When the recruiter from the International Space Academy comes to Winfrey High to solicit applications from the students there, Theodora Baumgarten is one of the few students who has no interest in applying. As she tells the recruiter, “There’s no air, you’re squashed into a ship the size of a juice can, and it takes years to get anywhere interesting. If you get there and aren’t killed first by a meteor or a solar flare or a systems malfunction.” So, it’s something of a surprise when she finds out that her (nonexistent) application has been accepted. And, since everyone would be thrilled and honored to be accepted, no one but her best friend, Kimkim, believes her.
This is the setup for Connie Willis’s novella D.A. The meaning of those initials, and why Theodora was “accepted” as a cadet, are too good to spoil, and getting there is much of the fun. Especially good is the name of the Academy space station, the Robert A. Heinlein.
For those of us who loved traditional science fiction since childhood, but are now far too aware of what can go wrong, D.A. is a delightful treat.
Willis, Connie. D.A. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2007. Kindle edition. Amazon.