Author: Connie Willis
Publication Date: 6/25/07
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Blurb (GR): Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn't apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn't relish spending years aboard the ship to which she's been assigned. But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills' hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.
I won't tell you what D.A. stands for, as it would ruin the story. I will tell you that this story has gotten me all excited to read more of Connie Willis' books. In my mind, I always thought that she wrote inaccessible sci-fi (fine, go ahead and laugh at me), and maybe she does—I’ll find out soon enough. But this story was an absolute funfest to read. And it only takes about 20-30 minutes if you’re interested in that type of incentive…which I sometime am. (Anything to up my count. Damn you, Goodreads Challenge!)
Theodora attends a traditional high school at a time in the future when most kids are taught in online classes from home but her parents sent her to regular school to increase her chances of getting into The Academy. Students spend years trying to get perfect grades, taking classes on obscure space-related topics and learning random skills, all in the hope that they will get selected to go into space. Despite nearly every student dying for the opportunity, Theodora has never had the desire to go so imagine her surprise when a school assembly is called and a representative is there to congratulate her on her acceptance. She never applied, so what the heck is going on?
It’s a bit cliché and reads like a less genius-ridden, war-minded Battle School and Theodora spends most of her time being a downer, complaining, and sneaking around, but I enjoyed where it ended up going at the conclusion. I only wish the story continued so I could see her develop even further.
This short story came to me as a recommendation from my query for 'YA in space' on Goodreads. Since you can't close a query, I will probably continue to get recs on it until I am 50 but you know what? That sounds great to me! I'll never tire of space stories. Kaethe recced this one to me, and a huge thanks go out to her for it. Even if it is does end up being whatever the female equivalent of blue balls is…in that it ends when I wanted it to go on for much, much longer.
If you like this, you might also like Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund, the Ender's Game series and Shadow series by Orson Scott Card, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, the new Starfleet Academy series, and the Galahad series by Dom Testa.