January 11, 2010
Hugo-winning novelist Robinson (Galileo’s Dream) began his career with short fiction. “The Lucky Strike,” a novelette first published in 1984, posits an alternate history in which the Enola Gay crashes on a test run before dropping the first atomic bomb. Replacement bombardier Capt. Frank January deliberately misses Hiroshima, but the Japanese analyze the explosions and surrender anyway. January is executed for disobeying orders, becoming a martyr who inspires total nuclear disarmament by 1956. Robinson’s skill with human drama lends credibility to an otherwise wildly optimistic scenario. The volume also includes a short essay on whether history follows laws akin to physics, and an interview with Robinson conducted by fellow radical SF author Terry Bisson. This stimulating little chapbook would work very well as a basis for classroom debate on speculative fiction, history, or the notion of free will.