ere’s another entry for my review mid-eighties, mid-level scifi, this time a novel by Gordon Kendall, White Wing.
Endless Galactic warfare is pretty much the law of the ‘verse here, namely by the League against the evil Sejiedi. No crazy creatures here, no. It’s humans on all sorts of different planets, each with tiny differences. For the League, these planets (or confederations) fly space fighters in wings denoted by color (i.e. blue, red, etc). And the late-coming Earthers? We’re White Wing.
And we’re hated.
I guess it goes back to the fact that our planet was destroyed two hundred years ago by the Sej. We’ve still got a chip about that. But White Wings fly silent, no chatter on the radio. And when we land, our pilots form into groups and march back to their quarters, not a word to anyone. So the rest of the wings hate us – we’re stuffy dicks who don’t bond with anyone. Seems like a long time to stay angry, but there you go.
What nobody knows about us is that our flights (of eight people) form marriage bonds (yes, everyone in the squad is married to everyone else). I guess in the eighties that was new and strange and alien and, perhaps, disturbing. Now, living in Colonialtown, Florida, man, that’s just a day on the street here. But it makes for an interesting premise – in public, we’re cold as ice. But once the doors to the quarters are closed and locked, then the squad has an eight-way fight (yeah, imagine your own relationship, and add six more people. Lots of dialog here).
And our current squad has a lot to talk about – they just lost one of their partners (heck, the flight leader had to kill her himself, lest she and her disabled ship be captured by the Sej). There are pages of angst and recrimination. Then, while blowing off steam in a bar, they meet a young white winger, Dustin, and eventually he is asked to replace the missing pilot (“marrying up” their numbers). But meanwhile a League intelligence officer is looking into patterns of spying and sabotage, the white wing finds itself involved, the Sej are pushing into our space, and everything’s on the burner.
So, yeah, a good book. Dated, yes, but it did a good job projecting trends of human relationships forward into the establishment of new groupings. And if you don’t let the chest-beating angst get in the way, it’s enjoyable on a number of levels. So, yeah, if you find a copy, go for it.
Mine is so old, the cover came off. Poor book.