Escape Velocity (novel)

"Escape Velocity" is the first novel in the Warlock of Gramarye series by Christopher Stasheff, published in 1983.

The tone of this sci-fi/fantasy novel is cynical and dry-witted. It contains social and governmental overtones.

Plot introduction

From the Publisher:

"Democracy is crumbling in the Interstellar Dominion Electorates and if Dar and Samantha can't get their message to Terra in time, a coup is inevitable. What's more, every police ship in space has just been alerted that Dar and Samantha are dangerous telepaths to be shot on sight."

Relation to "Starship Troupers"

The events in the book take place an indeterminate number of years after "The Star Company's" (featured in "Starship Troupers") adventures. Charles T. "Cholly" Barman, who runs the bar at the beginning of "Escape Velocity" and later appears in "The Warlock Wandering" was, it is heavily implied, Charles Publican, a member of "The Star Company". In the "Starship Troupers" series, Publican was a university professor and part-time bartender . He took every opportunity to teach the young (and sometimes veteran) members of the company. He was skilled at defusing arguments and manipulating people in subtle, disarming ways. There was one assassination attempt on Publican on New Venus, as "The Star Company" prepared for its opening night. Publican appeared blasé about the anonymous attempt on his life, but it is revealed in the next book that he took the time to analyse the poison used. Before joining "The Star Company", he had seemingly no stage, television or film experience and was an unknown to the veteran actors and actresses in the company.

Charles Barman's backstory fits these facts, that he was a professor at the University of Luna and part-time bartender, that he left when he was deemed a threat to both academics (for his views on education) and the LORDS political party (for his censored publication of a book which essentially said everyone deserves a college education). It is also said that he fled Terra and kept running after repeated assassination attempts. In his bar, Barman demonstrates more than once his ability to defuse arguments and keep his patrons passive, all the while teaching a lesson on Descartes to a soldier.

It is further implied that Barman would have used an alias (the name "Publican", which also hints at his political views), as though the other members may not recognize his face, they would likely recognize his name. In "Escape Velocity", Samantha had heard of him, even calling him "famous", though she never read his book.

The behaviour of the LORDS party and Elector Rudders in A Company Of Stars, in attempting to stop "The Star Company" from leaving Terra, is consistent with their impending coup in "Escape Velocity". They do not target "The Star Company" specifically until after Publican was cast, after which time, the LORDS party goes to great lengths to harass the company and prevent their travelling to the colonies. The harassment continues after the company flees Terra, including the assassination attempt on New Venus.

With the "Starship Troupers" series yet-to-be finished, the events between leaving the planet Citadel and his appearance on the military prison planet (as the bar owner, not as a prisoner) at the beginning of "Escape Velocity" are yet to be revealed.

In "The Warlock Wandering", Barman makes mention of having spent time with a theatre company, though doesn't specifically talk about the Star Company. He is, however, adept at a make-up artistry and effects learned from his theatre experience.


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