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Fennel, Erik – “Doughnut Jockey” (1948)


The least interesting kind of science fiction – basically a technical manual for a “booster ship” that helps lunar- or Mars-bound rockets escape Earth’s atmosphere. I think this sort of thing has mostly died off (or maybe I am just completely out of touch with where it’s being produced now?). The plot, such as it is, is this: the titular jockey, known derogatively as “Doughnut Merrill” is finally given a chance to pilot an actual rocket instead of the booster because the Martian colony desperately needs influenza medicine. He succeeds after a series of mishaps and bureaucratic finaglings (it isn’t entirely clear if the space program here is public or privatized), and wins the heart of the nurse at the launching base, a woman whose “starched nurse’s uniform could not hide the fact she carried de luxe equipment throughout.” The story closes with the two of them discussing Mars as a potential honeymoon spot.

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