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by Raymond Towers

Inspired by such classic stories as Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, and Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, Raymond Towers’ presents the science fiction novella entitled Non-Retrieval. The story centers on a young shuttle pilot thrust onto an alien world, surrounded by a group of angry space marines and hostile beings from another world. Completely out of his element, this pilot has precious little time to make life and death decisions, not only for himself, but for the rest of the soldiers as well. Will this unwitting warrior rise to the harsh demands necessary to his own survival, as well as the survival of his fellow marines?

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  1. Mike H

    This is a pretty decent plot, and there’s a nice moral at the end, but………..There are a few elements that don’t ring true – some glaring, some mundane.

    First, the men keep calling their sergeant “Sir”. No sergeant I haver seen tolerates that. Also, he keeps referring to his Marines as “soldiers”. That doesn’t happen either. Mr. Towers has his Marine squad chanting while they double-time through hostile territory. Believe me – no one chants while jogging over rough, uneven terrain. To do so in hostile territory is suicide.

    Finally, it’s not all right to write all right as “alright”. It’s although, almost, already, but not alright.

    A little editing and spell-check would make this story a much easier read.

  2. Raymond M. Towers

    Regarding the comment left by Mike H.; Thank you for your comment, I really do appreciate criticism and make it a point to not make the same mistakes twice. (At least, I try my best not to.) Upon reading your critique, I must state that my experience in the military was limited to four months (yes, four) of basic training in the Marine Corps, and during all that time we were expected to shout “Sir!” at the beginning and end of every single statement, and we did sing cadence pretty much everywhere we went. (We were being called things a lot worse than ‘soldier’, by the way.) I can see how my limited experience doest not reflect well on trying to portray an actual veteran squad in enemy territory. I did, however, try to maintain a ‘campy’ and light atmosphere in the story, where some suspension of belief was required. (I mean, we’re talking giant roaches and psychic pineapples here.) I was aiming for a story with a lot of diverse elements; adventure, fantasy, thriller, science fiction, and even a little humor, and I hope my inaccuracies won’t be criticized too harshly when judging the novella as a whole.

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