Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Suspicious Social Stratification

The absurd social stratification in the starship Pioneer (see here) becomes evident when Friday is demoted to crewman:

he is separated from his parents;

he is given "...two changes of clothing and a couple of dollars to last till payday..." (Cold Victory, p. 36);

the police are now able to kick him around although he retains "...the manners they were trained to salute..." (p. 37) so they are confused;

crewmen dislike officers and take out their resentment on any who are demoted;

Friday can complain to the police if he is beaten up but is advised not to because then he would never be accepted and might even be murdered;

he was taught self-defense because fitness is part of the Astro code;

Astrogation is the smallest faction but at present holds the balance of power (!);

Astrogation is above Engineering which is above Administration and both are divided into ranks;

the police cannot prevent brawling but must intervene if there is a riot!

The ship has only been in flight for eighty years. Friday, twenty four years old, was born on board but the departure from Earth was only a long lifetime ago. Society within the ship cannot possibly have degenerated to this extent in so short a time. Psychotechnicians were in control on Earth back then. What did they plan for the social dynamics within the ship?

No comments: