Science Fiction Short Story Review: "Tight Squeeze" by Dean C. Ing
This is good old-fashion space yarn opens with a conscientious (and just a bit nervous) safety engineer, Major Edward MacNamara, going through a thorough, piece by piece, system by system preflight inspection of the spaceship “Valier.” Mac, as he’s called, along with co-pilots Johnny Ruiz and Carl Logan are part of Operation Doughnut, aimed at resupplying an orbiting space station. They’ll be taking off that morning and rendezvousing with the space station, the Doughnut (really.)
The others tease Mac, calling him “Granny” for his concern. Ruiz is impatient, but Mac reminds them they don’t want another “Wyld” on their hands. Everyone sobers with the reminder of the disaster of this ship that crashed.
Of course the flight to… the Doughnut (can’t say that with a straight face) gets a little complicated. Of course some of Mac’s preachment’s on safety come back to bite him. The tale is full of servos and actuators and catwalks. There is some humor as well. Just before liftoff, Logan tells Ground Control to fire when ready. But there are no women or children. This is a world inhabited entirely by men. It is a fun tale, though, one I rather enjoyed.
The mechanics described, and the relationships among the men may very well be informed by author Dean Ing’s time in the Air Force.
Title: “Tight Squeeze” first published in Astounding Science Fiction Feb. 1955
Author: Dean C. Ing (b. 1931)
Last review: "The Gargoyle Sacrifice" by Tina L. Jens
Last sci fi review: "The Velvet Glove" by Harry Harrison
© 2015 Denise Longrie
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