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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 Many­book­ 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.

havuz / 2010-10-30 19:56:

thank you very much

phone number lookup / 2011-12-03 22:28:

this is really interesting viewpoint on the subject i might add

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