If historical precedent be wrong—what qualities, then, must man possess to successfully colonize new worlds? Doctor Ashby said: "There is no piece of data you cannot find, provided you can devise the proper experimental procedure for turning it up." Now—about the man and the procedure....
ut all our colonies have failed to date."
"What better evidence could you ask for in support of my argument?" demanded Winthrop. "We've proved bases are practical, and that colonies are not."
"No matter how far away or how long the periods of rotation, a man assigned to a base expects to return home. Night or day, in the performance of any duty, there is in his mind as a working background the recognition that at some future time he can go home. His base is never his home."
"Precisely. That is what makes the base successful."
Ashby shook his head. "No base is ever successful from the standpoint of permanent extension of a civilization. By its very nature it is transitory, impermanent. That is not what we want now."
"We have the concept of permanent bases in military thinking," said Winthrop. "You can't generalize in that fashion."
"Name for me a single military or expeditionary base that continued its permanency over any extended period of history."
In fictional form, an argument for a historical theory on pioneering. Rather heavy-handed, I thought, though heroine is pretty good.
A thoughtful story, very well done. It seems you can't just ship people off to an alien world and dump them--they need to be colonists, people who leave the Earth behind for the new world. How do you select them in the modern world? You test.
It's the story of a man who fails the test, and one who should fail, but wants to be tested anyway.
Clean, believable characters, including one of the strongest women characters I've read, written by a man. Great plot, imaginative testing, good ending.
I recommend it.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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