The Long Watch

I sent an email about this to my father, but wanted to capture it here too. Because if nothing else, this web site is a place for me to go on and on about Robert Heinlein and his effect on my life.

Reading all the news stories about the 50 people trying to keep the
nuclear factor under control in Japan, I keep thinking of the Heinlein
story The Long Watch. If you’re not as familiar with the story as my father and I am, the hero sacrifices himself to disarm some nuclear warheads and dies, isolated, of radiation poisoning.

I frankly don’t remember a lot about the story, other than hero is self-sacrificing, brave and ironic. But a final scene has always stayed with me: After he’s received a fatal radiation dose, he lights a cigarette, and blows a puff of smoke at the Geiger counter, which chatters wildly. He grins in reply.

We all pray it doesn’t come to this. God bless the power plant workers, and keep them safe.