did the plot remind anyone else of aspects of Wall-E?
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ryos
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2008, 03:30:43 AM »

Unlike Steve, I did not find this story particularly plausible. Ok, sure, the group who was in power did some nasty things to stay in power; that's standard fare. It's the rest that has me shaking my head.

So, we're at war with an alien race. I know! Let's go colonize their worlds! And instead of an invading force, we'll send a generation ship full of colonists. Brilliant!

Then, when they get there, it turns out their enemies had posted a "trespassers will be shot" sign in that region of space and, true to form, started shooting. But! They would fail to destroy the vigilant colonists, despite the fact that the ship had been parked in orbit for 300 years, cut off from reinforcements and resupply, while the Mutts had the resources of an entire world at their disposal.

Back on the Centauri, the group in power has somehow managed to maintain that power despite gross incompetence. I mean, they left their figurehead, the Admiral, who was opposed to their plans, in control of the master switch that would ruin everything. Miraculously, the impotent admiral would fail to flip the switch, instead leaving an elaborate trail of breadcrumbs for an enterprising protagonist to uncover so that SHE could flip the switch. Naturally, they would not destroy said evidence, or even bother to lock the door that contained it. For 300 years, that door actually remained shut, with no safeguards in place to keep some bored teenager from breaking in on a dare (to say nothing of disgruntled ex-navy).

And the Mutts! If we could only talk to them, I'm sure they'd understand! We'd suddenly become enlightened and start calling them by their politically correct name. The conversation will go something like this:
Mutts: We hate you. This is our world, and if you don't go away we'll kill you.
Us: Actually, we just wanted to live here. Pretty please?
Mutts: Ok.

Shall I go on? This story gave us a weak plot, weak characters, and weak ideas, taking potshots at religion along the way. So lame.

Despite what I just wrote, I didn't hate this story. It just didn't give me much to like.
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wintermute
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« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2008, 07:09:59 AM »

When it was revealed that the Mutts were really called the Cree, I thought there was going to be a parallel drawn with the European colonisation of America. And then nothing happened with that.

And I was a little confused that no-one ever noticed that they were in orbit; presumably everyone who worked on navigation or propulsion was in on the conspiracy, and never told their friends or family that it was all a lie; ditto for anyone who needed to go outside to repair damage from Mutt attacks; for that matter, anyone who actually needed to shoot at Mutts would probably have found it hard not to notice the planet...

I figure that everyone on the ship knew, really, and they were just keeping it secret from the title character for a joke...
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Rain
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« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2008, 02:49:54 PM »

It was an ok story but it was basicly just fluff, it was very simplistic and has no real meat on it
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ryos
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2008, 03:18:41 PM »

By the way, did the plot remind anyone else of aspects of Wall-E?

Besides the fact that they both featured a generation ship? No, not particularly.

(BTW, Wall•E gets a pass from me on its plot and science holes because it has many other redeeming qualities. This story, unfortunately, does not.)
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2008, 05:17:49 PM »

By the way, did the plot remind anyone else of aspects of Wall-E?

Besides the fact that they both featured a generation ship? No, not particularly.

(BTW, Wall•E gets a pass from me on its plot and science holes because it has many other redeeming qualities. This story, unfortunately, does not.)
I was thinking along the lines of the inhabitants of the generation ship being kept misinformed and placid for centuries by Authority and proponents of the Status Quo. 
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"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest
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