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Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace
The Fellowship of the Frog
Edgar Wallace
Code of Conduct (The Jani Kilian Chronicles Book 1)
Kristine Smith
A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton

Slacker's Paradise

Slacker's Paradise - Malcolm Jameson This is a short story (6673 words) from the April 1941 edition of Astounding Science-Fiction. The eBook version comes from FadedPage

Somehow, I thought the term "slacker" came into our lexicon with Marty McFly and Back to the Future. That would be 1985, a mere three decades ago. Nope, it seems the term was used much earlier, as in this story from 1941, for example. It also seems that there's a 1918 silent film about a slacker. Oh well.

Anyway, I chose this story for the title and the association in my mind with Marty McFly. That was a mistake. It's an old-fashioned Science Fiction story that I likely would have liked when I was an 11-year old, but which doesn't do much for me now that I'm entering my dotage.

It seems that there is intergalactic warfare between the Federation and the Callistans, and the allies of each. Alan MacKay, a Lieutenant (jg), has found himself trapped running an SP boat for the Federation. People on the SP boats never have to go off to engage the enemy. Nope, they just take messages and look around and stuff. Many people are comfortable on SP boats, and the "SP" becomes a shorthand for "slacker's paradise": nothing much to do, nothing much about which to worry; no danger, but also no glory. McKay wishes for more, but is stuck being with the slackers. Then a routine mission takes a strange turn.