Space Platform by Murray Leinster: rooting for the Death Star

I just finished reading Murray Leinster's Space Platform (in my new phone yay!).

You can read it too, if you want, because it's available, for free, from in any format you may need.

It's a very old-fashioned (published in 1953) scifi story, but what really shocked me was that in the 25 years between this and Star Wars (1978) everything changed.

Why? Because this is a book written from the perspective of workers building the Death Star.

Specifically, the main character, Joe, is working on building the gyroscopes for a space station which will be the first permanent artificial object in orbit... and is fully loaded with nukes.

Further, it's strictly a USA project (although there is a mention of it "being offered" to the UN) and the whole book is spent showing the courageous workers and soldiers fighting saboteurs in Arizona.

Replace USA by "the empire", workers and soldiers by storm troopers, space platform by death star, communists and anarchists by ewoks and rebels and... well, it's "Return of the Jedi", except the empire wins and all ewoks are killed in the end.

This short novel is completely acritical: US having the power to destroy any city in the world at will is good. All other countries being unable to retaliate is good. Trying to prevent it by any means? Bad and cowardly.

In just 25 years, though, films describing the situation exactly from the opposite point of view had every kid cheering for the saboteurs.

It's amazing that this book is closer in time to Star Wars than Star Wars is to today.


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