(We All Died at Breakaway Station) PDF READ · Richard C. Meredith

L stuff and humanity is pushed to our limit to both fight them back and maintain communications lines with Earth s far distant coloniesWhich is where Breakaway station comes in Breakaway is an essential link in a light ears long chain of relay stations that allow for FTL communication between Earth and her threatened colony worlds Breakaway has already been attacked once and if it is destroyed it will take Five fags a day years to rebuild the network Earth relies on to protect itself With the threat of another attack looming two damaged warships and a hospital vessel dock at the damaged station where they must decide whether they will continue on to Earth or stay and defend the relay at the almost certain cost of their livesSo far so unexceptional From this synopsisou wouldn t expect anything interesting another backs to the wall die for the cause retelling of Leonidas last stand with his 300 Spartans except in space and with lasersHowever We all Died at Breakaway Station rises above the bog standard military SF that infests its genre and takes a uniue tack that makes it a rather thoughtful readEvery single person onboard the three ships arriving at Breakaway already died once at the hands of the Jillies They are each a sad mess of flesh metal and plastic every one of them having been revived after horrific battlefield deaths and cobbled back together with whatever technology was to handThe Leader of the three vessels Captain Absolom Bracer is a head and shoulders atop a treaded tank one arm both his eyes and both his legs gone his vestigial body wracked with ghost pains his mind tormented by desires he cannot act on and memories of being killedEach of these maimed and mutilated soldiers knows that if they get back to earth they can be healed given new bodies free from pain and injuryThey have no orders to make a stand at Breakaway they know they could leave the station to its fate that no one could ask them to die a second time for the cause but they also know that without them the station will fall and the colonies will be lost This is Leonidas and the 300 in space if Leonidas was missing his legs and all his men were nursing crippling wounds and horrific PTSD I found it to be a gripping breakneck readThat s not to say it s perfect There are a few odd and hilarious temporal markers in We all Died at Breakaway Station This book was written in 1969 and the sexual s of the time have been amusingly extrapolated into a future where everyone seems to be sex and drug obsessed This was noted by Dirk Grobbelaar in his great review the review that interested me in this book Seriously give anyone in Meredith s universe five minutes of spare time and they re simultaneously stuffing a crack pipe while tearing off their undergarmentsFurther like a lot of old SF smoking is still a thing and everyone in this book lights up everywhere They puff cigars in bed suck on cigarettes whenever they feel like it and just generally smog the place up I kept imaging their starships as 1970 s commercial airliners filled with brown suited bearded men sitting under a dense cloud of tobacco smokeOther than those minor uibbles this is a great read and it has a different flavor to the usual guts n glory military SF out there Don t expect any happy resolutions though as the title suggest this is not a story with a happy ending Almost every character we meet is going to die the only uestions left unanswered being the manner of their death and whether their sacrifice was worth itFour last ditch final stand stars If Wicked Affairs p 2 you re into stuff like thisou can read the full reviewCold Sleep We All Died at Breakaway Station by Richard C MeredithOriginal Review 1980 09 13As Dewey Henize mentioned V2 74 one of the main characters was a disembodied brain or rather a person who had lost his human body in warfare and was re fitted with a spaceship or space station to control Prepare all weapons systems We All Died At Breakaway Station was selected for the Venture Science Fiction series an imprint of Arrow Books not to be mistaken for the magazine of the same name that was published in the 1980s The series also featured books like Cross The Stars and Hammer s Slammers by David Drake who apparently was himself a fan of the novelDespite its actual first publication date the novel is from 1969 but it seems that portions of it were serialized even earlier I

t really say that this like Vietnam allegory although some aspects were likely inevitably influenced by the then ongoing war It has actually aged uite well with one exception which I will get to a bit later The author manages to create a harrowing sense of inevitability This is frankly one of the tensest books I have read in a good while It is uite clear from the opening chapter and the title that we are dealing with a last stand scenario It s the way the author sets it up that is fascinating There are a lot of other things going on All The While Outside Of the while outside of sphere of influence of the main characters and Jane of Gowlands yet directly related to their decision to stay and fight The long build up to the story s climax never gets bogged down because of the parallel skirmishes and machinations being describedat this point I have to give a bit of a synopsis since the premise of the book is what caught my attentionIn this future technology is such that humans can be rebuilt regrown if they are rescued and placed in cold storage hibernation uickly enough after being killed There is a catch though this can only happen on Earth and the military action takes place in a star cluster a good 40 lightears away Somewhere in between is Breakaway Station a critical communications relay station that has recently seen off an enemy raid but taken heavy losses A hospital ship with a large number of cold stored dead and dying being shipped back to Earth along with its escort two heavily damaged battle cruisers that are heading back for repairs make a stop over at Breakaway Station to collect the bodies of the injured and the dead and take them home The skeleton crews of these ships are a bunch of people literally cobbled together cybernetics just to be able to survive and perform the basic shipboard functions It s not what ou think though For example one character is basically a head on top of a life support cylinder that is moved around on treads it s a gallery of grotes. EepThese brutally injured officers had been restored to temporary artificial life to do this job because no intact man or woman could be spared from the main conflictBut then Breakaway Station a vital link with Earth was suddenly threatene.
