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Temporary Duty

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Two enlisted sailors are sent to an alien spaceship to help prepare for the real human delegation. Once they arrive, they find out there's a little more to the assignment than that.
Alien worlds and friendly aliens, exploding spaceships and many that don't, a little sex, and the Internal Revenue Service. Oh, and janitorial supplies. Truly there are Wonders Out There.
Kindle Edition, First Edition, 541 pages
Published May 27th 2011 by Kindle Direct Publishing
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Community Reviews

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Ric Locke has written something really unique in that the story is told from the perspective of a man from the "lower decks"....

Most military Sci Fi is told from the officer's perspective, with them being the hero or the main protagonists. Mr. Locke did us 'blue jackets' a real solid by portraying 2 young junior petty officers as the main characters, who in the end, become the most important people to the human community serving on an alien starship hundreds if not thousands of light years from
Christopher Gerrib
Some time back, I reviewed Nathan Lowell’s novel Quartershare. Lowell’s book was of the “merchants in space” subgenre of SF, and so Amazon kept recommending that I buy Ric Locke’s novel Temporary Duty. When I learnt that Ric Locke had terminal cancer and was soliciting donations for an oxygen machine, I decided to spend the three bucks and buy his book. (I also kicked in a few bucks to the tip jar.) Buying Locke’s book proved to be a great investment.

I’ve talked on my personal blog about how wri
Endless, vapid, wish-fulfillment

This is an amateur effort. The premise is interesting; to see the story through the eyes of the two lowest people on the totem pole. Unfortunately, there are so many gaping plot holes, missing scenes, underdeveloped characters, atrocious dialogue and absurd situations that any value in the premise is lost. Every character is dangerously ignorant and naive, including the hero. I got the impression that the author thinks his readers are equally dim. For example, we
Bella Crow
So bittersweet to discover a new favorite author only to find that he has passed away before he could finish the sequel.

Thank goodness it was 500 pages. So chock full of wry humor and smart writing, I look forward to re-reading it and wondering where the sequel could have taken things.

I had the worst book hangover when I finished, and then to learn Mr. Locke had succumbed to lung cancer 2 years ago, just made it worse.
Can you miss someone you've never met?

I love Space Opera books, but they are
Kathryn McCary
This was an engaging and absorbing read. John Peters, an enlisted man in the US Navy, volunteers for temporary duty on the first alien spaceship to make contact with the earth. A detachment of Navy fliers is going aboard the ship--with naval fighter planes modified to be spaceships themselves--for two years, and someone has to help the aliens get their quarters ready. But it turns out there is a little more to it than that.

Locke's prose is an effortless read, literate and unobtrusive. His charac
Joe Martin

Personal Enthusiasm: I Shouldn’t Have Bothered

This is another book that I picked up because of a recommendation by Glenn Reynolds and his readers. Most of the recommendations I get that way are good. This book was the exception that proved the rule. Reading the reviews on Amazon, I wonder if I was reading the same book as everyone else.

The story revolves around two enlisted sailors: Todd and Peters. They are assigned to “temporary duty”, as advance crew for a Navy detachment that will be touring

Erik Nelson
I enjoyed reading this ... to a point. It isn't quite fair to say that nothing happens in the book, but not far from the mark. It has no coherent overarching plot. In that it reminds me (superficially) of Nathan Lowell's Trader Tales of the Solar Clipper series. It's not a novel so much as a description of all these things that happen to these regular guys. And like any other novel of this type, it depends on how interesting those things are, and how entertaining the characters are. On those poi ...more
Mark Edwards
I'll have a detailed review up on my blog, later. For now, I'll say:

I liked it. It's basically the adventures of a Petty Officer in space and as such, I liked it. It is a character-driven book, not action or plot-based. But it has a comforting feel about it, like one of Heinlein's Juveniles like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" or H. Beam Piper's Space Operas.

The book is at it's strongest when it stays with the aggravations and excitement of flying on board a starship for the first time. The streng
Steve Poling
I give this work 5 stars because the author likes what I like and hates what I hate. Your mileage may vary: Do you love IRS agents? How about strutting martinets? How about intrusive regulations and abusive regulators?

Love these people and you'll hate Temporary Duty (TDY).

Now imagine 50 years in the future and that present trends continue. Bipartisan trends of bigger, more intrusive government. (I'm not hating on Democrats or letting any Republicans off the blame.) Bureaucracies naturally grow u
Bill Swears
Redneck boy makes good, in Space!

Ric Locke's Temporary Duty (TDY) is a really solid read - one of the best I've had in several years. It's about John Peters, a junior enlisted person in a believable near future U.S. Navy, who volunteers to swab decks on an interstellar aircraft carrier//interstellar trading ship, crewed by aliens, Mankind's first contact. Peters' America is one where the poor don't get school, the vote, or much chance to make something of themselves. It isn't a glass ceiling, it
This was a pretty interesting book and I enjoyed it... but...

