[LMB] Ethan

Zan Lynx zlynx at acm.org
Sat Feb 24 22:11:28 GMT 2018

On 2/24/2018 10:37 AM, Ursula wrote:
> The Athos army seems to have taken on a variety of non-military functions.  Ethan mentions disaster relief at one point - and it makes sense you'd want to have a lot of organized young men to do heavy, low-skills tasks like filling sand bags during a flood.  He also mentions his musician brother staying in the army to be in a band or orchestra, so the army involves governmental support of the arts.
> Given the lack of actual enemies, I suspect that the line between the army and the civil service has become blurred over time.
> In addition, it seems to provide a sort of social baseline.  Ethan mentions that his brother gets a lot of social duty credits for remaining in the army.  It would seem that by having everyone do a stint in the army, everyone, whether from a rich or poor family, can start adulthood with a decent start on gaining social duty credits and earning their first son.  If the government's goal for society is to have young men settle down and start families, having them leave the army with *almost* enough credits for their first child would make that seem an achievable goal for many men who might not have the resources to devote a lot of time to earning social duty credits, versus earning a living.

You know, I just re-read Heinlein's Starship Troopers not long ago. In 
ST, the Earth government requires military or other social service in 
order to get the right to vote.

Now I'm wondering if Lois had read Starship Troopers and if it 
influenced her at all when writing Ethan of Athos. Because the social 
duty credit system seems related to Heinlein's service requirement in 
Starship Troopers.

Or it could be that they both inherit from older ideas.

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