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That they were little than robots albeit robots who were still suffering agonies from their phantom limbs and hideous burns but were denied painkillers because it might lessen their alertness An author who could perhaps have managed to convey the desperate fear of living with their memories and coping with their current plight without resorting every third paragraph or so to repeating She was very very afraid Someone dare I say it with of a lighter touch who could have seen the absurdity of a crew of Robbie the Robots clanking metal contraptions and featureless plastic egg faces wheeling around the bridge on juddering caterpillar treads I would pay good money to see what China Mieville would have done with this But it could have been worse It was a page turner although short as it is by the end I wanted him to forget the parts with random Plucky Individuals facing the alien Jillies on other earth bases and just get on with it Based on a couple of the other reviews I skimmed I was bracing myself for seriously Neanderthal attitudes to the female characters and es Meredith did seem to honestly believe that in the face of the utter genocide of the human race the only thing a red blooded girl note NOT woman never woman would be interested in would be getting her guy s ring on her finger and offering him a last chance to bump uglies as hoardes of Jillies were boarding through the airlocks or the neutron bombs were falling around them Sheesh Yes the humans call the aliens Jillies Just ponder THAT for a moment Alien creatures with a completely different anatomy who seem to be able to communicate among themselves telepathically but unintelligibly to normal red blooded Humans Whose intentions and motivations are a complete mystery SheeshBut I enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend it as a historical oddity An interesting stop on the SF road that would eventually lead to Iain M Banks Joe Haldeman Ann Leckie James SA Corey and even China Mieville to his credit Meredith clearly understood that space opera could tell an important moving story about human resilience and sacrifice and if he was still stuck in the attitudes of his time that doesn t entirely diminish it as a worthy effort In many ways the title says it all I found this books recently for 50 cents and I remember wanting to check it out from the library decades ago but my older brother wouldn t let me Digression my brother would tell our parents he was taking me to the library and to do his homework The reality of it was I his cover for seeing his girlfriend end of digressionI am not a huge fan of military science fiction and what makes this book work in so many ways is that it is not about endless battles in space or on the ground The story is about the toll a war that humanity did not want takes on people The crew of the three ships stopping at Breakaway Station are comprised of men and women who have died and been revived or died been revived and pieced together with various artificial organs Bracer the Iwo Jima s captain is missing the lower half of his body his eyes and one arm Maxel the first officer has multiple artificial organs the captain of the medical transport ship is missing most her face and she has 20K in cryogenic sleep on his shipBreakaway Station is the last communications outpost between the colonies and Earth If it falls there will be no communication and the one intelligence mission taking place in enemy territory that could save Earth and the colonies has information that needs to go through Breakaway StationSuffice to say the station ends up attacked and that doesn t happen until roughly the last 40 pages of the book Before then we have Bracer musing about the war s cost to himself and his crew These three ships held together by spit and bailing wire are supposed to go to Earth for the crews and the cold sleep patients to receive medical attention Instead Bracer makes the decision to stay and to ask the crews of all three ships to be willing to sacrifice of themselves All of this to insure Breakaway Stations stays operational long enough to transmit the information to Earth When It Comes Because The Station Was Already Nearly when it comes because the station was already nearly in one attack And like the Alamo and Thermopyale there is no way the ships or the station will survive the next attackThe book was written in 1969 and perhaps in some ways it is dated There are passing sections that refer how Earth morals towards marriage sex and drugs have changed The discussions between Bracer and Roger the ship s organic computer and Maxel about sacrifice and what has become of their lives worked for me In s organic computer and Maxel about sacrifice and what has become of their lives worked for me In the book which does not break 250 pages would be 800 pages in 2010 The author takes us to three colony worlds a captain of small colonial ship a scout ship commander and the personnel on Breakaway station In thinking about Revelation Space while reading this I was reminded of the old saying less is I got character and story from Meredith than I do from ReynoldsWhen Meredith tries to apply science FTL and how the communications are set and why they necessary the internal logic is consistent The science is not perfect but the consistent internal logic is not always found with some science fiction authorsAs to the Jillies the aliens who want to kill humans Meredith does his best to create truly alien aliens While he might not have completely succeeded on the physical end he did a better job than most on the psychological endA worthwhile expenditure of my reading time All power to shields Cycle the phaser banks and arm the torpedos Position the redshirts in front of the soon to explode bridge consolesWho doesn t love a good space battle Missiles zinging around energy weapons bouncing off forcefields control panels exploding in showers of sparks while redshirts tumble to the floor there s a long tradition in SF of pew pew she canna take any ship combat Richard C Meredith s We all Died at Breakaway Station fits into this tradition well a military SF story packed with nail biting space warfare that ranks among the better stories in the subgenreHumanity is engaged in a brutal war with a species known as the Jillies While once the Jillies seemed happy to co exist with humanity they have now for unknown reasons embarked on a genocidal war against us They are nuking colonies ambushing convoys all the usua. Oth with assorted prosthetic partsThese were the officers of the Iwo Jima one of the two heavy battle cruiser starships protecting the vast cumbersome Rudolph Cragston a hospital ship returning to Earth with thousands of wounded in cold sl.

Summary â PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ✓ Richard C. Meredith

There s something about science fiction written during the 50s and 60s they didn t have any of the scope of modern technology just a romantic view of it ideas of computers and space travel and whatnot So they had all of these far reaching concepts but only concepts and fills in the details with their imaginations Modern sci fi often tries too hard with actual technological science or just forgoes it altogetherThis could be considered run of the mill science fiction from the golden The Proposal years some indeterminate future timeframe humans have spread out to the starts there s an enemy we re fighting in a brutal war etc etc I was curious about how future humans were perceived by a writer in the 60s The free love facets were very interesting given the time that the author wrote the book There s evidently LOTS of free love in the futureNot a hard read not unlikeable not overly likeable just some decent sci fi from a decent author This is some bleak I referou to the title no nonsense imaginative scifi with a strong undercurrent of body horrorThere are amazing images the appalling situation of the reanimated patched together crew is vivid and memorable The inevitable space battles are just sciencey enough and evoke the setting with admirable tensionThe writing can be tough going The sexual politics are a bit retro at times he wondered why she was crying but then women were like that or words to that effect Compensating that the recognition of sexuality of all kinds is realised to good effect No nerdy sexless tech masturbation here though cast into unimaginable scenarios humans have recognisably earthy drivesIt s no Forever War or Starship Troopers but I find it impossible to imagine Iain Banks or his peers writing any scifi without the influence of this book This is my favorite of the Meredith books He wrote seven novels in is short career from 1969 to 1979 when he passed away When I first discovered Richard C Meredit The Past I bought this book when I was in junior high some forty odd Prey years ago I really thought it was a good book and it caught my imagination I remember loaning the book to my friend and never getting it back The Present Some twenty eightears later I bought the book through com It still read fresh and clear now as it did some thirty Addicted to Womanhood Book One years ago It was in my book collection that I took to Ira To some this book might be cheesy but Meredith does a good job hitting the psychology of command and leadership both in Bracer his fellow captains and the chain of command who must do what they must do in order to win His science though thin works well and it does represent a theory about how FTL would work His battles are close brutal affairs which reflects the thought that with all the technology available both sides resorts to methods that at best are one level above the stone age No fancy footwork here very straight forward very believeable Merediths comments on society reflect the age he lived in Having grown up in those times his representation is true to the mark on how some thought society primarily western society was evolving too My only disagreement with the above post is that I have read the REVELATION SPACE series Comparing both books is not a good comparison Reynolds works in science For his future must work the science must work in order for the plot to evolve Meredith is a writer who uses the science to frame the story That being said I did enjoy reading all of the REVELATION SPACE series Again a WE ALL DIED AT BREAKAWAY STATION is a worthwhile book and while I am at it may I recommend THE SKY IS FILLED WITH SHIPS reply edit delete flag back to top You are following this discussion instant edit savingour comment comment add bookauthor some html is ok preview Add to my comment add bookauthor some html is ok preview Add to my Feed add to my update feedCheck this box to include Batman: Arkham Asylum - 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When race survival teetered in the balanceCaptain Absolom Bracer with an artificial brainpan and synthetic eyes Astrogation officer Gene O'Gwynn a lady with a plastic face Weapons officer Akin Darby and Communications officer Miss Cyanta We All Died at Breakaway Station