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"Tunnel in the Sky" a reviewer's musings 
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Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:22 pm
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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
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See my Web Entry:


Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:12 pm
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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.

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Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:08 pm
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:?
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
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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.

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Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:01 am
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Must have been from Fox.


Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:20 pm
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Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:27 am
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Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:35 pm
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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
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