Sunday, September 9, 2007

Eric Frank Russell's "Heav'n, Heav'n": A boy comes of age

This is not the best of Russell. But not boring either.

Story summary.
Jules Rioux, 16, is an apprentice baker at Pierre Trabaud - Roulanger, a bakery. But he keeps getting distracted on the job, dreaming of "ships flying between the stars". And gets a good amount of nagging from Monsieur Trabaud, the bakery owner.

One fine day, Colonel Pinet, a spaceman, visits the bakery. In small talk with the baker, he learns of the boys affliction. He interviews the boy, & sponsors him for Space College.

In second part of the story, we meet Jules Rioux 20 years later, as captain of spaceship Fantome, on a run to "Bathalbar, on the planet Dacedes, system of Sinus".

An interesting quote.
Story has a small dialog fragment that made me remember my own childhood:

"His mother said to him, 'Trabaud requires an apprentice; this is your chance. You will leave school and become a baker.'"

"My mother wished me to be a beautifier of poodles. She said it was a genteel occupation; there was money in it. Her society friends would rush to me with their pet lapdogs... I asked myself: what am I that I should manicure a dog? I enlisted in the Terraforce, and was drafted to Mars. My mother was prostrated by the news."

"Alas," said Trabaud, all sympathy.

"Today she brags that her son is an officer of the four comet rank. Such are mothers. They have no logic."

"It is perhaps as well," Trabaud suggested. "Else some of us might never have been born."

Fact sheet.
Heav'n, Heav'n, short story, review
First published: Future Science Fiction, 1956
Rating: B
Related: All stories of Eric Frank Russell.