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The Gulf Between by Tom Godwin

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“The Gulf Between” is a 1953 science fiction novella by Tom Godwin. It is about 2 soldiers who after the war compete for control of the world’s most powerful computer.

Definitely from 1953!

Ok, there are some strange parts in this story which definitely give away its age. The parts about not knowing what would happen to men psychologically as they journey into space, or how computers can’t think for themselves but only follow directions, and especially how a man tries to spank his younger female assistant! Anyway, all this quirkiness aside, it turned out to be a pretty cool story. Just hang in there because the ending is really cool!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Two soldiers by włodi

Ever since the war, when Knight served under his childhood friend Captain Cullin, the two have not gotten along. A big reason for the rift is that Cullin believes men are better soldiers when they obey orders absolutely and show no initiative for themselves. Knight disagrees, and after he is out of the military he goes to work on the smartest computer in the world. Well, guess who thinks that it would make a pretty darn good soldier? Yep, Captain Cullin – who is so obsessed with the fact that he makes some very drastic choices to secure the perfect soldier. But will he change his mind when he sees the end results? Perhaps.

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • Word count: 21,682 (47 pages)
  • Author Tom Godwin wrote a bunch of science fiction stories and novels during the 1950s and 1960s. You can learn more about this author at Wikipedia.

Where To Find The Gulf Between

  • This story first appeared in the October 1953 edition of Astounding Science Fiction.
  • You can read “The Gulf Between” for free online at Webscription.
  • It is also included in the excellent Baen collection The Cold Equations.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you liked “The Gulf Between” then be sure to check out Tom Godwin’s ultra-famous story “The Cold Equations” – about a pilot who finds a stowaway girl on his Emergency Dispatch Ship.