One mechanical issue I had with the book is that the font would switch into italics and then stay italic for pages and pages (until I learn a few tricks to force a page to re-render and go back to "normal"). This kept jarring me during my reading and made it very hard to keep in the reading moment. This issue kept me from enjoying the book as much as I probably could have...

That said, it's an interesting and enjoyable story. I liked th
The naval trappings aside, this is less a military sci fi novel than it is a tribute to Heinlein's "competent man"; junior sailor with a modicum of common sense (whom everyone knows, are the backbone of any military organization) sees the universe, makes friends, family and allies, and becomes rich and powerful, by applying same common sense, and by treating others he meets with a basic sense of "humanity".

Peter's rise in prestige reminds me of the rise of similar characters in "Double Star" and
Chris Williams
this book started out with a really interesting premise. There are some genuine questions to be answered and the characters are likeable -- until everything jumps the shark about two-thirds in.

Suddenly, instead of a military-space-alien story, it's an alien sex-harem-government conspiracy story.

It really goes off the rails. it's like two different books.
What an amazing story and such a tragedy.

Loved this book, would love a sequel or just anything more by this author.

Only thing of critic/failing in this book is towards the end it gets a little brief and the pace changes - considering Authors life/events I can understand that.
Loved it anyway, would definitely read again
A nice easy read, much in the same vein as Quarter Share, but with a bit more action. What I didn't enjoy was that the text got stuck in italics very early on (location 222 on the Kindle). A painful way to get out of italics was to read a page or so, then look up a word in the dictionary, go into the dictionary, then use Back to go back to the text - this did get very irritating after a while. The proof reading was also not too good and there were some really bad Americanisms in some dialogues ( ...more
Steve Riedisser
This one was pretty interesting. dealt with a USN detachment assigned to an alien trader ship. I found the two main characters to be likable. The author tho gave them a hillbilly vocabulary and that was trying at times. the author also must had been an enlisted seaman once. he doesnt have a high opinion of Officers or high ranked enlisted which I also a bit tedious. Any unit with character like this one would be doomed to fail miserably. All in all it was a fun read in spite of the annoyances.
Skip Torok
Hot Dang! This was a good read. Almost 1400 pages on my Nook. I didn't even notice that till I was on page 100 or so. I enjoyed every page. It took me several days to read and every day I returned to it... was like meeting up with an old friend. I wish it was 1400 pages longer to tell the truth.

It did remind me a bit of "Quarter Share" and the 4 that followed by Lowell.

Mr. Locke, well done, my compliments. Excellent read.
I greatly enjoyed this science fiction novel for the first, say, two-thirds of the story, then was a little off-put by the soapier space opera events that concluded it. The author's obvious experience with the military and comfort in that world was a nice change from most fictional renderings of the military. I had a good time reading this -- it reminded me of classic sci-fi novels.
Lost in the minutiae. The author is obviously talented and this could be a good story, but it loses itself in page after page of minutiae. That coupled with an overzealous application of Navy slang and protocol, which the reader has no way of knowing unless they've served in the military, makes the promising story very difficult to enjoy.
I like the idea of telling a story from the lower ranks, but this book was really a poor effort. The characters were cardboard cutouts, the setting, from a technological aspect made no sense (for example, you can navigate between stars, but don't even have a concept of radios?), and the sexual aspects we extremely junior high-school-ish.
Very enjoyable book, remarkable that it was $3 on Kindle. Nice story, interesting ideas about alien races. Would like to have learned more about the situation on Earth, but that was not truly central to the story. Would enjoy reading a follow-on if the author would write it.
Thomas Falkenberg
Started off good but deteriorated towards the end. The lack of any real adversity in the final stages of the book made for a boring read at the end. The main character is flat and uninteresting, albeit ridiculously lucky. Had a hard time finishing this. Would not recommend.
This was an EXCELLENT read. The world-building was well done, the characters well developed, and the story thoroughly engrossing. I am hoping for a sequel, and soon, because I want to spend more time in this world with these people.
Don Barnett
The best fiction novel that I've read in the past 15 years. Ranks right up there with Heinlein and Clarke. I can't wait to read the follow up and find out who the Makers are. A great talent!
Brian Huff
I wasn't expecting the ending, nor the enjoyable read. It is an early work, and at some parts that shows, but the character development is good and solid which is what I loved about it.
My favourite book of the year. Engaging story not overshadowed by politics or too much "message" as these types of books can tend to be. I couldn't put it down. Highly recommend.
Temporary Duty is good space opera. It brings back that sense of wonder that attracted me to SF&F in the first place.
I will be looking for more from Ric Locke.
This would have been a great book with some serious editing. As it was it was far too long and rambley, but set in a very interesting universe.
Marsha Wilcox
Excellent, excellent, excellent! Catches you in the first paragraph & then we're off & running.

Look forward to more from this author.
BG Josh
This book was listless and foolish. The author was artless in his attempt on social commentary and boring otherwise.

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