View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:25 am



Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
"Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings 
Author Message

Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:53 am
Posts: 555
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
VeraLenora wrote:
[quote="Librarians aren't just important, they're crucial to any civilization. Now that's a career I could sink my teeth into.


I guess it was like he was telling you: "Chew on this for a while."

Sorry, couldn't resist.


Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:22 pm
Profile

Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:32 pm
Posts: 13
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
Rod was definately white or maybe black, or perhaps some other hue. There are certain clues in the book that indicate that he was indeed black. It's all a bit ambigius, likely intentionally so. In my ever-so-humble opinion, it makes no difference as race is not a factor in this excellent story.


Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:31 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:24 am
Posts: 265
Location: Northwest Georgia
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
See my Web Entry:
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/2010/11/how-i-first-encountered-heinlein/


Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:12 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 603
Location: Reno, NV
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
Interesting, David. I had simply assumed Rob was white too, but although I grew up in Texas, I didn't even notice that this made his relationship with Caroline an interracial relationship. My mother was rather scornful about southern racism (she was a Yankee girl through and through), and I picked up her attitudes on the subject. I *did* find his obvious assumption that being female did not mean that you had to be locked into a traditionally feminine role inspiring, especially since he also didn't look down on traditionally feminine work or traditional females.

_________________
Catherine Jefferson <ctiydspmrz@ergosphere.net>
Home Page: http://www.ergosphere.net


Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:08 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:12 pm
Posts: 17
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
:?
It occurs to me that movies and TV (and whatever dramas are called in Rod's day) would be having a field day with the emigrant movement. Does anyone remember the old black and white "Wagon Train", and all the other cowboy Western shows? The U.S. was still trying to find a metaphorical grasp of the western expansion (and not doing a good job of it).
Certainly in Rod's time the same would be going on. They would have some truthful content. Of course, the heroic Captain would be an irresistible icon.
So I propose all of the students would have some grasp of how early settlements form and work, including the role of the Captain.

Break it down:
A Captain would be chosen by the settlement in many different ways.
Most common would be a response by the trained Captain to a listing. Then an interview by an elected committee, who would interview the Captain candidate, make a recommendation to the settlers, and wait for a vote of acceptance or refusal. This would happen on Earth, before emigration of course.
Variations would occur:
Theocratic settlers might have their Captain chosen by an inspiration of their theocratic leader.
Settlers in a breeding plan might scour the Captain's genetic code.
Or a Captain might be chosen by any plan. Humans can get crazy and still believe they're logical.

However, disasters happen. Captains can be killed or so badly hurt they can no longer act as Captain.
So in some way reflective of the settlement's goals, a new Captain would have to be chosen. Isn't this close to what happened to the students?
Most often, IMO, an emergency Captain would be elected after nominations of the most qualified candidates.

We're getting closer.

Once elected, the Captain is it. The Captain does not have to be reelected every time someone arrives or leaves, nor every time the settlers change their mind about something. That would lead to chaos.
Rod is accused of being a dictator. The Captain must be a dictator. The Captain is in charge while the settlement is in it's most vulnerable period. There's little time for debate, and in an emergency there must be no doubt that the Captain is in charge. The reason is simple: Survival of the settlement until it's strong enough to start forming a civilian government and civilization.

Titles may vary. Leader, or Foreman, or Straw Boss, or God's Anointed, but the person in charge is the Captain with all authority and responsibility.

All the students would know election makes a Captain and is irrevocable. That the Captain has dictatorial powers for the survival of the settlement. That regardless of the title the person in charge is the Captain. The only excuse can be that the students are still in a state of shock, not recognizing that now, now, they are no longer students but settlers.

(Of course it's just a story, but logical extrapolation can be fun.)

What do you think?

I have more ...


Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:08 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:51 pm
Posts: 240
Location: Alabama, USA
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
I like your suggestion that the "Captain" would be an iconic figure in the period of the story. But would there be as much interest in fiction then as there is now? I'm thinking of Dr. Matson's comment to Rod that theirs is not a romantic period in the human cycle but a practical one that needed practical people. Maybe there would be a reduced interest in romantic fiction in such a non-romantic period. Still, the "news" crew at the end of the story that makes up a story only loosely based on the facts suggests that the media is still selling fiction, even if they aren't calling it that.

_________________
Dan Thompson
Thunderchild Publishing (http://www.ourworlds.net/thunderchild)


Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:01 am
Profile WWW

Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:53 am
Posts: 555
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
Must have been from Fox.


Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:20 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:12 pm
Posts: 17
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
holmesiv wrote:
PeterScott wrote:
"

I don't think Cowper was the idealist he's made out to be; he was a student of government and recognized what sort of government this fledgling society had to have. And his death was the thing that finally brought everyone together and created the society around Cowpertown.

This is going to be a terrific thread!



I think Cowper committed mutiny, as seriously as Jock and friends. One mutiny was violent, the other political.

The mutiny scenes are the core, the essence of the book.

If Jock had succeeded in backing Rod off, there was no going back. He couldn't just be lazy. Already he had ordered one of his friends to collect everyone's guns, before Caroline and Jackie stopped him. With all the guns came all the power.

By nightfall Jock would have been King, surrounded by his trusted Court and without doubt a few turncoats. Rod, Caroline and Jackie would have gone in the river, though not without a gang rape of the girls. If anyone objected, they'd be shot and then in the river. Jock was the type to put people in slowly.

From then on, simple hell. Within a few years the student population is decimated. "Lord of the Flies"


Cowper also committed mutiny, though this is a little more subtle. Professional Captains are usually hired by a settlement group. However there must be emergencies when the Captain is killed or hopelessly crippled.
1.) The logical answer is that settlers elect a replacement from within their group. Such an election would have the force of law, no matter what the Captain was called -- Ramses, King, Prime Minister, etc. The elected leader is the legal Captain by any name.
2.) Even if people from another settlement or emigration group move in, the settlement can't keep holding new elections. So once elected, the position is permanent. If you don't like the Captain, move on or tough it out.
3.) The Captain is, yes, a dictator. This is a time before government, when a benign dictator keeps everyone alive so they can form a civilization that will need a government.

Grant was about 3 to 10 years too early. He committed mutiny against the Captain. Note that on his first day, Grant had to be reminded by his deputy, Roy, to send out a hunting team. Keeping people alive was not in his tool box of skills.

(No doubt I've been thinking about this way to obsessively.)

A Captain has 3 responsibilities:
1.) Keep everyone alive. That subsumes all other goals.
2.) Foster a civilian government. All the rules and rituals and symbols for practice, but in the end they aren't voting on any action except to persuade the Captain to take an action. How to build a protective wall, to send out an exploration team, to build huts. The cool part of this is that the person or people who take the case to the Captain, have already worked out their reasons and methods, work crew and foreman. Still, the Captain can say yes, no, or take it back to the Town Hall. Still, the traditions take hold.
3.) Last, build a civilization. Normally before leaving Terra the settlers would have chosen certain 'civilization markers', anything from ritual treatment of the dead to metallurgy. Based on the work of archeologists and anthropologists, they'd have to choose perhaps 100 markers. Or less. Or more. By this time experts and experience would have taught planners how many 'markers' were needed. (Yes, I love to play the 'Civilization' games.)
Each settlement chooses their own set of markers, and our students could have done it too.
When a civilian government is in place and the 'civilization markers' have been met, the Captain resigns.

THEN it would be time for Grant Cowper.
Grant's speech about government was right. He was just too early.


Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:27 am
Profile
NitroForum Oldster

Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:55 am
Posts: 80
Location: DFW, Texas
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
Steve Richards wrote:
Rod was definately white or maybe black, or perhaps some other hue. There are certain clues in the book that indicate that he was indeed black. It's all a bit ambigius, likely intentionally so. In my ever-so-humble opinion, it makes no difference as race is not a factor in this excellent story.


I definently agree that in the end Rod's skin color makes no difference.

In my mind's eye I now see Rod as black, but it amuses me that the hardback
copy I bought new back in the 90s, the book jacket shows a blonde-blue-eyed
white.

On another point I see Grant as a typical college student, filled with book knowledge. He thinks his books will cover all the problems.

Rod on the other hand doesn't have the book knowledge but has leadership skills. Rod uses Grant's laws as a base, but depends on his skills to make it work.


Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:35 pm
Profile

Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:53 am
Posts: 555
Post Re: "Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings
I think y'all are missing the essential part of Grant's character: he is one of those people, heroes, who puts the welfare of the group ahead of his own, and he pays the ultimate price. There is no higher hero in all the Heinlein canon.
Grant was the right person at the right time, in my humble opinion (or IMHO).


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:01 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 21 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF