Sunday, January 15, 2012

L Ron Hubbard's "To the Stars" aka "Return to Tomorrow" (novella, space opera)

Excellent but relatively slow moving first half. Second half is action packed, but a very minor piece - mostly genocides at the slightest (or no) provocation!

But first half is amongst the best treatments I've seen of the social aspects of time dilation:
  1. By the time you return, none of your loved ones will be around.
  2. Soldiers in an alien invading army need to be brave enough to understand that they will never see their loved ones. Which seriously limits soldier recruiting options.
  3. Since none now living will be around when the wanderer returns, earth cannot care in the least about space goers.
  4. Dubious trade ethics since neither party will see the other ever again.
  5. When you return with that precious ore, the technology on earth has moved way beyond, & the stuff is no longer precious.
Story is from the point of view of Alan Corday, a young man who wants to spend some time on Mars to earn a bit, so he can get married. He'll get shanghaied on a star ship, & his life will never be as anything he'd foreseen.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, February/March 1950.
Rating: B.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.