Tentatively, Convenience's Reviews > To Keep the Ship

To Keep the Ship by A. Bertram Chandler
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A. Bertram Chandler's To Keep the Ship
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - June 18, 2016

I'm on a Chandler roll, enjoying the bks but groaning at my 'rule' that I must review them all. Chandler's recurring character is down on his famous luck again:

"There is a tide in the affairs of men that, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. But tides have a habit of ebbing—and Grimes's personal tide had ebbed. He wasn't quite on the rocks but he was most definitely stranded and would remain so until he could raise the wherewithal to pay his steadily mounting port dues and various fines and legal expenses. Meanwhile his beloved Little Sister was under arrest, with a writ firmly glued to her outer airlock door, and her owner-master had been obliged to seek paid employment." - p 5

He's dreaming the dream that warns of what's happening in the world surrounding his sleeping body:

"Her breath was intoxicatingly fragrant. He felt himself stiffening, knew in some remote corner of his mind that this was only a dream and that he would very soon be achieving a lonely climax. But it was a long time since he had had a woman and the dream was a good one. What if his bedsheet were semen-stained? The ship's laundry facilities were better than merely adequate.

"It was the knowledge that the lovemaking was only imaginary that saved him. He thrust upward into the dream Maggie's receptive body—and he felt teeth. He screamed, desperately rolled away from under the furry succubi. Scrabbling claws scored his back and the fangs that , had he not fully awoken in time, would have castrated him bit deeply into his right buttock." - p 8

Ya gotta watch out for those loveable manipulative telepathic animals. Interestingly, the word "succubi" is underlined in red by my computer showing me that it's not a very common word even tho I use it w/ the frequency of "y'know" (I exaggerate). So after being bit in the butt some complications ensue & Grimes has to get a job:

"So the Interstellar Shipping Corporation of Bronsonia swallowed its pride and decommissioned its pet white elephant, having placed her in parking orbit about the planet. There she would remain until such time as a purchaser was found for her. Nonetheless, she was too expensive a hunk of hardware to be left entirely unattended; apart from anything else, Lloyd's of London refused to insure her unless she were in the charge of a qualified ship-keeping officer." - p 14

Enter Grimes. A simple enuf job, right? But, remember, Grimes is 'down on his luck' (&, besides, this is an adventure novel) so, of course, things go dramatically wrong. While we wait for that, Chandler makes a commentary on alcoholism:

"Grimes considered making further modifications to the autochef so that it could supply him with liquor; even an old model such as this could have produced a passable vodka. Yet he held back. In the final analysis alcohol is no substitute for human company but makes the addict unfit for such." - p 16

I happen to love Flamenco music. From time-to-time this leads to my hearing about the related Fado wch I still know nothing about:

"In one of the desk drawers were a few tattered magazines; evidently the Third Mate of Bronson Star—whoever he was and whatever he was doing now—had been a devotee of Hard Downbeat. Grimes permitted himself a sneer; he had never understood how that derivation from the ancient Portuguese fado had achieved such popularity." - p 26

"Although the origins are difficult to trace, today fado is commonly regarded as simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain traditional structure. In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. This is loosely captured by the Portuguese word saudade, or "longing", symbolizing a feeling of loss (a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent lifelong damage). This is similar to the character of the music genre Morna from Cape Verde, which may be historically linked to fado in its earlier form but has retained its rhythmic heritage. This connection to the music of a historic Portuguese urban and maritime proletariat (sailors, dock workers, port traders, etc.) can also be found in Brazilian Modinha and Indonesian Kroncong, although all these music genres subsequently developed their own independent traditions." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fado

Once again, Chandler brings up class issues that endear him to me.

"Grimes had known Highnesses and Excellencies and the like and was prepared to admit that Lania and Paul did have about them something of that aura that distinguishes members of hereditary aristocracy from the common herd. He knew what it was, of course. It was no more than plain arrogance; if you have it drummed into you from birth on that you are better than those in whose veins blue blood does not flow you will end up really believing it." - p 34

but he doesn't fall into the delusions of Socialism either:

"Grimes said, "I don't see how I can refuse to land on Dunlevin. But surely there will be some opposition. I can't imagine a convenient Aerospace Controller's strike, such as there was on Porlock; on highly regimented, socialist planets you just don't strike if you know what's good for your health. . . ."" - p 57

There you have it. That's all I'm going to write about this one. I didn't spoil it but I didn't tell you much either, did I? & I call this a 'review'?!

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 7, 2016 – Finished Reading
June 18, 2016 – Shelved
June 18, 2016 – Shelved as: sf

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