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Blue Collar Space

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The future doesn’t just happen… Somebody has to build it.

Martin L. Shoemaker, author of “Today I Am Paul”, presents stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary work. Planning, exploring, constructing… living and growing and dying… across the Solar System.

Includes these award-winning stories:
Scramble (second place, Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award, 2012)
Unrefined (third place, Writers of the Future, 2014)
Racing to Mars (first place, Analog Analytical Laboratory award, 2016)

Plus seven more stories!

246 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 21, 2018

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About the author

Martin L. Shoemaker

94 books81 followers

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5 stars
51 (45%)
4 stars
37 (32%)
3 stars
19 (16%)
2 stars
5 (4%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
1 review
December 22, 2018
A nice set of stories all focused on people working through environmental or physical challenges in lunar, martian or space settings. The stories are filled with characters that many longtime sci-fi readers imagine themselves to be. That is folks who work hard and generally have an analytical approach to challenges.

For those looking of fiction that addresses stories of minorities or LGBTQ issues, this is not for you. The stories are all set in a place where either those issues have been resolved to the point where none of the characters worry about them anymore or if you are pessimistic about such topics, they are ignored in favor of boring traditional type characters. I would like to think it is the former, but your mileage may vary.
Profile Image for Robert Showers.
29 reviews1 follower
May 26, 2021
I really like Martin Shoemaker's books. This is perhaps my least favorite. I call his writing "old fashioned science fiction", with a mixture of good story telling, suspense, character development (so you CARE about the characters, even the not-so-nice ones), geeky technobabble, and broad vision of humanity's future. T. O'Connor Sloane once said that science fiction should make clear what inventions need to be invented soon and what fields need to be studied now, if we are to arrive at a bright future. Shoemaker's books help with that endeavor as well.

For me, the trouble with this book is that it is a collection of short stories published over several years in various pubications, loosely organized around the three themes of lunar, martian and jovian exploration. The stories are uneven. Some are among my favorite sf short stories. Some were a little boring. But that is the way with collections, so I still give the book 4 stars.
Profile Image for Marva.
Author 25 books69 followers
January 10, 2020
As with most short story collections, there are a couple that don't appeal to the reader, but I enjoyed the majority of these stories.

I really like the theme of "blue collar" which told me from the outset the stories would be more about the working crew, rather than featuring a dashing captain who gets all the women.

Overall, I recommend it as a good book you can pick up, read a story, then go do something else before reading the next story. I read two full novels with this book acting as my spacer (pun intended) between the novels which required much more of my attention for a longer period.

I like short story anthologies. I've got a couple of them myself.
Profile Image for Leo.
255 reviews7 followers
September 30, 2020
Interesting collection of short stories

Wasn't sure what to expect as I started the book. I read the synopsis of the book, and have read a different book by Shoemaker, so I knew the type of story telling I was about to dive into, yet despite this, I was still pleasantly surprised. It interesting to go through a series of stories that covers the mundane day to day happenings of living and working in space. Given, this book will never be adapted to a blockbuster sci-fi flick, but can definitely shed light to what the extras in the background should be up to.
158 reviews3 followers
November 16, 2019
Enjoyable escapist near-future science fiction.

As the title suggests, Shoemaker delivers a work-a-day reality. However, blue collar he may see it, the stories are laden with science. Plot points depend on metallic, orbital, and closed system properties.

Although he sketches the future in solar system activities, I wish he painted the scenes with a bit more impasto.

Nonetheless, I'll read another of his works.
Profile Image for L.
1,374 reviews27 followers
August 9, 2018
Finally! A sci-fi book that tells the stories of the folks who really do all the work!

If that weren't enough, the stories themselves are all solid and with many that are exceptional. They're organized into chapters dealing with different spaces/places/situations. I really enjoyed this one tremendously.
April 1, 2020
Love the hardcore blue collar science/engineering

It's been long time since I've read anything as good as Kim Stanley Robinson ( 'tho not as broad-viewed as the latter). Engineers and orbit analysts should love it, too.
November 1, 2019

A fully fleshed out world in space with plausible an.d consistent features. Almost believable. Good story line and exciting action.
59 reviews
January 5, 2020
Very enjoyable eclectic mix of stories

Play all read easily and I loved the depths of science within his fiction. I will continue to read all of his stories
Profile Image for Jacob.
47 reviews
April 28, 2020
Astronauts solve problems

If you like reading about astronauts solving technical problems in space, then you may enjoy this. Otherwise, you may find it repetitive and shallow.
90 reviews
June 20, 2020
Nice Collection...

...of short stories...easy reading. Characters and story lines appear in later fleshed out novels. Recommended sci fi for all readers.

Profile Image for Nihonjoe.
166 reviews
May 27, 2022
I loved this collection. The stories were all fun and enjoyable.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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