"Sonny" is a 1963 science fiction short story by Rick Raphael. It is about a country boy drafted into the Army, and how his special power both hinders and helps the U.S. military.
Jediah Cromwell spent the first 19 years of his life living with his mother, way back in the hills of West Virginia. When he is drafted by the Army it is the first time he travels more than 20 miles away from his home. The Army keeps him so busy during his first few weeks that he doesn’t have time to get homesick or think about his family. Finally, one night he reaches out and mentally speaks to his mom – and the power he exerts in doing so cause electrical problems at camp! Nobody can figure out what is happening, but as time goes by and he uses more and more of his powers his bunkmate finally puts 2 and 2 together and realizes what a special power Jediah has. Well, something like this shouldn’t be kept a secret, so the 2 of them inform their commanding officer. When the Army realizes what they have they set out to make the most of this special private!
My Two Cents
- Story: – Jediah’s powers weren’t such a unique literary item, but having them discovered in the Army, and seeing how they exploit that was a pretty cool story idea!
- Writing: – Rick Raphael is a good writer, and I enjoyed his use of words and how he brought the story to life.
- Fun Factor: – It was a fun story to read, and kept my attention nicely. Nothing to “call” home about (Ha-ha, see what I did there?) but still a good read.
Where To Find Sonny
- This short story first appeared in the April 1963 edition of Analog Science Fact & Fiction.
- You can read "Sonny" online for free at Project Gutenberg.
- It is also included in the author’s anthology The Thirst Quenchers: And Three Other Science Fiction Tales
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you enjoyed "Sonny" then you might also like "Cat and Mouse" by Ralph Williams – about an American fur trapper who discovers a portal to an alien world.