Thursday, July 5, 2018

Lieutenant Tightass, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

★★★★★ Exciting story with good characters

(Space Opera; Diving Universe) Coop is eager to make a difference in his first mission as a new lieutenant on a search-and-rescue ship, but the rest of the crew doesn’t seem to work very hard or care very much, and they definitely don’t appreciate his meddling. (12,872 words; Time: 42m)

Recommended By: SFRevu+1 GTognetti+1

Although this story is set in the author’s Diving Universe series, it’s a prequel to the others, so it has no dependencies on the rest, nor does it spoil any of the later stories. This makes it an excellent starting point for the series as a whole, as well as a great stand-alone read

"Lieutenant Tightass," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 07-08|18, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: We share Coop’s frustration with the checked-out captain and the lackadaisical crew, but we also share his growing realization that things are not quite what he thought. A mission that risks everyone’s lives every day on the off-chance that they rescue someone has got to wear people down and make them superstitious. So superstitious that they object to changing any element of their routine.

But Coop is genuinely intelligent and eager to do a good job for its own sake. He has actual good ideas, and by persisting, he manages to rescue a ship, albeit only two of the crew.

Captain Nisen looks pretty bad at the start, but as the story progresses she looks better and better. She’s very harsh to Coop, but she does listen to his ideas, and she never comes across as a cardboard villain.

The surface plot is simple enough: rescue the missing ship, but once we understand the risks of the Anacapa drive, there’s plenty of tension and excitement.

And the Diving Universe setting is fascinating in its own right. People who've read more of the series will be interested in reading more about Coop's life in the Fleet before he meets Boss.

Con: Coop’s solution seems a little too simple not to have been tried before. Captain Nisen’s attempt to lampshade this fact doesn’t entirely work.

It’s debatable whether this is really a good way to train future Fleet captains.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 07-08|18)
Kristine Kathryn Rusch Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I agree with the 5-star rating and the comment about "exciting story with good characters".

    I've never read any of the Diving Universe stories and it read just fine on its own. I am itching to read other stories in this universe by this author, a sure sign that the story is very good.

    Just pointing out that the entire Diving Universe series is eligible for a Hugo Best Series nomination this year.

    1. I started with "Runabout" and ended up binge-reading the whole set. Every few novellas, she produces a new "novel," so the best way to catch up is to read those novels. She's got a suggested reading order.