Wednesday, February 07, 2018

EXCERPT: Mutiny in Space

Mutiny in Space, by Rod Walker, is an excellent coming-of-age tale in the tradition of the Heinlein juvenile.

Ducarti produced an envelope, an expensive-looking thing embossed with the official seal of the Social Party. “One of the Party’s projects has been to circulate a petition demanding an increase in the estate tax to seventy-five percent. We now have adequate signatures to require a referendum. It should be one hundred percent, but sometimes it is better to eat the steak in small bites than to choke on the entire thing.” He offered it formally to Sergei in both hands. “I want you, as the youngest member of the Social Party on New Chicago, to present this petition at the appropriate government office.”

“Me?” said Sergei, his eyes widening. “That’s… that’s a really big honor, sir.”

“Oh, it is,” said Ducarti, still grinning. “It most certainly is. As the face of the Social Youth, as a true son of the Revolution, I think you are the perfect man to deliver our message.”

“I will go at once,” said Sergei.

“Good man. Also, as our official representative and voice, I insist you take one of the Party’s vans, emblazoned with the red hammer of the worker raised against the spiral of the galaxy. Think of what a sight it will make when the van pulls up, and every eye turns towards you, and you stride forth to present our petition to the corrupt, illegitimate authorities of New Chicago. We shall, of course, alert the media, so that the moment will be recorded.”

“Absolutely,” said Sergei proudly. “I’ll do it.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Mom. She smiled at Ducarti. “I would like to see my son take his first steps in service to the Revolution.”

“As you wish, Professor. And you, Nikolai?” said Ducarti, the cold eyes turning back towards me. “Will you accompany your brother as he assumes his birthright among the men of the Social Party?”

“No,” I said, stepping back. “I’m going home. I’ll walk. I don’t want to ride in a Party van.”

“As you wish, boy,” said Ducarti, still smiling, although it now struck me as more cruel than sardonic. “Go home. Go play with your engines. The Revolution does not require you yet.”

A gale of laughter went up from the Party members, and even Mom and Sergei joined in with the others. That hurt more than I would have thought. I whirled around so they could not see my burning eyes and I stalked from the warehouse without another word.

My defiance, combined with Ducarti’s contempt, saved my life.

I went home, but because I wasn’t watching the news, I didn’t see what happened. As soon as Sergei and Mom left in the van, Ducarti returned to his ship and immediately launched. From his ship safely in orbit, he monitored the progress of the van, watching until it reached the central planetary administration building fifteen miles from the spaceport.

Once the van reached the offices, in full view of the cameras that had been alerted, the fusion bomb hidden within the van was triggered.

Sergei and Mom were killed instantly, of course.

The forensics techs finally found some of Sergei’s teeth and a piece of Mom’s femur, but nothing else. Five thousand, six hundred and ninety-two people were killed in the explosion and the resultant collapse of the nearby buildings, and over eighteen thousand were hurt or wounded. The minute the bomb went off, Ducarti left the system, escaping to hyperspace before the system defense ships could close in on him. But before he hyperjumped away, he sent out a broadcast announcing that the bomb was an act of revolutionary justice against the planetary government and people of New Chicago for failing to embrace the principles of Sociality.

The reaction was as swift as it was violent.

The next day, the planetary government of New Chicago by an executive order of the emergency commission outlawed the Social Party. A lot of people were arrested over the next month, including most of the non-science faculty of the University. Pretty much every official in the local Social Party leadership was executed without trial as a co-conspirator, whether they had actually known about it or not, and a lot of other people were charged with various crimes.

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Blogger David The Good February 07, 2018 11:43 PM  

The Rod Walker books are some of the best adventure I've read in a while. My two eldest children also love them. Great writing.

Blogger Starboard February 08, 2018 12:40 AM  

Agreed. I also think they would translate well into the Arkhaven side of Castalia House at some point, especially my favorite of his three novels, Alien Game.

Blogger Limited Blogger Profile #1985 February 08, 2018 5:14 AM  

This book had me picturing the "Traveller" deck plans in my head.

Blogger D.J. February 08, 2018 7:18 AM  

My 10 year old son is enjoying this one.

Mr. Walker, I look forward to the next one when you have it ready.

Blogger Tom February 08, 2018 7:22 AM  

Fun engaging story that reminded me of Heinlein. Had to share it with my boys (in their 20's) who asked, "where'd you get this" and are now browsing and checking out the whole Castalia House catalog.

Blogger pdwalker February 08, 2018 9:09 AM  

Good book.

Mr Walker, you need to write more.

Blogger Dire Badger February 08, 2018 11:00 AM  

I cannot wait to buy more Rod Walker books. I may be in my 40's, but This is still a rousingly good tale.

Blogger Carl Philipp February 08, 2018 1:18 PM  

I did enjoy Young Man's War... and this excerpt makes me want to read more Rod Walker.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit February 08, 2018 6:45 PM  

It's an excellent book. All Rod Walker's Castalia titles are first rate. I would book talk them if I could.

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