Science Fictions Short Story Review: "Remember the Alamo!" by T. R. Fehrenbach
This is another in the series of “It Came from the Pulps!” where I review science fiction short stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines of mid-20th century. Many of these have become available in electronic form as free downloads, particularly from Project Gutenberg, or for a small price.
John Ord was proving himself useful to Lieutenant Colonel William Barrett Travis. He seemed to be the only one who understood what he wanted to accomplish, too.
Though sometimes Ord seemed a little off. His info, handy as it was, sounded more like stuff learned in a history book than intelligence gathered in the field. How could he tell Santa Anna’s guns were only one-pounders, let alone that there were about 1000 Mexicans at this point on their way. Travis chalked it up to Ord’s being a Britisher and having escaped from Napoleon’s 1000-year reign. Travis had heard about charcoal pits and detention camps and Napoleon sacking London back ’06. He mentioned once to Ord who seemed confused, almost as if he’d forgotten about it.
And Ord spoke Spanish and quite well. He knew, for instance, the Mexican name of the old mission they were holed up it. The Alamo.
What Travis doesn’t know is that Ord is a historian. Just exactly where he’s from isn’t stated, but he arrived by the X-4-A, which had aborted twice before got where he was going. But things don’t go as planned…
This is an odd little story with some humor and an ironic ending. However, it is far from happy. While everything is logical and worked, I didn’t find the resolution quite satisfying. Nevertheless, this is an entertaining and thoughtful little tale.
Author Theodore Reed Fehrenbach was considered an expert on Texas history, having written bestseller Lone Star: A History of Texas as well as This Kind of War , about the Korean War. He served in both WWII and in Korean. He was also the former head of the Texas Historical Commission.
Fehrenbach also wrote for such magazines as Esquire , The Atlantic , The Saturday Evening Post and The New Republic . In addition, he wrote a Sunday column for the San Antonio Express-News .
Title: “Remember the Alamo!” first published in Analog of Science Fact and Science Fiction December 1961
Author: T. R. Fehrenbach (1925-2013)
©2015 Denise Longrie
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