Friday, February 20, 2009

James P Hogan's "Jailhouse Rock" (novelette, space opera, free): The making of a hero

Quote from short story titled Jailhouse Rock by James P HoganA plane is carrying arms. It's being escorted by an armed military plane. A young soldier, Kieran Thane, is on-board the plane carrying sensitive cargo, & is in constant radio contact with the military escort plane.

But hijackers have planned well. Soldier in cargo plane is overpowered & made hostage; escort plane is disabled; cargo plane hijacked.

Soldier hostage accidentally learns of destination of hijacked plane because of loose talk among the 5 hijackers. So he's become a liability - to be killed. An argument among hijackers, & he gets an option to live. He's deplaned enroute, at a place where he can reach civilization in a few hours.

On his way to safety, he realizes something is amiss. Lot of drama, & ultimately hijackers are arrested.

Story is set on Mars & its smaller moon Deimos. Title comes from unconventional confinement hijackers got at the hands of lone soldier till help arrived. I think I've seen this unconventional confinement elsewhere, but cannot recall the story.

Fact sheet.

First published: T K F Weisskopf (Ed)'s "Cosmic Tales: Adventures in Sol System", Baen. 2004.
Rating: A.
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Related: Stories of James P Hogan; stories set in the Martian system.