The Classic Science Fiction Podcast

CSFP 002 - Duty Calls by Anne McCaffrey

April 12, 2020

Well, Anne McCaffrey needs no introductions from me. 

I do have to admit that I wasn't familiar with her work outside of the Pern novels, so I found one of her hard SF stories from the mid-80s: Duty Calls, a story told from the POV of a human-brain piloted ship providing and escort mission for an alien infiltrating a hostile planet.

I like how the story assumes some things of the reader, like knowledge of C/Speed of Light travel, and uses the challenges of moving a massive fleet at the speed of light, including strategic planning. This story feels like the groundwork for a series, and it looks like there were at least a few other stories in the same universe.

According to the ISFDB, Duty Calls was first published in 1988, in an anthology called The Fleet, edited by David Drake.

I found Duty Calls in McCaffrey's collection The Girl Who Heard Dragons.

The Girl Who Heard Dragons


This episode is sponsored by The Messenger by JN Chaney and Terry Maggert

The Messenger: A Mecha Scifi Epic by [J.N. Chaney, Terry Maggert]


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