Published: 2013 in Rayguns Over Texas
Genre: science fiction
Length: 24 pages
Setting: somewhere on a future Earth
Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology
Summary: Miller wants to emigrate from Earth, but bureaucracy always prevents him. He’s decided to go the illegal route with his friend, Emile. Emile has tried it a few times and so knows what to expect. The people are given an injection to beat the scans for life signs, taken off world, and then given a facemask so they can jump from the hold through space to another ship. Once there, Emile helps Miller hide, until he’s found by a work party. Unfortunately, it seems that his friend was picked up by a patrol for militia “volunteers”.
Final thoughts: There’s an amazing amount of world buildup in this little story. Lots of aliens, problems on Earth, militia groups that need fresh meat, chances to emigrate to other planets. I would read more in this universe. Miller does get off world and finds a decent job to do there, which was his goal. Too bad his friend, who essentially got him there, didn’t get his dream as well.
Title comes from: The illegal method of getting off Earth was called Jumping the Black. You had to jump from the hold of one ship to hopefully make it to the safety net and inside another ship, through vacuum with nothing more than a facemask for protection.
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