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Antipode of the "Right Stuff",
This review is from: Claustrophobia (Kindle Edition)
"How could you let this happen?"
With these words, the top managers of the Bendis Fifteen space flight, a resupply mission for a lunar base, start pointing fingers, and the readers of CLAUSTROPHOBIA by Chris Hollis realize something has gone seriously amiss aboard the spacecraft.
In 1983, the film The Right Stuff  [DVD] , based on the 1979 book of the same title by Tom Wolfe, was released to the Big Screen. It paid homage to the test pilots who flew experimental planes at California's Edwards Air Force Base after World War II, and the transition of seven of those pilots into Project Mercury (1959-1963), the nation's first manned space program. The "right stuff" is the mettle of the men who accomplished their missions in the face of dodgy odds and enormous dangers.
The short story CLAUSTROPHOBIA has nothing to do with the "right stuff" and everything to do with the "wrong stuff" both on the ground and in the space vehicle. That is the author's whole point of the story, written with hindsight (in the ending "Coda") of the evident lapses of engineering and judgment that have resulted in the deaths of both American and Soviet astronauts over the decades. However, CLAUSTROPHOBIA takes the "wrong stuff" to a new level with Derek, one of the three astronauts on the Bendis Fifteen mission. Oh, does it ever; Derek is a piece of work.
As an entertainment vehicle, CLAUSTROPHOBIA suffers from basically being but a cautionary tale on oversights that can result in a fine mess; it perhaps lacks a conclusion that a reader wanting loose ends tidied-up will find satisfying. That said, the story contains a scene of horror possible only in space. You couldn't try it at home if you wanted to.