Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Murray Leinster's "The Grandfathers' War" (novella, family dispute, free): When kids won't talk to parents...

Quote from short story titled The Grandfathers War by Murray LeinsterConsider this scenario in the context of a family:

  1. Family is going through an economically bad patch; so a child goes to work at an early age.
  2. Parents begin to expect more & more from the working child.
  3. At some stage, years later, child realizes the missed fun & begins to resent.
  4. A significant event, & the child drifts away from family.
I've seen it played out more than once. This story is a drastic variation of it, & on a much larger scale.

Story summary.

Phaedra II is a human colony world, & its sun is showing signs of going nova - only it's difficult to say in how many years.

Its folks locate an alternate uninhabited world Canis III, & begin shipping the population there. Since there is not enough transport to move everyone together, & the new world needs to be prepared, they begin with shipment of young people of working age - both male & female. Then younger children - who obviously need to be cared for by original load; then even younger; then babies; ...

Original shipload have now had enough, & have decided their parents are simply exploiting them & that they don't want to deal with their parents anymore. So attempt to ship older women is blocked - kids refusing to allow them on their world so they won't have additional mouths to feed, parents getting desperate as the old sun shows of going nova any time. There is a stalemate.

An external agency, in the form of a supremely capable man named Calhoun, will finally force the beginning of a patch up process..

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, October 1957.
Rating: A.
Download full text from Webscription.
Listed among the stories from John Campbell's Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of Murray Leinster.